These paintings were made between 2007 and 2012 as a continued response to my local environment.
I remember saying in interviews with the media during the late 90’s, that I hoped that one day I would see less and less litter washing up on our beaches, so that quite naturally my work would find a new direction. This has now happened – on a local level at least. The situation on a global level has worsened considerably.
After more than 15 years of collecting beach found objects and subsequently making art out of them, I naturally came now to a new form of expression, which was brought on significantly as a result of the decrease in litter either washing up or being left behind on our beaches, as well as a result of my purge painting series and exploration.
Painting the Byron Bay local seascapes and landscapes, mostly images seen by me on my daily walk around the lighthouse and beaches, have beenpainted somewhat with a sense of urgency, due to my ever growing concerns about global warming and its impact.
Comments have been passed on to the artist by fellow artists that they feel he represents the landscape with a post modern flavour to reflect our disconnection with it.
The viewer can see these works have a certain unmistakable mood within each piece, which has been written about by Dr Jacqueline Millner from the University of Western Sydney:
“This play between abstraction and figuration, between synthetic/organic matter and immateriality in the purge paintings, has been applied in Dahlsen’s most recent works to landscapes — dark works whose subtle references to environmental degradation all but disappear before forcefully catching you unawares.
This tension between inorganic abstraction and emotionally charged organism lends these works particular resonance, given their inception in the politics of environmental art. They play out, in elegant and economical aesthetics, the unstable boundaries between the natural and the artificial, reminding us of Wendell Berry’s paradox that ‘the only thing we have to preserve nature with is culture; the only thing we have to preserve wildness with is domesticity’
Steven Alderton in his Artspeak column in The Northern Star, went on to say about the new work: John has been working on a very successful new body of work that extends from his previous enviro sculptures into paintings. They are of the places he has collected detritus for his sculptures. The subject matter also happens to be Byron Bay, a place of infinite beauty and great affection.