HUMaN - NaTURE:  James Whitington

ARTIST STATEMENT: Well known artists in the 1980s rolled around punching each other on the floors of the Royal George Hotel in Sydney on Thursday nights, quarrelling about the validity of abstract versus figurative art. What seemed important then is no longer important. It is now important as an artist to support the natural world.

The sugar lift aquatint etching, “Ren” is inspired by bark patterns observed on birch trees during an artist residency in Beijing, China (2011). I identify with the Daoist belief of perceiving humankind as a component of the natural world . In Confucius teachings this word is the benevolent quality of, “Ren.” The imagery here is created by spontaneous brushwork. These images express both the human and nature; combined in growth and vitality.

Ren is part of a tryptch Ren Tian, James Whitington, Beijing, China (2011)

THE SEVEN SONGS

ARTIST STATEMENT: Hell in a Half Shell: Seven Songs (for seven sins)

Seven months or so after presenting The Army of Unrequited Dreams in Sydney at MoM (Meeks on Marrickville) Space it is now time to present and release my new work Seven Songs to the world.

The Army of Unrequited Dreams dealt with my intuitions and dreams around the power of small things and how things we don’t acknowledge or even properly see can still be enormously germane to the way life unfolds around us. Our childhood dreams and fears collide with our present reality and bother us until action comes from our unrest. Perhaps they are only small actions but small actions can bring about big changes and even perhaps magic.

Seven Songs is an extension of all that The Army was and more. Within this single self-contained work is a God of my own devising on its own craft and with its own specific powers to bring change and release visions to the world … or at least for those who see it for what it is. And that is a kind of magic spell or even a promissory note to the future. It’s a reminder that all the small things in the world also have power and relevance to the fast pace of modern life. Our dreams have power and so do our fears.

When large and venal corporations for example threaten our lands and our futures and it seems impossible to take action as an individual that will slow or stop the destruction of our precious environment then we need to work collectively to bring forth a power from all the small things to assist us. Seven Songs is my action and as an artist this is all I have to fight those large battles.

A nameless God sits on the shoulders of a giant idea and comes sweeping into being on a craft of hopes and dreams all bedecked with seven sister sprites who promise to protect all the small things that are so precious to life. One hundred butterflies grace this ethereal craft and they are just waiting to be released into the hearts and minds of those who care. And those who care are those who will be protected and inspired by the seven sister sprites who are riding into town on the shoulders of the Giants and Gods that I have created.

So welcome to my world where an unnamed God of Small things can turn our sins into songs and make the detritus of modern life into powerful agents of change and hope and light in the world.

The Seven Songs, sculpture paper mache painted white, Juilee Pryor (2018).