05/1/15

Artist Interview: Guy Warren

At 94 Guy Warren is one of Olsen Irwin’s more senior artists.

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Edward Hoddle, Manager of the Olsen Irwin Works on Paper Gallery, had the opportunity to meet with guy and discuss his life and his art.

Guy’s generation saw first hand the horrors of the Second World War. Guy, who turned 18 in 1939, served in the Australian army throughout the war. The world now seems strikingly different to the one the fresh-faced 18-year-old Guy Warren went to defend.  Technological advances throughout his lifetime has made the world more accessible and transformed our society. Guy’s work has continued to change and develop to adapt to these changes.

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Afterno0n Late (Nullabor)
watercolour on paper
39 X 57 cm
$2,200

 

Guy has enjoyed an almost sell out show at the Works on Paper Gallery. The works in the exhibition explore the integration of human existence within the natural world and is made up of  landscapes produced during recent trips to Alice Springs, Broken Hill, The Nullarbor Plains and Equator. Mythology, memory and personal experience are all intertwined within Guy’s landscape linking the natural world to human experience.

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Conversations with Alice- Hills near Ross River
Oil Crayon on Paper
56.6 X 76 cm
$3,300

The great Australian art critic John McDonald wrote in his essay, Guy Warren: Figure in a Landscape,

“The most important thing for Warren is that each work represents a transforming feat of the imagination, a way of re-imagining or re-inventing the world, not simply a record of sensory experiences”

This quote from McDonald encapsulates the essence of Guy’s landscapes. The application a few simple strokes carefully applied by Guy is able to induce a sense of narrative, time and mythology.

It has been a complete honour to work with Guy during the show the show. Guy is a true gent the truest of sense of the word. His passion and energy for art clearly still dives him and it has been a wonderful experience to work with him. I had the pleasure of asking Guy a few questions about the show and his experience as an artist.

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Silverton- The house with the crooked chimney
Watercolour on paper
38 X 56.5
$2,200

 Guy Warren Interview

Q1) You recently celebrated your 94th birthday, is the naming of the show ‘On the road’ a reflection of your desire to keep going and not slow down?

The images in the show derive from several sources — Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Ecuador.  It was my son’s suggestion to call it “On the Road” as a reference to those wanderings.  But I like your reading of the title — about keeping going and not slowing down.  Exactly how I feel.

Q2) The show is comprised of landscapes, what is it about the Australian landscape that attracts you?

What do I like about the Australian landscape?  The tough uncompromising power of it all.  I tried to paint the English landscape when my wife and I lived in London for eight years but i found it all too calm and beautiful — like a great park.  i prefer the toughness of the Australian landscape.  Anyway, it’s probably in my psyche — I’ve walked across it,  slept in many different and difficult parts of it, driven through it, for most of my life.  It’s part of me now.

Q3) There is interplay of mythology and spirituality associated within your landscapes. Is this something you read from the landscape or something you place within it?

I find it difficult to see the landscape without thinking of all the people who have lived and died in — and on — that land for thousands of years.  I think the works frequently shift between the figurative and the abstract as they experiment with the placement of the figure within the landscape. I am interested in mythology and the metaphors we construct in order to make sense of man in nature and, perhaps, the presence of nature in man.  If you have read the autobiographical section in my book you may remember that I was intrigued by the way the local people in New Guinea decorated themselves to the point where they almost merged into their  richly decorative landscape — a wonderful metaphor for the  idea that we are part of the environment, not the owners or masters of it.  For many years my paintings were inspired by the rainforests of New Guinea and the rainforest around a retreat near Jamberoo on the NSW south coast – an area of thick, lush, heavily-textured growth with a mountainous escarpment behind.  This area has been the source of many of my images, including the “Wingman” and the Gaia figure — the latter a reference to both the Greek myth of Gaia as a mother-earth figure and to the books of the English scientist James Lovelock.  More recently, though,  I have been working with the sparse landscape of Alice Springs and Broken Hill, a different challenge and a change from the rainforest. The figure of the bride at Broken Hill came about one morning when I was working with Ann Thomson on a hill, surrounded by the detritus of old mining building and machinery — and a bridal party, fully attired in bridal finery, suddenly arrived.  It was surrealistic.

Q4 ) Many of the works are entitled ‘Field Notes” is working en plein air something you find benefits your creative process?

I enjoy drawing in the landscape, sometimes in black and white or colour, and looking and walking through it, trying to get to know and understand it, but I don’t enjoy setting up an easel and working in oils.  The wind blows the easel down, the sand blows onto the paint, the flies and mosquitoes zoom in.  Not my favourite way of working.

Q5) Your works strike a balance between figurative and abstract. Would you say you’re inspired by the figurative or does the figurative return in your abstraction?

This has probably been answered by No 4.

Q6) As a senior artist what advice would you give to younger artists trying to start out?

I’m not sure that I’m the right one to ask.  I’m still learning.  Keep doing what you think is right and honest to your own personal experiences and background and be as professional as you can be.  Mix with other artists.  Learn from them.  Study the old masters. Read a lot.  Look a lot. Think a lot. Be brave, take risks, don’t be afraid of disasters. Don’t be frightened to do something stupid — it might work. Trust your intuition. Expect great doubts and occasional depression.  Keep working.  But I warn you — as you get older it doesn’t get easier.

Q7) Your show has been a large success and has sold around 80% of the works so far. What can we expect from your larger show in September?

I hope the September show will be much better, but like every artist I know — and every artist in history — one’s creative life is full of doubts.  There is no easy way. The American artist Philip Guston said “Doubt is the critical awareness of the existence of alternatives.”  Bob Hughes said “The greater the artist, the greater the doubts.  Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”  Despite all the doubts along the way, the work for September is looking good.

