Michael Wolfe: Australian Landscape Artist
I love painting the country around my home in Castlemaine and I never tire of the rolling hills, granite outcrops, rhythms, textures and colours. There’s order and geometry, but mostly wonderful chaotic confusion. It’s a beautiful, rugged, ragged, inspiring, glorious landscape which I love using as a backdrop and motif in my paintings.
Although I’ve been painting, drawing and making stuff fairly seriously for 30 years it was a trip to the desert, and particularly the landscape of the West MacDonnell Ranges along the Larapinta Trail north of Alice Springs, in 2007 that shifted my way of seeing dramatically. The colours and forms of the desert have informed my painting since. I am indebted to the many great painters who have come before me and given me new ways of painting old subjects. Although the desert (and more broadly Australia) can be vast, forbidding, harsh and alien, I’m very drawn to these feelings and have sought to express some of the formal elements in the rhythms, design and colours.
“I saw in this image of the land below me and undreamed-of freedom from formal arrangement. I was thrilled. My country! My own country. Unknown to me. Its history mysterious, inscribed in the hieroglyphics and elaborate arabesques of its unrecognised landforms, waiting to be deciphered. As we shuddered and bumped our way across the uneven sky my inner voice announced to me, No one has painted this. It was a thought that carried for me the force of revelation. No one has painted it. It is uncelebrated. Untouched by my culture. And (what is more) it is undreamed in the dreams of Europe.”
Alex Miller, Autumn Laing