‘A Bucolic Altarpiece’, 2021, oil & beeswax on linen, 120 x 236 cm overall
Philip Wolfhagen is one of Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary landscape painters. He creates images that are mysterious and sombre in mood, produced with thickly applied paint. They are inspired by the atmospheric landscape of northern Tasmania and the emotive qualities of light and weather. The son of a woolgrower, he grew up in the Tasmanian Midlands. Wolfhagen studied at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart, from1983 to 1987, and at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in 1990. His art frequently makes reference to the work of John Constable, seeking to transpose Constable’s oil sketches into a contemporary idiom. Like Constable, he paints places he knows best, a landscape that is personal, a landscape near his home.
Wolfhagen is an artist of conviction. He seeks the immutable qualities in landscape, those elements to which human beings seem evolved to respond to emotionally. In doing so, he creates works of art that impress deeply in our minds.
Philip Wolfhagen: “My annual exhibition schedule always coincides with lambing on our small farm. Spring is a tempestuous season in Tasmania, so I am often distracted by the weather. Intense bouts of painting are interrupted by animal husbandry tasks, ushering newborn lambs into the shed for shelter. I seem to have taken the concept of the ‘Pastoral’ very much to heart, so much so that the paintings are a true testament to my daily experience.”
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