Since 2012, John Hedley has been working on a long term project that investigates the similarities between geologoical and arboreal features and how they can be transposed to his artwork using appropriate painterly and print techniques. His quest has led him to develop novel approaches to the work including using pigments derived from the rock itself.
Some of the images in this exhibition are a series of intaglio prints where he has combined solar plate, carborundum and photec. In some of the prints, he used pigments extracted from Parys Mountain to make ink. These prints are a combination of hand-painted carborundum with digitally manipulated imagery. Each coloured image has between three and five plates, overprinted in various ways and with various colours, looking for texture, translucency and opacity. The experimentation with these techniques attempts to create a way of talking about abstraction that goes beyond the current divide between abstract and non-representational art, whilst still being grounded in the representation of nature.
"The stress, layering and cracking in the printing process are analogous to processes in geology. The timeless quality of the flowing matter that created the rock creates a timeless image. Trees too, grow in response to light and environment and their form, like rocks, is created over many years. The paintings exhibited are gouache and relief collage. The organic abstraction and the ambiguous patterns and layering I am finding in the rock formations are helping my work evolve in a new direction. It is the multi- faceted possibilities in the different variations of layering and cracking within trees and rocks that manifest in the existence of nature that are inspiring this work".
Artists as diverse as Damien Hirst, Rothko, Hunderwasser, Klimt, J. W. M. Turner, and Australian Aboriginal artists have inspired his work over the years.