Beyond the Backdoor
June 27 - July 11 2015
From the confines of domesticity the backdoor opens out into a domain of freedom, growth and colour - a place where wild things flourish. Based in the northern Gold Coast, Jodie Wells' locale is one teeming with all manner of creatures.
"My main desire was to keep my subjects Australian and everyday. Relatable. By Australian, I don't mean natives like kangaroos and emus, I mean the things we see when we step outside our own backdoors. I have portrayed not only what is in my back yard, but those of my friends and family too," says Jodie. "For this show I have painted horses, birds and flowers from the garden."
Jodie has never thought of herself as a nature artist. Rather than present realist depictions, her works aim to express the "spirit and energy" of her subjects. "Whether they are horses, wild birds or even birds in captivity, they all appear to display a distinctive personality," she explains. "I find birds a very accessible subject. No matter where you live there is most likely to be feathered creatures around. About my home there are heaps of birds, including a family of superb blue fairy wrens. Nearby we have galahs, cockatoos and many swamphens that we see daily on our commute to school. In my in-laws' backyard are two very large aviaries housing canaries, budgies, quails and fiches. I have used those birds for inspiration, as well as my sister in-law's eclectic parrot."
Of her equine subjects that gallop across the canvases with impasto zeal, Jodie muses, "I don't know why I am drawn to painting horses. I think perhaps it's because they have always been around me. Mum still lives in Tasmania and has horses in the back paddock. My grandparents, aunties, cousins, friends and in-laws have all owned horses, seems I can't escape seeing horses. Because of their size they can appear somewhat intimidating but their intelligence, power, speed and for the most part gentle temperaments, lead to endless painting possibilities."
As with her bird and horse imagery, Jodie's "flowers picked from outside and brought inside" are painted with gusto. ‘Still lifes' they are not! The dynamism of her palette knife markings has accorded these vases of flowers an independent existence. Any semblance of fragility has been subordinated to an almost abstract orchestration of shape, hue and sensuous, tactile surface. Herein lies the enormous popularity of Jodie's paintings: her genial subjects and the direct sensory appeal of thick, buttery textures.
Jodie's subjects are not consciously invested with any symbolic import. They quite simply convey a delight in the natural world expressed through a deep engagement with the plasticity of her oil medium. "What inspired me to paint the way I do? It was a single moment," she declares. "I had been painting for a year or two, then we visited the Art Gallery of NSW and I saw a painting by Peter Booth called Siberia. It was captivating - thick impasto, bold, high contrast. That's when I knew I had to paint like that."
Jodie Wells' work has been acquired by the Gold Coast City Gallery and she has been a finalist in a great number of Art Prizes including: Moreton Bay Art Prize, Brisbane 2015; Clayton Utz Art Award, Brisbane 2012; Stan and Maureen Duke Art Prize, GCCG 2011; Black Swan Portraiture Prize, Perth 2011, 2009, 2008; Lethbridge 10000 Art Award, Brisbane 2013, 2011, 2010; Mount Eyre Vineyards Art Prize, Rex-Livingston Gallery, Sydney 2011, 2010; Glover Art Prize, Evandale, Tasmania 2010; Border Art Prize 2010, 2008, 2007; Mortimer Art Prize, 2010; Waterhouse Prize - Works on Paper, South Australian Museum, Adelaide 2010; Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (the EMSLA), Coffs Harbour 2009; Open Art Prize, Royal Queensland Art Society, Gold Coast 2007.
The exhibition 'Jodie Wells - Beyond the Backdoor' is showing at Anthea Polson Art, Shop 120 Mariners Cove, Seaworld Drive Main Beach QLD 4217 (next to Marina Mirage), from June 27 - July 11 2015