It’s hard to remember our lives before the daily visual barrage from our computers, tablets and phones; with images from all around the world accessible at the flick of a switch. Equally we are able to construct an online identity shaped by the pictures we post and share. These ideas shape the framework for a new collection of paintings by Sydney-based artist James Ettelson.
Ettelson investigates contemporary culture, looking at the ways we are ‘fixated’ on technology, with consumption and production of often ‘picture perfect’ imagery. Although largely abstract, his canvases offer a few visual clues to these themes: a cross-legged girl in a swimming costume, palm trees and a posing cat emerge from these densely constructed paintings. The irony that Ettelson is choosing to comment on images that are usually fast and disposable while executing his own work with painstaking precision is not lost on the viewer.
There is something almost craft-like in his approach, he builds the compositions intuitively with a series of highly colourful patchwork sections. These fragments are made with a series of dashes and dots (that nod to Aboriginal Art) and anyone that has marveled at the master of pointillism, Georges Seurat, will enjoy this contemporary interpretation. The cheekily titled ‘Tinder Surprise’ also exposes the under-painting beneath his jewel-like surface. Arbitrary marks in acid neon aerosol provide a provocative counterpoint to the structured inscriptions on the surface.
Having only just turned thirty and with four solo exhibitions under his belt, this self-trained artist is definitely one to watch.
James Ettelson ‘Fixated’
66 McLachlan Ave
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tuesday – Friday: 9.30am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday – Monday: closed
Until 8th August 2015