Justine Wahlin is an emerging artist whose work explores the intersection of place and human experience.
The grandniece of accomplished Australian artist Justin Obrien, (1917 to 1996), Justine is better known as a musician and animator having released several solo albums, numerous animations and short films to accompany her own and other artist’s music.
Born in Sweden to a Swedish father and Australian Mother, and raised in Australia, Justine lived a fairly nomadic life as a young child, developing a deep appreciation for the natural world from an early age. The poetry and mystery of two continents has heavily influenced her artistic practice.
While a prolific songwriter, Justine’s visual work took a long hiatus between the ages of 27 and 49, believing once that music and visual art could not co-exist. Through the marriage of animation and music she is now confident the two can enhance one another.
While she meandered through more musical poetic expressions, the time spent keenly observing the world is evident in a growing and assured collection of visual work. It demonstrates a fascination of the micro world, the exquisite design of nature and its repetition of patterns.
Justine’s art often features bold, abstract shapes and vivid colours that are inspired by mysterious landscapes both tiny and gargantuan. Justine also explores more realistic imagery through water colour and acrylic mediums.
In addition to her visual studio practice, Justine has remained a dedicated musician currently performing her own solo work and collaborating with a number of Inner Western Sydney musicians.
She currently lives and works in Arncliffe Sydney where she finds endless inspiration from her rambling garden and the juxtaposition of nature and the built environment.
1. Abstract works
This group of works centres around the use of colour and the creation of abstract forms. I am fascinated by the way colours interact with one another and set one another off. The centre of my enquiry is to bring colour and form into harmonious yet mysterious compositions that evoke a sort of landscape.
These works are all enlargements of microcosms from the first painting (River Through the Built World), each one layered with more complexity and detail to evoke emotions and convey a sense of place without the use of recognizable subject matter.
These paintings, though abstract, are not without intention. I carefully consider the placement of each colour and mark, and I work to create a sense of balance and harmony within each composition. My goal is to create works that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also thought-provoking and emotionally resonant. They take us to imaginary places.
Pink forms the open space. Pink is nurturing and playful and also conveys love and compassion, pink lies where we might see water or sky. The eyes rest in a place that is familiar but unrecognisable.
2. Birds and Flannel Flowers
The birds are a statement about repetition in nature and within that, the subtle nuances creating endlessly unique designs. They are created using handmade stencils over abstract under paintings. These works are deeply layered to create unique characters that embrace their own individuality and yet gather in harmony.
The flannel flowers are part of another exploration into a more figurative expression of nature. Directly inspired by the recent bumper flannel season along the east coast of NSW, this group forms the beginning of more work on burlap and other natural fibres.