James Powditch

The Proposition

18 October — 30 October 2021

Lives and works in Sydney

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Represented by nanda\hobbs

James Powditch is an artist that sees the world though his own unique personal codification. His practice—assemblage based, monumental and beautiful—is created with an alchemist’s hand. The artist weaves the detritus of our existence into something that has a direct connection to our collective psyche.  A bowerbird by nature, his studio is a mass of objects, patterns, images, collected over decades—waiting patiently to be recontextualised into an artwork. Their history and patina are real, faded and scuffed by an unforgiving world. 

The artist utilises the robustness of his materials to create two dimensional forms, yet, somehow they yield to his hand—wood is rendered an almost malleable form, melting over the picture plane. Repetition and collage—carefully selected to interact with a particular theme—introduces another layer of depth beyond the initial surface of the work. Although the exhibition has a powerful, dynamic feel, intricate moments abound throughout the show, drawing in the curious mind. 

The exhibition title, taken from the film The Proposition, introduces us to a body of work that has been drawn from the history of Australian cinema. He catalogues those celluloid monuments that have been fundamental in the shaping of the later part of the 20th century and beyond. When it comes to the artwork, it is difficult to discern which is the lead—the materiality is a powerful element, just as much as the title and theme. The resulting artworks are not homages to or replicas of films, rather, they are drawing from the same well. They touch on the sensibility of the film—the title of the artwork is a clue, not a directive, to understand and delve deeper. 

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a delicate work that speaks of wallpaper-clad Victorian drawing rooms and like the film, is deeply beautiful and eerie. Mad Max II is raw and masculine, emblematic of a generation of petrol-fuelled youth. Chopper— a powerful and crusader-like altarpiece holds court in the gallery, its ambiguity a clever reflection of Chopper Read himself. 

The uniqueness of Powditch as an artist is well recognised. Powditch is a multiple finalist in many of Australia’s significant art awards including the Archibald Prize. He is an artist who speaks his mind though his work and his social commentary. This exhibition delves into the moving anthology of cinema. We acknowledge what has come before, and what has informed and reflected our attitudes for generations. In doing so, we are able to construct and mould a collective and hopefully, just future.

Ralph Hobbs
October, 2021

Richard Morecroft talks to James Powditch about the process underlying his complex assemblage works and the influence of major Australian films on the works in The Proposition. Video courtesy: EXHIBITION with Richard Morecroft 4 July, 2021


Artist Talk—Ralph Hobbs in conversation with James Powditch | Saturday 23 October, 2–4pm (*RSVP essential)

Exhibition Drinks—James Powditch + Leslie Rice | Saturday 30 October, 1–4pm (*RSVP essential)

 

\ Exhibition featured works

James Powditch

Animal Kingdom

2021 \ Mixed media \ 110 x 110cm

James Powditch

Chopper

2021 \ Mixed media \ 267.5 x 163cm

James Powditch

Don's party

2021 \ Mixed media \ 74 x 54cm

James Powditch

Ground Zero

2020 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Improvisation I. (Two Hands)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 52 x 42cm

James Powditch

Improvisation II. (Two Hands)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 52 x 42cm

James Powditch

Improvisation III. (Two Hands)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 52 x 42cm

James Powditch

Jindabyne (Road Trip)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 120 x 190cm

James Powditch

Lantana

2021 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Mad Max

2020 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Metal Skin

2020 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

James Powditch

My Brilliant Career

2021 \ Mixed media \ 120 x 62cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Ned Kelly ( after Nolan and Jagger)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 105 x 66cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Newsfront

2021 \ Mixed media \ 174 x 294cm

James Powditch

Rabbit Proof Fence

2021 \ Mixed media \ 74 x 54cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Snow Town

2020 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Storm Boy

2021 \ Mixed media \ 118 x 108cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Sunday too far away

2019 \ Mixed media \ 183 x 130cm

James Powditch

The Boys

2021 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

James Powditch

The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith

2021 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

The Last Wave

2020 \ Mixed media \ 76 x 56cm

SOLD

James Powditch

Two Hands (after Jordon and Mondrian)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 74 x 54cm

SOLD

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

\ Installation Photo

James Powditch

dilation (picnic at hanging rock)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 120 x 180cm

James Powditch

empire (gallipoli)

2021 \ Mixed media \ 105 x 184cm

James Powditch

mad max II

2021 \ Mixed media \ 146 x 95cm

James Powditch

man of flowers

2021 \ Mixed media \ 110 x 69cm

James Powditch

storm boy II

2021 \ Mixed media \ 120 x 152cm Finalist \ 2021 Paddington Art Prize

James Powditch

the cars that ate paris

2021 \ Mixed media \ 109 x 109cm

James Powditch

the devils playground

2020 \ Mixed media \ 170 x 290cm

James Powditch

the proposition

2021 \ Mixed media \ 189 x 106cm

SOLD

James Powditch

wake in fright

2021 \ Mixed media \ 108 x 78cm

James Powditch

walkabout

2021 \ Mixed media \ 110 x 110cm

SOLD

\ Other exhibitions

Tony Mighell

salt.water.oil

1 December — 11 December 2021

Braddon Snape

Things are not as they appear (smoke and mirrors)

1 December — 11 December 2021

Marie Mansfield

AS IT IS

17 November — 27 November 2021

Contact Us

to find out more about The Proposition.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm COVID Safe Check-in: As part of the Nanda\Hobbs COVID safety plan, all visitors to the gallery must sign in via the Service NSW QR code.