Click here to see the exhibition fly through – https://www.boxhilltownhall.com.au/whats/jeff-gardner
Jeff Gardner’s artwork delivers a sprinkle of whimsy to the Artspace program in 2022, with the artist’s oeuvre being highly personal, poetic and imaginative.
Kangaroos, Clouds and Cotton Ducks includes inspiring new paintings, key historic prints and artists books created during the last thirty five years of creative production.
Gardner grew up in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and as an adolescent Gardner was consumed with the artwork of the Surrealists, such as Salvador Dali. He subsequently discovered Australian artists like Charles Blackman, James Gleeson and Brett Whiteley.
While studying Fine Art, in Painting at the Victorian College of Arts, he concentrated on direct observational tonal studies mainly creating portraits of friends. He writes, that ‘during Art School, my head was filled with life drawings and portraits’. Afterwards, ‘I again turned to my imagination and have stayed there ever since.’
Gardner bought his first etching press in the 1980s and began making mono-prints. From there he concentrated on printmaking for the next ten years. He confesses that ‘all the time, I was thinking about how to make paintings. I often felt the urge to go beyond the matrix onto the canvas using the same approach. I would substitute the etched line for pen and ink, I would use spray cans for aquatint and stencils, washes, impasto paint and glazes… the canvas became my plate and it was a place where anything could happen.’ Gardner’s printmaking practise gave way to a new vision and he created a suite of big vibrant, impasto oil paintings inspired by the limericks of Edward Lear.
He states that he is ‘a continuous scribbler and feel uncomfortable if I do not have my drawing book with me. In my books, I lay out my brain in words and pictures, poems, stories, drawings and ideas. It is from my books I take the next steps into prints or paintings.’
For the past twenty two years Jeff Gardner has been working and living in Central Victoria, where he and partner Kareen Anchen manage Cascade Art in Maldon.
Artspace is thankful to Cascade Art for allowing us to exhibit the whimsical and enchanting country imagery of Jeff Gardner in the big smoke, here at Whitehorse Artspace, Box Hill Town Hall.