Jan Manton Art Brisbane
6-30 September - Opening Saturday 9 Sep 2-4pm

My work has been constantly evolving conceptually and spiritually over the last few years. Traces is a return to my exploration of sculpture, a feature of my early career and an expansion of my lifelong fascination with the symbology of religion, love, birth, death, creation and renewal.

In Traces the new work combines the landscape with painted aged wooden panels. Using organic materials as symbols of transformation, fire - ash, forest – wood and flotsam from the sea; they are altered to evoke universal themes that connect the planet and cultures over time and space.

Looking at the Moon thinking of the Sea, 2016 that combines charcoal and color pencils sees further exploration of the move away from a monochromatic palette. The return to color has given my work a renewed sense of freedom. Experimenting on old plywood sheet I have worked more instinctively not using my usual direct references but drawing directly onto on the stained timber panels, carving and molding the surface. In the use of dreamlike symbolism and their shadowy illusion to global themes they follow in the tradition of early vanitas paintings. The sense of transience that is inherent in the symbols of vanitas has become more tangible in Traces.

The use of burnt timber in my painting and sculptures also has symbolic associations with many religions and cultures. Ash as used in Christian symbology and as fire is used by Aboriginal people to renew the landscape. Both leave a trace of ash as evidence of a transformative process. Globally the use of ash also hints at climate change, deforestation, urban renewal and connections to the ancient past when charcoal was first used to draw on cave walls. Working with organic matter, found objects, symbology or global themes Traces underlines the timeless connections that exist within cultures.

Photography @ Per Ericson