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Cooks Hill Galleries (CHG) present a joint exhibition from two of Australia's contemporary artists. Inspired by the Australian bush James Kearns interprets and presents the rural landscape and animals. Nick Osmond the human characters.
James Kearns has established himself as a regarded and successful artist. Inspired by Ben Quilty who played a pivotal role as his mentor early on in his career. This is James' second exhibition with CHG, his first was a near sell out.
Nick Osmond is an undeveloped artist who has a cult following, particular capturing the heart of a famed celebrity!

This CHG in gallery and online this exhibition is vibrant, diverse and speaks to one's soul.


Much is spoken, heard and observed when talking of the 'bush'. Its isolation, hardship and challenges but there is no lack of enthusiasm, evident when you see these artists absorbed with their art and driven to a truly sublime place with their medium and composition.

Kearns and Osmond are such that they are reliant on their art on many levels! Emotionally, a driving passion, solace or would we say an escape? Once there the magic begins!

James Kearns continues to explore more the animals than portraits with this exhibition. The paint application and the effects achieved give the artwork more energy and excitement and he understands the importance of space surrounding a focal point! He lives and loves the country, as such he expects much from it, it is all encompassing. Whilst growing up in the city his relationship with the bush is where his comfort lies. One day he takes me about 50 kms out of town to one of his favoured painting areas; defining what the country means to him! No doubt one of the few places he gains an awareness of his person! His observation of trees, river banks, colours, textures, birds, animals, sky, water and the earth itself all speak to him, driving him to paint. It's more than a recording of these experiences I see, but a raw emotion being the fire within his paintings.

Nick is powered with enthusiasm and a joy for life. On first meeting, albeit so brief, his passion flowed. I felt he had a vision, untamed and ready to explore the opportunities art was going to present to him.

An obvious 'people person' his art influence revolves around the figure and so often their character is revealed. Much of the stimulus for his subject matter is historical reference, old photos, a reading of history and a fascination for 'recognised' people and their personalities. He is keen to extract just the essence and presents it in a unique abstract.

Nick has a fascination with Sidney Nolan, arguably our most famous Australian figure painter, who later became internationally recognised Australian artist. He also captures the 'character'. However, for me it's Nick's application of paint colour that adds to the energy within his figure painting.

His art is a breath of fresh air, often involving an innocence, whimsy and energy that is easy to identify with on one level. Like some of Nolan's art it possesses an understatement however with more colour and a subjective twist. There is an 'X factor' that attracts! Will he get to the heights of Nolan? Probably not but Nick has an innocence and naïve element in his art that draws upon sentimentality which is both attractive and immediately identifiable. I believe he could go close! Watch his career as there will be some 'gems' in the years to come! I think there could be an 'Archibald' in the waiting.

Exhibition continues to Monday 28 November 2016.

Yours in art,
Mark Widdup
CHG Director

Nick Osmond Art
Man Wearing Ned's Aura by Nick Osmond


James Kearns was born and educated in Sydney, Australia and currently lives and paints in Moree, NSW.
After working in leading design and advertising agencies, James took up art full-time in 2010.

"My paintings are a visual documentation of my life’s experiences, explorations and influences. My art combines these fundamentals with personal attributes such as intuition and emotions.
I begin a piece either with a landscape to support a composition or spontaneously which becomes more detailed as the composition starts to show itself. The process involves layering. The first layers are the most erratic and may combine a variety of mixed media.
Though my brush strokes and use of elements may seem by chance, they’re often mechanical and well calculated decisions. My composition makes full use of space, appearing to be arranged in an ornamental net.
I notice different characters and forms during the process, which I then nurture and allow to develop almost at their own will."

In the wake of two severe injuries, Nick Osmond began painting two years ago in his weatherboard cottage by the Broadwater Creek, on the outskirts of Moree in north-west NSW.
Describing himself as a gardener who paints, Nicks home is now overgrown with plant life and portraiture. In the studio, he regularly enjoys the company of his twelve-year-old daughter Sophie.

"I love to paint PEOPLE! Either as portraits or in a loose narrative style. My painting style is semi abstract, moving some times to realism. Often influenced by Sidney Nolan and Adam Cullen, I’m also inspired by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Goya. Painting in a loose naïve style works well given the indistinctive way I paint. I require a very firm image, visualisation or photographic record to commence an artwork, yet believe most of the final image comes from the following artistic process and development."


In addition to viewing the collection below you can BROWSE + SHOP the digital exhibition catalogue here.