From a technical perspective, line has always been an important element in my work. Line, not only delineates parts, or all, of figures and landscape, but are a pivotal part of the composition itself, etching an emotional track through the painting. Delineating between good works and genius.
I use black line in conjunction with the natural movement of the hand, like a sensor of my own emotions. In more recent works I use both black and white lines to incorporate borders around the perimeters and bring the work together. This exhibition showcases an acknowledgment of what have become personal motifs of how I express myself. In past exhibitions the ballerinas are rarely depicted dancing. My interest is in capturing the apprehension before the performance itself, or quite simply, the elation or sheer exhaustion experienced after a performance. The kite, mother and child, girl and horse, the cricketers, all celebrate innocence, exuberance, freedom, and emotion. My imagination is continually given food for thought via my 10 grandchildren. There is never a dull moment and this exhibition showcases many of these moments combined with my imagination.
I’m often asked by others, where do I get the inspiration to paint? or " why do you paint what you do". Hopefully the following will provide an insight into the execution of my works.
I worked all night long to ensure I held the memory of that moment, attempting to capture the depth of caring and the unspeakable bond I had witnessed. I strive to produce work which triggers memories and evokes emotion that viewers can identify with. In this instance, the incredible emotion of receiving a hug from a child. That’s when I feel my job is done.
Flying back into Australia from the U.K is one of my perennial sources of inspiration. I travel there often and never come back without marvelling at the size of the place, the fact that you hit Western Australia and still have seven hours of flying to go, amazes me every time. I am ready to start painting when I look down and feel the hum emanating from the land.
Years ago, I managed a team for a multi-national company throughout Queensland. It was pivotal in my art career. Having the unique opportunity to view much of this vast State from the flight deck of a Hercules aircraft whilst affording me the privilege of speaking and working with local Indigenous people was such an inspiration and so completely new for me. It has left an indelible impression on me which shines through in my paintings. For example, the Burdekin Dam in drought. The landscape throws gold everywhere with a thin slash of azure blue the only thing feeding the dam. Such an incredible view from the booming Hercules above.
Space and colour from all of these pivotal moments influence my work to this day. Drawing the line is an exhibition of technicality, merged with ingenuity, meets me!
- John Maitland, 2017.
To learn more about John Maitland explore his artist profile here on our website.
The digital exhibition catalogue containing exhibition introduction, artist statement and CHG Director's statement can be viewed here.