John Wolseley

b. 1938

Since moving to Australia in 1978, John Wolseley has immersed himself in the landscape, an approach which has given rise to a variety of different ways of collaborating with the land itself. His large scale works on paper, watercolours and installations are often based around scientific themes.

In the 1980s and 1990 his practice often included juxtaposing images of deep geological time with the shallow time of the present. This included the rising of the seas on the Kimberley coast, movement of sand dunes in the Simpson Desert and even the migration of the tectonic plates which once held the ancient continent of Gondwana together. This work was acknowledged in numerous exhibitions, grants and commissions. Including in 1996 the publication of a scholarly monograph by Sasha Grishin, John Wolseley: Landmarks (reprinted 2015) an Honorary degree of Doctor of Science (2005, Macquarie University) and the awarding of the Australian Council Visual Arts Emeritus Award (2005). In these years he developed the ability to see and paint the underlying forces which have shaped a particular landscape. Wolseley’s interest in flood plains was consolidated in the period from 2011-15 which he spent tracing water systems all over Australia for the commissioned project Heartlands and Headwaters: John Wolseley (NGV, 2016).

Over the last ten years Wolseley has also collaborated with the great Yolŋu artist Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda in a project to draw attention to the food plants which once kept her community healthy but which are now being replaced with European ‘junk’ food. (Midawarr/Harvest: The Art of Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda and John Wolseley, National Museum of Australia 2017) His exposure to her deep knowledge of every aspect of the great floodplain on which she lived influenced his ideas about how important it is to understand the flows of water, energy, wind, animals and plants if one has any hope of providing stewardship for the land. In the paintings which Wolseley produced under Mulkuṉ’s influence he was trying to show how a tropical river ecosystem can be painted as a kind of microcosm of our earth. A map of the dynamic systems of earth air and water which enfolds the lives of plants, insects and fish.

In recent years John Wolseley has regularly visited farming properties along the upper Murray and in the region around Albury. Here he discovered that both artists and farmers need to be attuned to the ways in which the land acts as a self-regulating system comprised of physical chemical, biological and human components all of which are delicately balanced and complex. Earth canvas was a pioneering project that coupled six well established artists with a number of regenerative farmers situated between the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. The work generated during this time toured to a number of regional galleries and then to the National Museum in Canberra in 2022.
17 November 2022

Since 2019 Wolseley has continued following creeks and rivers to the west of his home in the Whipstick Forest – travelling down the Banyena/Richardson and the Kurakibiyal/Avon rivers.

PAST EXHIBITIONS

2022

2019

2018

In Blog

John Wolseley Exhibition at Gippsland Art Gallery

John Wolseley  The Overburden Dump, Hazelwood Power Station  1979  oil on board  14.7 x 60.9 cm John Wolseley: The Quiet …

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John Wolseley – at Castlemaine State Festival

Essays on Earth  installation image. John Wolseley presents a collaborative multichannel video installation, Essays on Earth, with artist Brodie Ellis …

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John Wolseley – Feature in Artist Profile

Preeminent landscape painter and printmaker John Wolseley has been interviewed in his studio by Elli Walsh and published in Artist …

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Holly Grace & Sarah Tomasetti – Finalists in the 2024 Fleurieu Biennale Art Prize

Image above: Sarah Tomasetti From Balpatta X 2024 145 x 150 cm pigment oil and marble dust on fresco Congratulations to Holly …

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2024 Salon des Refusés at S.H. Ervin Gallery

Image above (left to right): Graeme Drendel Portrait of Rick  2024 oil on canvas 41 x 31 cm | Michelle Hiscock …

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Janet Luxton – Finalist in the Artists for Conservation International Exhibition

Image above:  Janet Luxton  Giant Australian Cuttlefish  2021  oil on canvas  120x160cm Congratulations to Janet Luxton who has had two …

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Wayne Eager – Interview in Studio National

Above image: Wayne Eager, Allegory I  2023 oil on linen 95 x 133 cm Wayne Eager was interviewed by Janet …

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Omina Art Prize Finalists – Kate Hudson, Martin King, Robin Stewart and Marina Strocchi

Image above: Marina Strocchi The vineyards of Madden’s Lane 2023 acrylic on linen 122 x 152 cm Congratulations to Kate …

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Jennifer Keeler-Milne – Ravenswood Art Prize Finalist

Congratulations to Jennifer Keeler – Milne for being selected as a finalist in the Ravenswood Art Prize 2024 for her …

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Introducing the Sydney Stock Rooms

Australian Galleries is thrilled to introduce our most recent gallery space ~ the Sydney Stock Rooms. Located directly opposite our …

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Jimmy Rix interview for Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2024

In a fascinating artist interview for Sculpture by the Sea,  Jimmy Rix shares insights into the themes which inspired his …

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Julian Twigg ‘Long Haul’ – short film and interview by Peter Lamont

Portrait of Julian Twigg by Peter Lamont Filmmaker Peter Lamont of Handmade Films has created a wonderful short film on …

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Congratulations Martin King – Finalist in The Alice Prize

Martin King  ledger of the lost years ‘24 and ‘25′  N.D  graphite, watercolour and gouache on drafting film and paper  …

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