Form - Formless
5 - 23 April 2017
Opening Wednesday 5 April, 6.30-8pm
“Things are produced around us, but no one knows the whence. They issue forth, but no one sees the portal.” Chuang-tzu
For UK artist Oliver Ashworth-Martin, the Australian landscape symbolises a vastness and aliveness that evokes a sublime connection with nature. Form - Formless represents a personal exploration and communion with the land that he now (recently) inhabits.
This ancient land is scattered with the incredible forms of native seeds and pods. They have been the source in his work to express nature’s evolving cycle from the formless to form and back again. These objects that act as vessels for life become symbolic doorways into the unknown and unknowable depth of nature.
Ashworth-Martin has been particularly inspired by those forms in the landscape that seem to transcend scale. They seem to exist autonomously, like a pebble on a beach: its form still bears the traces of its connection to a greater whole, to the tree, to the
forest, to the sky and to the great void beyond. These pieces, like much of his work, represent Ashworth-Martin’s own profound experience of the landscape during daily solar cycles, particularly when the light is at its transitionary stage.
“Here, the true sublime wonder of our landscape comes alive and our senses are born again anew. It is the place where two worlds meet, the light and the dark, neither can exist without the other. Here life’s cycle is echoed in the form and formless, all forms derive from the void and back into the void they will return. Life is an endless flow of coming into form, moving through form and leaving form.” Oliver Ashworth-Martin, February 2017
These gestural and layered paintings become dreamscapes, windows into other realms of awareness and experience. Here myth and storytelling become driving forces for the artist’s work. “The land is alive, we feel it beneath us and are reminded that it has sustained and supported us since the day we were born.” Oliver Ashworth-Martin, February 2017
Much of Ashworth-Martin’s work takes its inspiration from Eastern aesthetic and design, influenced as he is by the philosophies and techniques of Chinese and Japanese landscape paintings. He looks to express the spirit and essence of the scene, transcending the objective form into the timeless form. Such practice echoes the ‘three stages’ of the world: foreground, middle ground and background or, in Shamanic teachings, lower, middle and upper worlds.
Oliver Ashworth-Martin’s practice as an artist is an attempt to get back to a communion with nature, back to a knowledge and respect for our environment that our ancestors knew and that we have forgotten. Only through a deeper communication with our
surroundings can we find our way back to our true being, one that sees us part of an ever changing landscape of the form and the formless.
Oliver Ashworth-Martin is a UK artist recently settled in Melbourne. Form - Formless represents his debut solo exhibition in Australia. Previous exhibitions include Sherbrooke Gallery, Melbourne (highly commended, traditional Botanical), Aberglasney House
Gallery, Wales and Stroud House Gallery, England.
Opening Night wines supplied by