ESSAY NOTES

Horizon& Sea: Notes on "land sea and sky"

By Doctor Mark Carroll

 

Timothy John’s empathy with the understated natural beauty of landscape, captures not only the artist’s strength as a colourist, but the balance between impression and expression - the seen and the felt - that underpins his aesthetic.


John understands well the way that these impulses merge:
‘I do not try to portray the landscape in a strict physical sense, rather, I hope to capture its essence, the light, the colour and the shapes before me, all of which guide me to create an emotional response’.

 

There is a spirituality that pervades each of his works.
This spirituality is for John, engendered not simply by the sheer natural beauty of that place where sea, land, and sky meet, but by his realisation that to create an object of beauty carries with it an inner conviction, as John puts it:

 

 

 

      ". . . to allow myself the luxury of beauty to exist for        beauty’s sake."


 

As Wassily Kandinsky during his pre-war Blaue Reiter period was wont to point out, 

 

'to give oneself over to the pursuit of beauty at a time of social and political ugliness, when beauty is perhaps in short supply, carries rewards not just for the artist, but for those who would appreciate their art',

 

and like Kandinsky, there is a musicality about John’s work that transcends its expressive, formal and technical virtues - it is “Debussyesque” in the subtlety of its colourations and textures, yet “Stravinskyian” in its brooding and occasionally dark lyricism.


Like the panoramas that inspire him, John’s work rewards those who allow themselves a moment of quiet contemplation.

But more than this, the works invite we the audience to reflect on the balance between seeing, feeling, and knowing, that, lies not only at the heart of all good art, but of ourselves.


Dr. Mark Carroll 


Mark Carroll is a lecturer and researcher at the Elder Conservatorium.
He has extensive experience as both a scholar and classical and pop music performer. His research activities range from music and politics (Music and Ideology in Cold War Europe [Cambridge: CUP, 2003]) to Percy Grainger (Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger, with Malcolm Gillies and David Pear [New York: OUP, 2006), and studies in contemporary popular music. Carroll is a noted authority on Jean-Paul Sartre's literary and political uses of music, which have appeared in OUP's flagship journal Music & Letters. Mark also works closely with The Australian Ballet, and was Chief Investigator for a large Australian Research Council Linkage project that brought together the Elder Conservatorium, The Australian Ballet and the National Library, in order to trace the profound impact of tours to Australia by the acclaimed Ballets Russes (Russian Ballet) dance companies during the 1930s. Mark is series editor of the Ashgate Library of Essays on Music, Politics and Society (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, forthcoming).