Archibald finalist 2013
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Self Portrait - Morning Bay
All elements of my self portrait - morning bay , are some way could be seen to be representations of who I am : the owl, the mangrove tree, the instrument and the figures resting on the tree branch.
I can not remove myself from my sense of place, so no self portrait is just going to be a big head !
I have grown into a river painter. When i start a painting i never really know what it is 'about'. Each work is an exploration of my emotional world - sometimes these can have a dark quality, a foreboding, but at times they can also be incredibly playful!
The instrument describes a connection between science and nature, the melody that science played, surprisingly, in my own life, when trying to have children.
The owl, the tree, the instrument are incredibly potent energies in my work over time, but they also change, they shift in their meaning. Just as the mangrove tree seeks stability in the mud.
In the figures - there is a sense of myself as a developed creative force, but also a version of my young self, holding a brass bell, which is my link to the melodic, the creative: a very vulnerable form.
On either side are two mysterious forms, which are probably my children. I didn't consciously set out to include them in a self portrait. But maybe they're so powerful that they decided for me!
Wynne finalist 2013
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Yeoman's Bay - carved board with oil and cane
Yeoman's Bay - Hawkesbury River
for many years i have painted in yeoman's bay , in the ku-ring-gai national park.
I find solace in this landscape - its very much like being in a temple of ancient boulders.
Inside the rocks are eroded sandstone forms, shapes of animals and the lapping flux of the tide.
ART HOUSE GALLERY
There is a graphic intensity to Josh Yeldhams latest works that is rarely if ever seen in contemporary art. This is the work of both an obsessive artisan and a potent visionary. This is the stuff of dreams made solid, carved impeccably, stroke by miniscule stroke, tethering the smoky regions of memory and mind onto a solid surface.
Each of us will see out own dreams here. We will try and grapple with why these images seem so immediately recognisable and then realise we have never seen them before outside of somnambulistic flights of fantasy. We will think of the iconography of Eastern mysticism only to realise that this is a ruse it may be an influence but these images are very much Yeldhams own.
For quite a time mysticism was a dirty word in contemporary (postmodern) culture. It was the stuff of perhaps misguided 60s pseudo revolution. But, world-wide, we see a re-emergence of considerations of spirituality. We see it here in Australia in the contemporary artworks of such artists as Tim Johnson and Peter Daverington. And, with the threat of environmental meltdown, we see a reconsideration of nature as a potent force.
Yeldhams works have long been an exploration of his immediate environment. He has an eagle-eye for detail. Each blade of swamp grass is recorded in memory and transported back to the studio where his sharp blade begins the task of transcribing the days visions. But that is only the beginning. With what seems a strange sense of urgency, Yeldham then begins the task of building up a palimpsest of imagery, driven by the exotic musical notes that conclude his paintings.
Of course they are not paintings per se. But nor are they sculptures as we have come to know that term. Technically these works are truly unique, beautiful hybrids of craft and vision. Technically they are works by a youthful master.
Ashley Crawford, 2010