Tony Sweeting

 

I was born in Sydney and I grew up in Canberra where I was educated and spent most of my life.  I had a career in the Government before running a minor construction and repairs business.  I completed various art courses including Botanical Drawing, life drawing, water colour, bronze casting, sculpture and etching and then full time study at the Australian National University National Institute of the Arts, (1998 – 2001).  I graduated BA (Vis) Hons  in 2002 majoring in painting.

 

I have had a couple of solo exhibitions since graduating, participated in several joint exhibitions in Canberra Bega and Sydney and been hung in numerous general exhibitions.  I enjoyed helping with curating the annual Wyndham Art Show for several years.

 

After graduation  I received funding assistance from the ACT Arts Funding Program for emerging artists, a couple of people’s choice awards and several acquisitive awards.

 

I have paintings in collections of the ANU Drill Hall Gallery and John XXIII College and have completed a number of commissions including illustration of a children’s book and large scenery backdrops for several ballet performances.

 

In 2002 we moved to a remote 200 acre farm at Rocky Hall in the south east of NSW, surrounded by inspiring views, National Parks and forests, a beautiful kilometer of river frontage, majestic granite formations, and immense native fig trees and more nature. The idea was to live in the Country growing organic fruit and vegetables raising animals (cows and sheep) and making art.   The farm also had a log cabin that could be used for a studio, with a bit of reconstruction of course.  We built a gallery and studio complex but mostly worked on the farm, attending to water problems and looking after the gardens and infrastructure.  Whenever possible after that I painted, did sculpting and printing.

 

In March 2017 we sold up at Rocky Hall and moved to a two acre property in one of the original areas of the  Tura Beach development where we are about to build a studio.

 

Concept for Molecular Landscapes

I have always been interested in nature, its form, symmetry and intricacies and I have a suspicion that these forms have an influence on the psyche.  I think that there is inherent knowledge in each of us of symmetry, caves, holes, shiny slime, cobwebs, mist, wetness, velvety surfaces etc and this comes from experiences where we were safe, that we have had during our evolution.   My idea is that there is therefore a “primal instinct” in each of us for shapes, patterns and forms and that the viewer’s recognition originates below the normal visual surface, at the molecular level.  My works are part of a continuation of this investigation and an effort to trigger the viewer’s sub-conscious memory for these forms, shapes and patterns.   The marks and patterns are blown around, struck, washed, rubbed out, reapplied, like perhaps our environment is created by nature herself.

 

As I further my investigation into the parts of these intricate structures I am finding that the same patterns and forms and structures are appearing over and over in many different biological life forms.  From the cell itself, to seeds and eggs, to minute creatures, to leaves, flowers and plants themselves, microscopic form, dew, cobwebs, insects, plankton, shells, fungi, moss, decaying surfaces, rust, etc.  Even in rock and crystalline structures in nature there are similar patterns and structures appearing to me.   The smaller form often reveals itself in the larger.  Viewed as a whole though, often the beauty can be missed or appears chaotic but the smaller part of the whole is often delightfully beautiful.  Fragments and cellular structures reflect larger biological forms which in turn represent larger familiar forms.

I refer to these as molecular landscapes.

I have been developing these into slightly surreal landscapes based on land forms around us and allowing the subconscious to colour and fill the work.  This has led to the further exploration of detailed structure of some minute organisms.  I was fortunate to collaborate with dance artists and musicians in the production of an ecological performance event for the CSIRO DANscience Festival in August 2013 in Canberra. We projected images of my paintings to integrate with the dance performance.   This awakened the possibilities for a multimedia entry which won the 2013 Bega Art Prize.

Outside of this I worked as a behind the scenes artist for a local area feature film that was recently produced.

I have also been investigating and interpreting some of the natural molecular forms around us into sculptural pieces.

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