Christmas is upon us yet again and the usual consumption of food and gifts overwhelms us. In a country so rich in bounty from sea to shining sea, we can sometimes take it all for granted. In our hurried lives, we can forget where our true riches come from. I'm not talking about superficial wealth, like consumer goods or natural resources, or even our beautiful country.
Gloucester Morning Fire by Rod Bathgate
Rather, I'm talking about the deeper more meaningful rich vein of who we are as people, be it via our ancient indigenous heritage to our western tradition that was hard fought for and preserved. [The latter often unnecessarily maligned in my view] Through our combined efforts, we have risen as a nation full of hope and a deep desire to right past wrongs. We are not prone to giving ourselves credit where it is due and though there is still much of the journey to finish, we have come a long way so far and I claim that we are a nation that leads the way in tolerance and maturity.
Well done Aussies!
It is this sometimes tempestuous relationship between the very ancient and the relatively modern, that has built a unique and vibrant country full of hard working, extremely tolerant people who at their heart love things superficial and sacred. We love this country and it's beloved people and I firmly believe that at our very core lies a deep desire to have and to hold that which speaks to us on a spiritual level.
Vintage Cowrie Hole 2 AP by Rod Bathgate
I have endeavored to preserve in some small way, this deep passion for the sacred landscape that, here in the Hunter, we treasure as much as we do our own families.
This is no small thing, in my view, as we journey further away from our heritage. It is something we all cherish. We all long for those things that are sometimes difficult to describe but easier to discern in our lives.
Through my landscapes and seascapes I seek to define what it is to see and to know the landscape, not just to be given over to superficial thoughts and sensations. Mine is a spiritual quest. In each of my works [and this might sound like posh talk] this is something I treat with extreme seriousness and earnestness.
I believe in my family, my friends and yes, even my enemies. We all crave that which we truly know and love deep inside us. To be back in the garden and to know true peace and joy in a broken world. Not escapism but true belonging. Not through more shock and alienation. These realities are ever present. No, I hope my work allows that deep reflection and meditation that holds us fast and gives us the strength and peace to face an ever more challenging world. For centuries we knew about and sought to preserve these values and I consider myself a soldier in the great battle for the heart and for the soul, by grace.
Lime Crush by Rod Bathgate
To purchase one or more of my works is to claim stewardship of our beloved landscape as I have and to keep it in perpetuity for generations. It is a fact that we manufacture less and less in this country and I say, without a sense of irony, that art is in the vanguard of preserving our precious culture. In my case, built by my own hand and conserved in my heart, even through often destructive and divisive odds.
When you take home a piece of my art you are helping to build a strong and vibrant future for yourself and your heirs and successors in a tangible and lasting way. Not just as an investment [though that has great merit] but also as something to be enjoyed for the spiritual and psychological well being of us as a community.
I believe we are entering a "Golden Age" of optimism and prosperity and through our soul searching and battles we have come out more resilient and stronger as a people, ready to do business with the world.
Thank you and God bless.
Yours warmly, Rod Bathgate.