It’s an odd thing to be introduced to a painter and etcher with a background in theology via enormous and detailed dicks carefully rendered over images in one of Australia’s most widely read newspapers. But, that is exactly how we met Jonathan Guthmann. It was clear from the level of detail on the monstrous phalluses he created while “drawing dicks on the Herald Sun” that Jonathan had an enormous amount of technical skill. But, it wasn’t until we got to know him better and view his serious works that we realised he was a artist who created traditional etchings bursting with symbolic imagery and paintings depicting a mix of mythological and theological imagery.
Beau White is an exceptionally gifted figurative oil painter with a proclivity towards bizarre and often unsettling themes. He is technically skilled and able to accurately represent his subject matter to near photorealism while still having the elusive “painterly” touch. His ability could easily lend itself to complete works of neoclassical art. When hearing him talk about working with paint, it is easy to see that he has near encyclopaedic knowledge and a passion to match. But, thematically Beau White’s works are far from classical although they do borrow some elements. And although his works are representational they are also otherworldly in the most bizarre and wonderful of ways.
Isabel Peppard has been an artistic force of nature since the moment she came into the world. A creator, visionary, provocateur and storyteller. In childhood she absorbed the legends, demons and spirits of Japanese folklore. As a teenager she fronted a successful punk rock band. As a young adult she earned her place in the special effects industry and her influence grew from there. She combined her talents in sculpture, painting, film making, animation to break new ground in the Australian arts and media industry.
Over nearly two decades, Australian artist Ben Howe has carved a reputation for himself globally with his iconic photo-surrealist oil paintings. Those paintings have made their way across the world into galleries and private collections, in the process eclipsing numerous grants, fellowships and international residencies which have been sent his way.
Hannah Yata weaves nature, feminine imagery, and other elements into pieces that can both soothe and challenge: while her paintings are beautiful, often with a candy colour palette, they also confront us with complex perspectives on humans and their world. Sometimes wry and sometimes shocking, Yata’s work is invariably arresting.
John Brosio uses traditional painting to portray the relationship of people to their environment in very nontraditional terms. With elements both funny and foreboding, his work captures what people so often miss: the awe that should be inspired by some very large thing we’re overlooking and our arrogant inflation of our own place within the universe. Brosio’s paintings challenge us to not get stuck in the milieu of the everyday but to see the beautiful and sometimes terrible things around us.
Chris Leib is an American fine-artist and graduate of anthropology, renowned for his iconography of Bonobo chimps and astronauts and cosmonauts, often juxtaposed, with exquisite technique and scrupulous attention to detail. Transcending whimsy, his paintings are laden with meaning and intellectual contemplation. Chris’ work explores themes of heroism, human endeavour and the sensitivity of human hopes and ambitions to possible realities of science-fact. His work challenges us to contemplate a collision of science-fiction, reality and religion, this three-car pile-up viewed from the vantage point of our evolutionary ancestors who have quietly continued to evolve themselves.
Adrian Cox is a painter, scholar, philosopher and one compelling teller of stories. His paintings depict a vast and secret world of peaceful ‘border creatures’ which exist within a serene and tranquil ecosystem, known as the Borderlands. Cox’s body of work represents a mythology, a mythology that he has thoughtfully, meticulously and incrementally evolved. Like so many mythologies, though the central characters may not be human, the message is nevertheless ultimately a human one: an allegory for who we are, what we came from and what could perhaps one day be.
The works of Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński are renowned for their haunting surrealism. Presenting dusty dystopian landscapes, sparsely populated by gaunt and imposing figures. Beksiński’s work has inspired countless artists and informed creative directions in film, music and photography. Despite his enormous influence, there has never been much of a window into the life of the man himself. Kamil Śliwiński is hoping to change that. He is one of the driving forces behind a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising enough funds to make a feature length documentary on Zdzisław Beksiński and his life.
The work of Canada-based artist Kit King is a study in contrasts: not merely the dark and light of her black and white pieces but also the contrasts between intimate and impersonal, hardness and vulnerability, openness and the state of being bound. There is balance yet tension. And it is the viewer who is invited, perhaps compelled, to resolve that tension—or decide to merely appreciate the question a particular piece may ask.