November 2014: John Mayo & Mike Southern
Mike Southern is an painter whose work has evolved from black & white etchings to large full scale oil paintings. He has also moved from landscape etchings to landscape oils with figurative element. Mike says it best “The introduction of the figures is a new development but it is part of the same investigation into finding our place within the world. The old mythology and religious paintings of the Renaissance and Baroque are a huge inspiration for this work. The figure in the landscape inherently alludes to narrative. I view the characters depicted in this body of work as players in a new mythology. At their heart, these new images are an attempt to sort through our relationship to the land, to the world and to each other. That has always been the crux of my art-making.”
John Mayo works in bronze. The body of work that he is exploring is partially based on his experience as an artist-in-resident in Western Australia. During that international residency he worked alongside marine archeologists and conservators looking at the wrecks and remnants of Dutch spice traders that tragically wrecked on the west Australian coast in the 1600’s. “Artifacts held in the sea for 300 years are very powerful to me. They are full of meaning and story but often we can only guess about the very real lives and stories that were fatally intertwined with these objects. Bronze is a powerful material for these sculptures as it is both inherently valuable and the best preserved man-made material in the sea over time.” Some of these bronze sculptures represent fantasy artifacts imbued with a secret story and meaning. In other cases he is exploring the vernacular of ship design and the culture of exploration.