Over the past four years John Wolseley has explored the wetlands of Australia in a major series of new works commissioned by Sir Roderick Carnegie. In this series of monumentally-scaled works on paper, the artist celebrates the variety and unique nature of water forms in Australia. The mangrove swamps in Roebuck Bay (W.A.), the flood plains of Garanalli in the Northern Territory, the Finke River in the Simpson Desert and the sphagnum swamps of Skullbone Plains in Tasmania are just some of the sites detailed in these impressive works. The different geographical features and unique plant and animal forms of these wetlands are depicted in the finely worked drawing and rich watercolour washes that characterise Wolseley’s work. Many also combine collage elements and markings made “in collaboration” with the natural environment. Through this way of working, which includes burying works and drawing with carbonized wood found in the bush, the artist subverts traditional approaches to the depiction of landscape. These works celebrate the beauty of the Australian wilderness and encourage an understanding of the significance and environmental fragility of these remote and little-known sites.
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