 

Guy Warren: On the Road closes this Saturday 2 May 2015 and the exhibition can be viewed online here.

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04/17/15

Guy Warren: On the road opening tomorrow 2- 4pm

Guy Warren is no stranger to the Australian art scene with a career spaning over 70 years. Yesterday Guy celebrated his 94th birthday and in testament to the longevity of his art he has a new exhibition at the Works on Paper Gallery.

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The Exhibition is entitled ‘Guy Warren: On the Road’ and celebrates the artists unwavering energy for life.

When asked how he felt at 94 he simply answered “it’s the new 21”.

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Conversations with Alice-Sentinel (2)

Oi Pastel on paper

38 X 56.5cm

$2,200

The works in this exhibition explore the integration of human existence within the natural world and is made up of  landscapes produced during recent trips to Alice Springs, Broken Hill, The Nullarbor Plains and Equator. Mythology, memory and personal experience are all intertwined within Guy’s landscape linking the natural world to human experience.

15407

Silverton- The house with the crooked chimney
Water colour on paper

38 X 56.5 cm

$2,200

The great Australian art critic John McDonald wrote in his essay, Guy Warren: Figure in a Landscape,

“The most important thing for Warren is that each work represents a transforming feat of the imagination, a way of re-imagining or re-inventing the world, not simply a record of sensory experiences”

This quote from McDonald encapsulates the essence of Guy’s landscapes. The application a few simple strokes carefully applied by Guy is able to induce a sense of narrative, time and mythology.

15398

 

Conversations with Alice- Hills near Ross River
Oil Crayon on Paper
56.6 X 76 cm
$3,300

The exhibition is comprised of 22 works made from a mix of water colour and oil pastel.

Guy Warren: On the road opens Saturday 18 April 2 – 4pm

The catalogue is available online

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10/28/14

Luke Sciberras, Sophie Cape, Guy Warren, Guy Maestri and Ann Thomson | The Blow-In Art Collective

More images of Guy Warren, Guy Maestri, Ann Thomson, Sophie Cape and Luke Sciberras’ painting trip to broken hill as part of The Blow-In Art Collective. Part of a group of ten, these five artists spent time creating artworks in the area, before exhibiting the pieces in an exhibition at the regional gallery, currently on show.

The images below allow for a good comparison between the kind of land these artists found themselves on and the way they decided to depict it. And while sometimes painting en plein air can be hazardous for artists (we need only refer to the picture of Sophie Cape’s bunched up paper canvas, a result of the wind) one can see here that painting in situ provides all sorts of opportunities for an artist to create an original piece of work. And to be in the company of other friendly artists provides another dimension to the process of creation. Not only have these artists produced some fantastic artworks, it also looks from these images as though they had a fantastic time producing them.

The other artists involved in the project are Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Kevin Connor, Peter Kingston and Dan Kyle.

The Blow-In Art Collective
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
404-408 Argent St, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880
Friday October 10 – November 24

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10/9/14

Guy Warren, Luke Sciberras, Sophie Cape, Ann Thomson and Guy Maestri | Painting trip to Broken Hill

A group of five artists from the Olsen Irwin stables are currently in Broken Hill creating works of art for the Regional Gallery. Guy Maestri, Ann Thomson, Sophie Cape, Luke Sciberras and Guy Warren are part of the “Blow-in art collective,” a group of ten artists from Sydney who will be painting en plein air in the area for two weeks.

At the end of this period the fresh works will be hung straight away in the gallery. It is quite unusual for something like this to occur without the finishing touches being added to a work in the studio first. It really is something that requires quite a bit of confidence on behalf of both the artists and the gallery.

The other artists involved in the project are Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Kevin Connor, Peter Kingston and Dan Kyle. From the photos below (taken by Luke Sciberras) it seems the group are not only making some wonderful artworks, but are also having a fantastic time together.

The Blow-In Art Collective
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
404-408 Argent St, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880
Friday October 10 – November 24

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01/28/14

Guy Warren | AM 2014 Australia Day Honours List

Guy Warren has been awarded an AM as Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia in The 2014 Australia Day Honours List for ‘significant service to the visual arts as a painter, teacher, mentor and competition judge’.

Previously a recipient of the Order of Australia medal (OAM) in the general division in The Queen’s Birthday 1999 Honours List, Warren has been recognised time and again for his ongoing contributions to the arts. As well as being awarded some of Australia’s most prestigous art prizes, including the Archibald Prize in 1985, Warren has also received an Honorary Doctor of Visual Arts from the University of Sydney in 2007 and an Honorary Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong in 1998.

Warren’s work is held in major collections worldwide including the Nation Gallery of Australia, every Australian state art gallery and museum, the British Museum, the Contemporary Art Society Collection in London, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the National Library of China, as well as countless private collections.

You can read the entire list of Australia Day Honours List 2014 recipients on the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website here.

Warren#10378

Guy Warren, Dusty Road, 2012, Acrylic on canvas, 76 x 76cm, $7,000

08/16/13

Kings Art Show | 23 – 25 August

Please join us at the King’s 34th Annual Art Show from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 August 2013. The work of Olsen Irwin artists will feature in two exhibitions; The King’s Art Prize Retrospective – showcasing past recipients of this celebrated award such as John Olsen and Martine Emdur; and the Gowan Brae Exhibition  – featuring work of Nicholas Harding, Guy Warren, Matthew Johnson as well as many other celebrated Australian artists.

The King’s School
87-129 Pennant Hills Road
North Parramatta

King’s 34th Annual Art Show
Friday 23 – Sunday 25 August 2013

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Kings 34th Annual Art Show, 23-25 August 2013

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Matthew Johnson, Untitled, 2013, Oil on linen, 130 x 110cm