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John Wolseley
, 2002

by Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 40.4 cm x 50.4 cm, image: 29.6 cm x 43.7 cm)

John Wolseley (b. 1938), artist, has spent more than thirty years making art about, and from, aspects of Australian ecology, working across country from the mountains of Tasmania to the floodplains of Arnhem Land. ‘I see myself as a hybrid mix of artist and scientist,’ he wrote in 2018, ‘one who tries to relate the minutiae of the natural world - leaf, feather and beetle wing - to the abstract dimensions of the earth’s dynamic systems. Using techniques of watercolour, collage, frottage, nature printing and other methods of direct physical or kinetic contact I am finding ways of collaborating with the actual plants, birds, trees, rocks and earth of a particular place. I like to think that the large works on paper on which I assemble these different drawing methods represent a kind of inventory or document about the state of the earth. I want to reveal both the energy and beauty of it, as well as show its condition of critical even terminal change. My interest is to paint the processes and energy field of the living systems of this land - flocks of birds, or water plants in swamps, or the movement of sand dunes or the ways in which trees regenerate after fire.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2004.90