John Giese

Beyond The Known

August 17 - August 31 2013

"The more civilized a man is, the less he is able to follow his instincts." Carl G Jung

Through weathered, Asiatic wooden portals the unsealed track leads over cattle grids and grassy tussocks and winds uphill to the converted shed that is John Giese's light filled studio in rural Bangalow. Seated on a sofa draped in a deep red coverlet, we listen to him describe the stimulus behind the stylistic variations in the paintings he places, one at a time, on the white wall before us.

Giese explains that the new works began as a kind of self-inquiry that necessitated a letting go of all preconceived notions and a de-conditioning of the eye and brain, "It was paramount that I experienced a direct energy engagement with the work. It's about honesty and an awareness of infinity; the expression of a more than two dimensional perception of reality." The impulse toward wholeness increasingly motivates Giese's approach to making art. His thoughts and processes echo the wisdom of eastern mystics who realised that reality is not fixed but is a ceaselessly moving pattern where nothing is permanent. Giese's art endeavours to articulate the consciousness of his own ever-fluctuating sense of being. A challenge indeed! "It's like, how does one begin to define or express the feel of water?" he muses.

In a ‘stream of consciousness' that is allowed free reign in paint across his canvases, Giese maps the flow of elemental forms and primal surges that are the dance of life, "I need to create a presence that is rhythmic and fundamental, one that exists beyond conditioned responses." The familiar totemic bulls and dogs, along with horses, birds and unexpected, female visages coiffed in symbol-teeming headdresses are present. "Like the bower bird, the human psyche is a collector," he offers. A sense of immediacy and raw intensity permeates the larger canvases as evidenced in the far looser, more intuitive application of paint. Spontaneous markmaking, accidental drips, splatters and impulsive erasures determine their outcome. The instinctual manifests unfettered by learnt formal considerations. "Like the mandala which represents the universal life force, there are forms behind the forms. The shapes and vivid colours exist to arrest attention and draw the viewer into the immersive context of the work," says Giese. "Natural forms are integrated into figurative forms: sun, earth, water, the starry realms above, below, within and without coexist simultaneously to express the unified field of experience."

In complete contrast to the shifting, metaphysical ambience of Giese's paintings stands the sculpture Dreamcatcher. Hewn from great blocks of wood that have been dowelled together, a multi-hued bull is thoroughly grounded in corporeal majesty. Massive shouldered and with an uplifted head crowned by gold-leafed horns, he is the paragon of generative power. "The animals are metaphors for human states of being and our journey through life," Giese discloses. "My works address issues of freedom and presence. I want them to have an emotional impact on the viewer; to make them feel they are witnessing something rare and very authentic."

John Giese holds a Fine Art Graduate Diploma, Lismore TAFE and has presented numerous solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and the Northern Rivers region. He is a regular finalist in local art prizes, winning the works on canvas prize at the Southern Cross Art Festival, 2006 and has been awarded several Public Art Commissions.


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