Release Date: 1st of October 2023
- ISBN 979-8-89184-596-1 Supplement to: The Art Of Don Hill Contemporary Works 2002 To 2006Foreword
When I was young I grew up surrounded by Colour.
This became my life from an early age and not at least starting to meet artists from around Australia thanks to the insistence and encouragement of my mother.Life was hard for our family as my father was a Coal Miner and mum was stay at home.In those days we had a limited lifestyle but my family survived and we lived in our own house in Ipswich.
Eventually I started to grasp the concept of using colour as a palette and fell in love with it.
I didn’t have any concept or interest in composition as it complicated things with the constraints of placement in a confined area.
Spontaneity was what I was interested in and still am.
So this is me. I cannot be anyone else as I trod on in this life and path and now writing for me has become a way to Catalogue and Survey works which may have sold, been stored or met with accidents and possible over painting.
The works from twenty years ago still hold currency even though they are mostly gone they are still acceptable today and with these new writings and this new book it becomes a supplement to“The Art of Don Hill, Contemporary Works 2002 to 2006.
Making works out of organic materials represents an idea of sustainability and although collection does not always go as planned it is a way to use products from Nature rather
than from a manufacturing factory.
The concept and idea may seem insignificant in the broader scale of planet Earth’s survival but it still represents an effort to turn the inevitable tide.
Although it has been many years my interest in Bamboo began in the early 2000's and although I cannot recall how this happened it may have come from reading an article about a couple who started a bamboo plantation in Northern New South Wales and were selling the shoots to restaurants.
Since 2015 I have been growing the Culms in Ipswich, Minden and North Thailand.
So this twist in the road is a departure away from the photographic work that I am known for.
I had been hoping to travel to some of the sub Antarctic Islands to continue my Micro Scapes but because of the Lockdowns during Covid and current circumstances this hasn't happened yet.
These new pieces are a refreshing change although they still has direct involvement with the sea and marine environs.
There is always something underlying that needs to be expressed and discussed especially when environmental issues are involved.
My photographic work on Micro Depictions of the landscape is still ongoing and developing.
I enjoy it.
The use gold leaf in the works is fundamental as it captures the beauty of moments, while other aspects show a persistence and other outside influences that became part of wanderings in the mid 1990's and earlier.
While the works are non objective each piece tells a story.
Perhaps of the past or the present.
One of the characteristic pieces titled "Night Watch” is composed of Bamboo Culm and has a three dimensional effect.
Its organic origin lends to the composition as well as painted aspects of this piece.
Undercurrent is a compulsion to create and become a story.
This ideal has no need to be sought. It happens.
It arrives and drives the participant to a further end and a new beginning..
The approach may seem unconventional and at times eccentric but this is what it should be made of not a preconceived concept derived from sketching or preplanning or any convention that is driven into our psyche during any process.
Don Hill 2023"Undercurrent'
Oil and Acrylic Paint on Box Board Stretcher with Gold leaf, Banana and Bamboo Fibre. 122x81.5cm"Look up to the Stars'
Oil and Acrylic paint on Box Board Stretcher 120 x 80cm 2023
A dream that came to me when I night dived at Flinders Reef Moreton Bay almost thirty years ago with Phil Feldman. As I looked upwards to the surface I could see the coloured fish in my torch lights and the movement of the back water from the reef stretch out in front of me with incredible vis and the shadows of the black abyss and sharks."Between the Wave'
Oil and Acrylic Paint on Box Board Stretcher with Gold leaf, Bamboo. 81.5cm x 61.5
This painting represents the displacement of our lives with the currents flowing through them in times of uncertainty which are like the oceans. Unpredictable. Some moving with us and some moving in opposite directions. This work gave me direction on how to deal with recent events and keep going. Max Gimblett and Guy Warren gave me a purpose to continue."Moveable Bamboo Assemblage'
The pieces can be rearranged to make new compositions. Acrylic Paint and Gold Leaf on Bamboo Culm. No Set Size 2023.Substance and Substrates
As one looks at the works a reaction is evoked.
It speaks Sustainable involvement in his art, as well as of method and process.
The works exhibit the complexity of his psyche and also something that questions what is happening in our times, in our lives.
Is art or what humans are doing at present actually sustainable or just something that sounds good.
His work sometimes shows a nervous approach in which there are instances of some uncertainty for a person with his experience.
This should not be the case as there is an honesty in the works with no preoccupation with the arrangements where colour has been
used unrestrained like flying prayer flags in the Loh Manthang morning Sun.
