CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN ART
View all work by JAMES WILLEBRANT
Exhibited at Soho Galleries
though I have been living and painting in the Blue Mountains for the last few
decades, my fascination with Australias Eastern Seaboard and its iconic
architectural beauty springs from my teenage years living in Sydneys North and
being an avid surfer and later, extensively travelling the East Coast playing
in rock and roll bands.
Art Deco Bathing Pavilions, Surf Clubs and Ocean Baths have been a constant
motif and preoccupation in my work.
sharply defined style aims to not only capture something
about the Australian experience of landscape - how we impose ourselves upon
it, how we exist in it, but to also explore how our intense antipodean light
illuminates and dominates that whole experience.
JAMES WILLEBRANT graduated from The National Art School
in 1972 being awarded the National Art School Painting prize in 1970 and 1972
While at The National Art School Willebrant had already established his unique
vision and in 1973 was encouraged by fellow artist and Mentor Charles Blackman
to mount his first Exhibition at Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane.
This seminal exhibition was enthusiastically received by the public and began a
successful career as a professional painter, which has spanned 36 years and
over 70 exhibitions throughout Australia and Overseas.
His work features in major Private, Public and Corporate Collections which
include The National Galleries of Victoria, NSW and Queensland, Many Regional
Galleries, Parliament House Collection, Australia-Japan Trade Commission,
Sydney Theatre Company, Qantas,The Australian Embassy-Tokyo, Artbank,
Australian Stock Exchange, The Deutsche Bank and several Major University
In the mid 1970s James Willebrant became part of the exiting evolution of the
art scene in Australia showing his work at The Australian Galleries in
Melbourne and with The Kym Bonython Gallery in Sydney. These two galleries in
particular were at the forefront of the revolution that supported a new
generation of Australian artists and captured the imagination of the Australian
public. Willebrant and contemporaries like Brett Whiteley, Tim Storrier, John
Coburn, Martin Sharpe and John Firth-Smith continued to redefine, explore and
celebrate the Australian Experience as their precursors such as Streeton,
Dobell, Tucker, Drysdale and Nolan had done.
James Willebrants style has been variously described as Surreal,
Pop-Art and even Existentialist but no label can adequately encompass or define
the subtleties of this artistis unique work He paints the Australian landscape
and captures its amazing light He celebrates popular Australian cultureHe
paints the Human Being in this landscape and as we look at his everyman-everywoman
figures caught in a particular moment of Being we are brought back to some deep
personal recognition, emotion or memory. Such a response needs no label, no
critical thesis. It just is.. the essence of Good Art.
It provokes, it stimulates, it celebrates and it intimates something about our
essence, which is beyond words.
In 1986 James Willebrant moved from Balmain to The Blue Mountains seeking new
horizons both literally and figuratively. The physically beautiful and at times
spiritually challenging atmosphere of the mountains saw his work expand both
thematically and stylistically.