“For me painting is an unfathomable process of the heart and I trust my intuition to lift me to where logic can’t go.” – Warwick Fuller
This “process of the heart” has lifted Warwick Fuller to career high after career high with seemingly unstoppable momentum. Now a full-time plein-air painter for over 40 years, with more than sixty solo exhibitions and countless awards and accolades to his name, his work is in high demand, and from an uncommonly large and varied demographic. He can count among his supporters His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, for whom he recently served as Official Tour Artist for not the first, but the third, time.
Fuller’s 2018 exhibition at Lost Bear Gallery includes works painted during the Royal Tour of Australia, which began at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, then continued north, including Cairns and Arnhem Land, before finishing in Darwin. This is a job with perks: open-door helicopter rides, tours of environmental initiatives and a traditional welcome to country by local Yolngu leaders. Four of Fuller’s paintings from this year’s tour were acquired by the Royal couple, bringing the total of their collection to fourteen. The Northern Territory Government House also acquired one work painted on site.
Included in the exhibition are works from his five-week painting tour of England, Scotland, Switzerland and Italy, which he embarked upon in May 2018, following his biennial solo exhibition in London. A residency at the Royal Drawing School Studio on the Dumfries House Estate in Scotland was a highlight of this trip, with Dumfries House acquiring one of the paintings completed during his stay.
Additionally, the exhibition at Lost Bear Gallery contains works from around the Blue Mountains, such as Quietude at Day’s End, painted in Mount Victoria looking towards the Kanimbla Valley. The unmistakable blue that gives the area its name is captured with a skill that shows it to us afresh, with such elevated visual sensation that not only one’s emotions, but one’s other senses, are also awakened. Looking at Fuller’s works is a fully immersive, sensory experience. Anyone who has visited the Blue Mountains will know the beauty that stuns you into awestruck silence. When Fuller paints it, you experience not only this sense of the sublime in nature, but also something greater, for we not only get to worship at nature’s altar but at our own, at the magnitude of human capability.
Spring in the Swiss Alps, Sion, like the other overseas works in the exhibition, demonstrates the full scope of Fuller’s talent. Not only has he mastered the rendering of the Australian atmosphere, but his brush can capture with equal deftness the wholly different light of Europe. Almost monochromatic, the simplicity of the colour scheme heightens the visual power. There is a heaviness to Fuller’s paintings that has nothing to do with their physical weight, and is due, perhaps, to their containment of dual realities: the mountains, made anew in paint with loose, confident brushstrokes, seem simultaneously made of ancient rock. Not every depiction of a landscape achieves this. It stems from a long-honed and intuitive skill that frees him to paint not a rock, a patch of snow, a cloud: he paints the whole scene before him, as one vital, interconnected thing, as one vital, interconnected being. Like all timeless art, Fuller’s paintings seem to pulse with their own life-force.
Figurative painting is often dismissed as mere mimicry, but Fuller’s works stand in defiance of this, having more of genesis in them than imitation. In our time of visual over-saturation and thus dilution, his acts of creation with paint and canvas remind us of the true potency of the visual.
Warwick Fuller’s exhibition is currently showing at Lost Bear Gallery, Katoomba. More details here.