James Drinkwater

Looking for Urchins and Louis Ferrari

9 October — 3 November 2018

Born 1983
Lives and works in Newcastle

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Represented by nanda\hobbs

James Makes Pictures (A Monster Without Fins)

James Makes Pictures might sound a little flippant a title for a piece of writing; a man describing what another man does for a living to a second party. Nonetheless, I am sticking with it. 

I am looking at The Bulker Wades Past the Peninsula and So We Jubilate; the picture is brown. Well mainly brown. There is a square in the left bottom corner. To the right, there are golden lines; yellow, orange—of a tone that makes one think of a sun either rising in the mind or setting in thought—a tangential link to the actual world.  This is not a photograph. It has not been taken. This picture has been made, built. The picture plane has a surface that threatens to move but does not. I am looking at these lines, they could be coordinates, or an architectural sketch: lines designating a structure for a building that could be a home. They are certain. They make me think of the boxes that Francis Bacon used to place his figures in. They were like his little cages of torment. Or rather, they were places that he could observe the torment of existence in isolation, outside the run of time. In these boxes, Bacon’s figures sometimes screamed, other times they laughed, cruelly. Sallust, a historian of the Roman Republic wrote, “Only a few prefer liberty—the majority seek nothing more than fair masters”. This idea terrifies me.

I have never used the word “jubilate”. Never written it out, or said it aloud. Not once before now. James uses it three times in this show—The Bulker Wades Past the Peninsula and So We Jubilate 1 and 2. And, again, in The Girl Sleeps in the Doctor’s Clothes, We Jubilate in the Rain.

When the Pasha Bulker ran aground in Newcastle in June 2007, the people of Newcastle indeed did jubilate. As if summoned by Ariel, this large tanker with a crew of 22, came through the fog and nestled itself up upon Nobbys Beach, a little embarrassed, a little afraid. The ship was empty of the coal it was meant to hold, as if it was conscious that it would be soon the container of not quite concrete romantic projections, a surrogate of dreams, and the producer of the most minor of economic booms.

Nobody died. And there was no environmental catastrophe. So, far from another tragedy to hang on the weary shoulders of this town, a big ship appeared to come from nowhere. It was stuck for a bit, and then it was towed back home by a super-tug called Koyo Maru. This is a story—the substance of myth.

We can look back at this ship fondly. We can miss it. The space it once occupied now emptier than before.

And so, in The Bulker Wades Past the Peninsula and So We Jubilate, I can see a ship, I can see fog, I can see hopes clouded with the disappointment and sadness of leaving. I can see jubilation.

And then, “Thomas sat by the sea”, or so starts Maurice Blanchot’s strange little book Thomas the Obscure.  “The fog hid the shore. A cloud had come down upon the sea and the surface was lost in a glow, which seemed the only real thing.”

In his opening chapter, Blanchot describes a kaleidoscope of sensation, thinking and fear. In it, the eponymous Thomas loses the delineation between his skin, his being and the sea. Describing himself as a “monster without fins”, Thomas blends with the water within which he swims and he almost drowns.

The Sea Calls Me by Name conjures a similar sensation. There is a coastline, a figure flailing, and an ocean seeking to merge with them. There is desire, desperation and joy in this picture. The figure is substantiated by a series of patterns: a green slash, a black charcoal ash of a circle, a cross hatching that makes me think of a memory of a cane chair. 

This painting is not a portrait, nor is it a landscape. Rather, it is both. It is a picture of a being and a place who cares not for the separation between subject-hood and object-hood. Like many of the works in Looking for Urchins and Louis Ferrari, it is a picture of a monster without fins: all sensation, fear and jubilation.

 [1] I remember this great line from '30 Rock' when Alex Baldwin’s character says “never go to the second party with a hippie.” Great advice.

Todd McMillan
October 2018

 

James Drinkwater | Looking For Urchins and Louis Ferrari from Sophie Hobbs on Vimeo.

\ Exhibition featured works

James Drinkwater

A single sun over the fort

2018 \ Oil and enamel on perspex and ornate frame \ 170x70cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Along Stevenson Place

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

An Italian Son

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

And Now I'm Here

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Arriving in the East End

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Boy with bird and hand scythe

2018 \ Found object sculpture \ 250x170x86cm

James Drinkwater

Captain and Australian Salmon (Study)

2018 \ Mixed media on paper \ 70.5x55.5cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Cleaning fish and preparing urchins

2018 \ Oil on canvas and Antique frame \ 61x80cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Girl in Park Under the Fort

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

James Drinkwater

Girl under the fort (study)

2018 \ Found wood, metal, object and oil paint \ 232x114x71cm

James Drinkwater

Girl with Working Harbour

2008 \ Oil on Canvas \ 70 x 100cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Girl with industry

2018 \ Oil on mirror \ 71x91cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Gloomy Day at the Beach with Industry

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 82x100cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

In pools we find

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 76x90cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Looking for Urchins and Louis Ferrari

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240 x 180cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Painter's Notes to the Sea Monsters with no fins

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Sea Monsters with no fins

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

James Drinkwater

Table Setting 1

2018 \ Oil on board \ 90.5x90cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Table Setting 2

2018 \ Oil on board \ 90.5x90cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Table setting for Dr Louis ferrari

2018 \ Construction painting \ 70x90cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The Bulker Wades Past the Peninsula and So We Jubilate 2

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The Bulker wades Past the Peninisula and so we Jubilate

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240 x 180cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The Cowrie Hole (Study)

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 61x90cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The Girl

2018 \ Corten Steel \ 196x123x81cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The Girl Sleeps in the Doctors Clothes, So we Jubilate our in the Rain

2018 \ Oil on Canvas \ 240 x 180cm

James Drinkwater

The Pointing Girl

2018 \ Oil on mirror and ornate frame \ 54x64cm

James Drinkwater

The Sea Calls Me by Name

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

James Drinkwater

The boy

2018 \ Corten Steel \ 216x95x84cm

James Drinkwater

The captain with Australian salmon

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

The girl at the waters edge

2018 \ Corten Steel \ 164x123x81cm

James Drinkwater

The hospital ship manunda and portrait of the artist's father

2018 \ Construction painting \ 110x85cm

James Drinkwater

The most fascinating person i know

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 200x140cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Urchin detail

2018 \ Oil on mirror and ornate frame \ 63x74cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

White Gulls into Black

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

With Warm Brass the Harbour Wakes

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 240x180cm

James Drinkwater

a series of calendars and urchins

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 124x100cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

night swim in the sea baths

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 96x99cm

SOLD

\ Other exhibitions

Summer Show

Group Exhibition

5 December — 22 December 2018

Jun Chen

New Spring

8 November — 24 November 2018

Sydney Contemporary Stand D05

Giles Alexander, Dianne Gall, Jonathan Dalton & Stuart McLachlan

13 September — 16 September 2018

Contact Us

to find out more about Looking for Urchins and Louis Ferrari.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday 11am - 4pm Saturday Christmas dates: Please note the gallery will be closed from 4pm on Saturday 22 December. We reopen at 9am on Wednesday, 9 January 2019.