‘Masked Group (Duo) XXI’ was was included in Jon Cattapan’s 2014 solo show ‘I’ll be your mirror’. It is from a series of monotypes produced in response to his Italian sojourn in early 2014 as the recipient of the prestigious Bulgari Art award. In this intense figurative series, the artist uses photographs of the Venetian Carnivale as a starting point, adapting from them the various psychologies of chance masked encounters. Here he also returns to one of his other great themes – how humans claim territory.
There is a mystery to these groupings and to their purpose of gathering; these open narratives allude gently to the darker potentialities of contemporary life.
Cattapan is one of Australia’s most recognisable and well-respected painters, receiving awards such as the Bulgari Art Award and commissions including the Australian War Memorial’s 63rd Official war artist. He was deployed to Timor Leste, where he explored Night Vision technology as an aesthetic tool in his paintings. His major retrospective ‘The Drowned World’ was held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art and he was the Director of the Victorian College of the Arts until 2019. His 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 in Queensland and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.