Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork, Prints & Totems

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"Three States" Driftwood Triptych 2009

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6 Driftwood Totems 2009

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Driftwood Sculpture Trio 2009

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Driftwood Wall Assemblage 2009

   
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DRIFTWOOD ASSEMBLAGES AND DRIFTWOOD PRINTS

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 1
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 9
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 11

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 8

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 2

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 13

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 3
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 7
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 10
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 4


Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 6
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 5

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Assemblage
# 12


Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood # 1
Digital Print



Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood # 2
Digital Print


OTHER SELECTED DRIFTWOOD ASSEMBLAGES AND TOTEMS

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Relief
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftscape 1
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftscape 2
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Ship Wreck
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Gabo 1
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Gabo 2
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Gabo 3
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Bastion 1
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Bastion 2
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Bastion 3
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Brays 1
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Brays 2
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Totems
Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood totems 2

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
6 Driftwood totems

Environmental Driftwood Art Wallwork Assemblages
Driftwood Totem Commission

DRIFTWOOD FURNITURE

Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture
Driftwood furniture
Driftwood Furniture

     
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Artist statement:


From the artist statement; "My creative medium changed to found art as a result of one such ‘accident’ in 1997. I was collecting driftwood, on a remote Victorian Coastline, with the intention of making furniture and stumbled upon vast amounts of plastic ocean debris. I was immediately affected by a whole new palette of colour and shape revealing itself to me; I had never seen such hues and forms before.

Since then, I have scoured Australian beaches for found objects which I bring back to my studio to sift, sort, and colour-code for my assemblages, sculptures and installations. As I work with them in my studio I become even more fascinated by the way they have been modified and weathered by the ocean and nature’s elements. My challenge as an artist is to take these found objects, which might on first meeting have no apparent dialogue, and to work with them until they speak and tell their story."

My foray into working with driftwood assemblages, began in 1998 and continued until 2004. An article described the driftwood assemblages, which I exhibited in a solo show at the John Gordon Gallery Coffs Harbour in early 2004 as follows: "John Dahlsen isn't your average artist. A bold statement to make but appropriate after you realize the sheer depth and determination which goes into the work this man has produced over the past seven years. Although he has been within art circles for much longer than that, it is only in the most recent years, which have seen Dahlsen create a different form of art with environmental messages and strong statements. It is 'found' object art, be that organic or inorganic.


He would be seen scavenging beaches in search of plastics, specific colours and sizes. He is also known for venturing along the edge of Victoria alone in search of driftwood. Boat trips, four-wheel-drive tours and scaling 40 meter-high cliffs, were all part of the process for this driftwood exhibition and Dahlsen admits at times there were death-defying moments grabbing the perfect piece of wood."

Driftwood Art Gathering Experiences

My work with driftwood assemblages and sculptures began in 1998 and has continues to be a major part of my creative output. An article described these driftwood assemblages, which I exhibited in a solo show in Australia in early 2004, as having been created with:  “A sheer depth and determination...Including, death-defying moments grabbing the perfect piece of wood.”

It is true I would be seen scavenging beaches in search of plastics, specific colours and sizes. I was also known for venturing along the edge of Victoria alone in search of driftwood. Boat trips to islands, long drives along four-wheel-drive tracks and scaling 40 meter-high cliffs were all part of the process.

This all sounds exciting and possibly a bit unbelievable, however it is quite true that I would often find myself in dangerous situations.

I remember one time I had walked about 2 kilometers ahead of my brother, who had joined me for a driftwood gathering expedition and I wasn’t able to walk Any further around the rocks, because the tide was up and I could see that there are quite a few choice pieces of driftwood in the next cove. So I decided to climb up over some rocks and proceeded to do this in pretty nimble sort of way, as I move fairly fast over rocks, anyway there was a ledge with a drop of about 1 m, which I needed to swing myself up to to get to the top of the hill which overlooked the cove.

Little did I know that as I swung myself up onto this ledge, there was to be a big brown snake  (the deadly variety) curled up right there. I don't know whether it was a gentle way that I was moving, but instead of that Brown snake rearing its head up an attacking me, it simply found the quickest and easiest way off the rock away from where I stood. There simply wasn't enough room for the both of us. I thank that snake to this day for the decision it took.

If it had decided to bite by attacking me, I would have been in serious trouble. My brother would not have known the trouble I was in and it would have been very difficult for me to move in his direction without causing myself serious problems. I probably would have had a very good chance of not surviving.

This reminds me of another time when I decided to go by myself, also to this similar location. However it was many kilometres on the other side of the river that came out to the sea. Having crossed a wide expanse of Heath, I descended the cliff face, which was my usual way down to this series of beaches, which had many coves full of driftwood which was stacked often 2 to 3 m high. On this particular day I decided to go further than my usual expedition, which often ended up finishing at one point where the rock face dropped dramatically into the ocean. It was a particularly dangerous spot and I often decided not to venture any further once I reached this point.

