James Drinkwater

TESORO MIO

12 April — 30 April 2022

Born 1983
Lives and works in Newcastle

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Represented by nanda\hobbs

There is a warm cadence in James Drinkwater's voice as he describes his frequent sojourns to the coast with his family. Unshackled from the complexities of urban life, it is here that Drinkwater finds enormous joy, respite and inspiration from the natural environs. His love and appreciation of the land is palpable, and one cannot help but be swept up in his awe—imagining him lost in a wonderful stupor.

 

The Drinkwater family returns time and time again to visit a much-loved property they have affectionately dubbed “Tesoro”—a source of great inspiration to the artist. In his latest celebratory exhibition—Tesoro Mio, meaning My Treasure in Italian—the artist shares personal and familial histories; significant moments of giving to and receiving from the land. Tesoro Mio is the name lovingly given to all her grandchildren by Drinkwater’s nonna, whose impact on her family was profound. Instilling in her family an appreciation and respect for all around her, she would recount the story of having lost her late husband’s wedding ring in the garden and how, while tending to her vegetable patch some years later, it was miraculously found. Give and receive. Reap what you sow. When Drinkwater coincidentally lost his own wedding ring in the bush, he came to see it as his gift to the land. Now regaling this story to his children, Drinkwater has created his own mythology; conjuring images of his family sleepwalking in the forest under the glow of moonlight and scattering jewels on the soft forest floor, while singing ‘Tesoro, Tesoro,’⎯their gifts to the land. ‘One day’, he tells them, ‘One day, you’ll find my ring.’ There is an undeniable beauty to Drinkwater’s visual and aural storytelling and it is fantastical narratives like this that are so thoughtfully fused into the artist’s work.

 

At its heart, Drinkwater’s latest body of work speaks of our relationship with the land, his visual stories told from a very personal perspective. Since time immemorial, humankind has recognised that the earth nourishes us, both literally and spiritually. While we have a duty to honour the land, Drinkwater does not offer cautionary tales or preach about our obligations, rather, he simply encourages us to find joy and beauty in everything around us.

 

In his exhibition, Tesoro Mio, Drinkwater delves into abstraction; his swaths of colour burst with life and capture the artist’s palpable spirit. With his viscous and robust application of paint, each mark reflects a passage of time⎯a shared experience with those he holds dear. His masterfully composed series of gestures form an elegant ode to his loved ones. Laced with symbolism, motifs emerge from his canvas. Wheels from his children’s drawings roll their way into Drinkwater’s works acting as a reminder for us to slow down and appreciate all that is around us. Representations of shells collected locally by his family also feature in the artist’s works, acting as sentimental reminders of life’s simple pleasures. It is both this layered symbolism and his freedom of expression that inspires us as viewers. By offering a window into his world, Drinkwater presents painted articulations of what it means to be alive, to love and to be loved. 

 

This is not Drinkwater’s first foray into abstraction, having devoted his early years to it as a young painter, before later turning to figuration. Falling back into abstraction in recent years has allowed the artist the space to find pictorial solutions to life’s abstract conundrums. Inspired by iconic abstractionists such as William Scott, Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner, Drinkwater has developed his own unmistakeable voice. Mitchell believed that to express emotion, one must have an outside reference and for Drinkwater, like Mitchell, it is nature and landscapes that furnish the external reference in his works. In this exhibition, Drinkwater has drawn from memories on the land to express the joy and beauty in everyday life. Using colour with gusto, Drinkwater is on a mission to document the splendour around us, his works exhibiting what in Mitchell’s words are ‘the qualities which differentiate a line of poetry from a line of prose.’ 

 

Nicole Hauser

April 2022

\ Exhibition featured works

James Drinkwater

Around Golden Ears

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 168 x 198cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Feather these tender thoughts

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 138cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

In Thin Moments

2022 \ OIl on hardboard and ornate frame \ 71.5 x 58cm

HOLD

James Drinkwater

It's only a big green sea

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 138cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

It's only an entire day

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 168 x 198cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

It's only me

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 56 x 70cm

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach I

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 60.5 x 40cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach II

2022f \ Oil on hardboard \ 42 x 52cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach III

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 42 x 52cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach IV

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 60.5 x 40cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach IX

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 40.5 x 60cm

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach V

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 40 x 60.5cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach VI

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 60.5 x 40cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach VII

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 40.5 x 60cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach VIII

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 40.5 x 60cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach X

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 30.5 x 40cm

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach XI

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 30.5 x 40cm

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach XII

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 30.5 x 40cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach XIII

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 30.5 x 40cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Jimmy's Beach XIV

2022 \ Oil on hardboard \ 52.5 x 42cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Keep this sea shell

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 138cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Let light hit the contours

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 138cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Long tucked away

2022 \ Oil and charcoal on hardboard \ 104 x 122cm

James Drinkwater

May I ask you something

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 168 x 198cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro I

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro II

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro III

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro IV

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro Mio (Study)

2022 \ Oil on mirror and ornate frame \ 60 x 70cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro Mio

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 198 x 168cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro V

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro VI

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Tesoro VII

2022 \ OIl on linen \ 82 x 92cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

You Might Go Back

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 122 x 138cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Your world is ever new (study)

2022 \ Oil on hardboard and ornate frame \ 49 x 43.5cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

Your world is ever new

2022 \ Oil on linen \ 168 x 198cm

SOLD

James Drinkwater

\ Installation photo

James Drinkwater

\ Installation photo

James Drinkwater

\ Installation photo

James Drinkwater

\ Installation photo

James Drinkwater

\ Installation photo

\ Other exhibitions

Dee Smart

Suspended Embrace

29 September — 15 October 2022

Aaron Kinnane

Interlude

29 September — 15 October 2022

Sydney Contemporary

Caroline Zilinsky, Nicholas Blowers, Leslie Rice & David Fairbairn

7 September — 11 September 2022

Contact Us

to find out more about TESORO MIO.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm