Jon Cattapan first began exhibiting in 1979 and his works deal primarily with ways of representing urban topographies and narratives. He is known for panoramic layered city vistas and figurative groupings and has a long held preoccupation for the way human beings negotiate territories. Within his paintings, drawings and prints we see influences of contemporary global culture and recent history that range from science fiction and film through to urban social debates.
In 2006 he was honoured with a major retrospective ‘The Drowned World: Jon Cattapan works and collaborations’, at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. In 2008 he took up a commission through the Australian War Memorial to become Australia’s 63rd Official war artist and was deployed to Timor Leste, where he explored Night Vision technology as an aesthetic tool, which continues to inform his work. In his most recent work the artist has been documenting urban refuse and reconfigures collections of discarded objects into ‘rafts’. He turns to saturated fields of colour and these gathered objects to explore uncanny presences in the urban environment. Cattapan’s works can be found in the collections of all Australian State museums and many regional galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His work is also held in major private and corporate collections. In 2013 Cattapan was the recipient of the $80,000 Bulgari Art Award.