I had the whole day to myself, so I decided to keep going as it was a beautiful day even though the swell was being unpredictably high, in fact I think it was a day of King waves. I was on a bit of a mission because I had seen a certain type of driftwood stick that was washed up up and down the coast around that area, which was really suitable for me to use as framing for some of my assemblages, so I really wanted to gather as many as possible.

So on I went and did come across many of those prized driftwood sticks that I was looking for as well as a pretty large jumbo garbage bag full of smaller sized rounded off pieces of driftwood, that I used in that particular series. (The driftwood assemblage series). I also found a few very unusual buoys which I also took along with me in my bag.

It was on the way back where I ran into trouble. This I think was probably partially foolish and partially adventurous and brave. There is a point on this rocky cliff face that I was mentioning, they are generally have to take a bit of a jump across to a ledge along the face. On most occasions you just needed a bit of guts to do it and everything was fine. At worst you would slip and possibly end up in the water.

It wasn't a high cliff in fact allege a long this face was probably only 3 m above the waterline however on that particular day there were those king waves coming in quite unpredictably. So here was I move an armful lose to move along sticks over my shoulder and in the other hand I was carrying very heavy chamber garbage bag full of driftwood and some plastics. There was nowhere for me to really throw any of my gathered objects, so if I wanted to get across with everything, I had to take a risk.

That was precisely the time when I could see the King wave on its way and I knew that I had to make a decision then and there to just jump with a whole lot and trust that I was going to get a good foothold and move along out of danger or I was going to have to ditch my effort and quickly retreat with my supply to the last cove and leave it all for another day or as I was leaving the next day, maybe not at all.

So I jumped, and as Grace has it, I was fortunate enough to gain a good foothold in a relatively dry section of the rock ledge, which was enough for me to swing by garbage bag high enough and for me to also climbed high enough before the king wave hit the side of the cliff where I had been standing. If I had moved any slower, I would have ended up in the water possibly hitting my head against the rocks and I imagine that I could have ended up a casualty.

Apart from the few other misdemeanours I've had a pretty good run, when you consider the types of terrain that I have been exploring, I've probably been pretty lucky only to have had these two notable episodes.

Exploring remote parts of Australia is often a treacherous endeavour, especially if you are climbing up and down cliff faces in remote areas carrying heavy pieces of wood. I loved every second of this experience. I love the adventure and spending time with my loved ones, family and friends, trekking to far-flung locations to source these materials. I also love the tactile experience of working with wood. I celebrate the effect nature has had on these individual pieces by bashing them against rocks, fading them in the sun.

I have scoured Australian beaches for found objects which I bring back to my studio to sift, sort, and colour-code for my assemblages, sculptures and installations. As I work with them in my studio I become even more fascinated by the way they have been modified and weathered by the ocean and nature’s elements. My challenge as an artist is to take these found objects, which might on first meeting have no apparent dialogue, and to work with them until they speak and tell their story."

I remember saying in interviews with the media during the late 90’s, that I hoped that one day I would see less and less litter washing up on our beaches, so that quite naturally my work would find a new direction. This has now happened on both levels, in that my work has found new directions and there is less litter washing up on our beaches on a local level at least. The situation with ocean litter on a global level has worsened considerably.

An article written by Jeni Faulkner, which appeared in the Coffs Harbour Advocate, Thursday the 18th March 2003, described the driftwood assemblages and prints, which John Dahlsen exhibited in a one man show, at the John Gordon Gallery in Coffs Harbour as follows:

“John Dahlsen isn’t your average artist. A bold statement to make but appropriate after you realize the sheer depth and determination which goes into the work this man has produced over the past seven years.

Although he has been within art circles for much longer than that, it is only in the most recent years, which have seen Dahlsen create a different form of art with environmental messages and strong statements. It is ‘found’ object art, be that organic or inorganic.

Dahlsen admits in the beginning many people, including himself,  thought he was going a little ‘nuts’ with his work, which had moved from painting to object-driven art.

He would be seen scavenging beaches in search of plastics, specific colours and sizes. He is also known for venturing along the edge of Victoria alone in search of driftwood.

Boat trips, four-wheel-drive tours and scaling 40 meter-high cliffs, were all part of the process for this driftwood exhibition and Dahlsen admits at times there were death-defying moments grabbing the perfect piece of wood.

His exhibition, at the John Gordon Gallery was the first exhibition solely based on Dahlsen’s driftwood collection.

The work on show in the 2004 Wynne Prize as a finalist, at the Art Gallery of NSW, titled "Driftwood Assemblage # 1" was a diptych from this series.

 

 

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