The abstractions beg examination as they are abstractions which express themselves so the viewer becomes aware that they
can be described as tactile interpretations of his life.
Overall as the process proceeds the arranged pieces may be moved, replaced or begun again.
This is the way of the world.
In this role of things that are or may be important in the works the substrate becomes an integral part of the puzzle which relates to his past
and the contact with sand, salt and water as well as the creatures that dwell in it.
Where does it come from? How is it collected? How is it is used? What is the end result? How will it be interpreted?
The delicate application of pigment directly onto the substrate material shows an empathy with process and Nature which others would find hard to replicate.
The pieces can be described as tribal primitive although do not relate to any one group as they are purely abstract.
If they do it is with the Abstract Expressionists of New York and the works of Paul Klee although he does not pursue any of these practitioners.
He states “It would be wonderful if Paul was still here so we could learn from him but this is not possible.” “So I rely on past words and directions
of Frank Di Silva and Arthur Evan Read to encourage me along this untrodden road that is me.’
There is no procrastination with his or this process. Just persistent spontaneity.
He learnt this many years ago as Frank drummed it into him and it has stayed for all these years.
When he has enough and enough material he uses it so that there is an outcome from this method.
Whether it is down at the waters edge to drink something fresh, by the sea or at a desert beach on location he inhales and breathes it out onto
the flat surface filled with found substrate.
There is something about the entrapment of some of the pieces in which we need to look beyond the obvious to
see what lies in between in our Undercurrent.
In this way we can re purpose discarded items to produce Objects De Art and continue our lives.
His aesthetic seems to be guided by something beyond thought with a direct connection to environment and a need to gather tubes of colour to decorate and embellish.
Paul Ching-Bor 2023
Written Contributions by American and Australian Artist, Water Colourist Painter Paul Ching-Bor
Paul Ching-Bor studied fine art at Guangzhou Fine Art University (China)
and Jing De Zhen Ceramic Institute (China).
2013 New Jersey State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship awarded in the discipline of Painting, by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts
2000 The Allied Artists of America 2000 Gold Medal of Honor Greg G. Thielen Memorial Award
1999 Watercolor USA 1999 Cash Award Prize
1998 The Allied Artists of America 1998 Silver Medal of Honor
1997 The Allied Artists of America 1997 Gold Medal of Honor; Newington Award for Best Painting, American Artists Professional League Annual ExhibitionUndercurrent (Further Reading)
Article by Nittaya Inphirut
The application of raw colour and the choice of substrates is critical to the works and makes a seduction of the mind and message to the viewer to take note and interest in them regardless where they came from or what they are about.
Watching the process is also part of the experience of how the works are (manufactured) and thought out as well as put together).
Composition is important but at no time does Hill set out to place items in any particular sequence.
He states that he had past that point many years ago and had no further need or interest to think about composition.
“This was no longer a consideration and when one continually considers it they stumble along the way without result’.
One of the new works “Look up to the Stars’ describes a Night Dive adventure into the Thermoclines of Flinders Reef off Cape Moreton.
There in the dark it was an unknown quantity of what would be encountered with an expectation that any contact would be with brightly coloured fish.
The water is exceptionally clear here with visibility up to and more than 30 metres.
His visual encounter is one of looking up to the surface and past the small swell of the Moonlit night.
The running current here comes directly off the Continental Shelf heading South to the inner shore of Moreton Island over Comboyuno and down over the wrecks.
His treatment of this piece shows ribbons of colour with a bright Cobalt and Ultramarine background.
Many years ago as a wanderer he would stay in one location until he became restless and moved on.
He muses his time spent at Clump Point watching the guardian Manta Ray glide up and down the length of the beach in its’s quest for food. “I could relate to it and I felt the same way.’ “Hungry’
At that time it was a life with no time line or schedule.
“In some ways its fortunate that I have lived like this so I can describe my experiences with a painted surface instead of being a prisoner in the Undercurrent that we dwell in.
Don Hill is a passive environmental activist who has been involved in the Australian Art Industry for many years.
He is an Art and Creative Director living in South East Queensland and also Thailand.
Don acknowledges the help of his associates in the production and design of this site as well as the help with the production of his books and writings, a special thanks to his site development associates.
Thanks also to my colleagues Robert Dunsmore, Jun Han, Kev MPFA, John Dahlsen, Yuliana Kusumastuti, Nittaya Inphirut, Brent Harvey, Paul Ching-Bor, Michael Fox, Felicity Mason and also Lyn Williams (Widow) of Australian Artist Fred Williams.
Please note: Don Hill does not paint Horses. This Genre belongs to a New Zealand artist using the same name.