Those of you who read Sans Everything as well as Archipelagoes will know that every couple of weeks I try to present a capsule profile of an interesting artist or photographer, showcasing his or her work in the banner image at the top of the site. Archipelagoes doesn’t have a banner image, but that seems like little reason to refrain from presenting the same works and talents here. I hope you enjoy them.
"A History of Parrots, Drifting Maps and Warming Seas", by John Wolseley (2005)
Born in England just before World War II, John Wolseley didn’t move to Australia until he was 38. But over the subsequent three decades, the immigrant has made the continent his own, travelling extensively through its length and breadth, and making art that captures its essence as a natural system playing out over the ages of deep history. Incorporating (at different times and in different proportions) painting, drawing, and natural processes and media — including buried paper and charcoaled trees — his work has depicted such phenomena as continental drift, the stages of a brush fire, and the denizens of the Wallace Line, which demarcates the flora and fauna of Asia from that of Australia.
The surface water has invented its own complex geographies alternating times of flow, times of rest – as it dances with the aquifers and deeper water tables. There is an ancient relationship between the waterways , creeks, billabongs and their flood plains. I have been marvelling at the lines of energy radiating from swamps and water holes, and seasonal creeks full of bird, animal and plant life.
More than ever before I found that this process of making a watercolour seemed to be analagous to the action and process by which water moves and forms the landscape itself. I’ve been laying these huge sheets of paper on to softly descending banks of sand hills, and start in a rather wild and physical way by pouring, brushing, sploshing quantities of watercolour which I have previously mixed up in large bowls. All these watery landscape elements around me are then recreated on the paper.
– John Wolseley, “Journal Notes“