The subjects in Jodie Wells’ current exhibition present as a pageantry of the natural world’s offerings. A procession of peonies, orchids, sunflowers, magpies, kookaburras, wrens, cockatoos and cavorting dogs greet the viewer in an orchestration of shape, hue and tactile surface.
Unconcerned with symbolic import, Jodie’s paintings simply express a visual poetic linking with her environment. Based in the northern Gold Coast, she tells that her studio is in her house, “Working from home I have found inspiration from those things that are near to me. Often just looking out a window is a creative stimulus. My main desire is to keep my subjects everyday and relatable.”
Often Jodie’s depictions of flowers are those picked from her garden. Whether in vases or filling the picture plane, ‘still lifes’ they are not! Jodie eschews any notion that her works attempt to capture flora as a naturalist painter might do. An intense involvement with the materiality of her medium lifts the imagery beyond mere representation. Employing an instinctive, direct technique her palette knife interprets and amplifies form in thick slabs of oil.
Jodie’s rendering of Australian native birds perched on branches has the same visceral impact. “I find birds a very accessible subject,” she imparts. “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 and various cockatoo species. They all appear to display a distinctive personality.”
Leaping dogs, paws outstretched, reference Jodie’s love of these companionable animals. During her daily walks with her own two, there are regular encounters with an assortment of breeds eager to interact. The backgrounds to the paintings of such are alive in impasto flourishes that emulate the dogs’ energetic exuberance.
Through surfaces that sparkle as light bounces from the troughs and crests of Jodie’s palette knife’s passage, we experience nature in all its textural vividness. The dynamism of the markings has endowed each painting a life of its own.
Jodie Wells’ work is represented in the Gold Coast City Gallery Collection. She was the winner of People’s Choice Award , Artist’s Choice Exhibition, Anthea Polson Art, 2019 and has been a finalist in a great number of Art Prizes including: Invited Finalist – Tattersall’s Club Landscape Prize, Brisbane 2019; Moreton Bay Art Prize, Brisbane 2015; Sunshine Coast Art Prize 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.
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