James Ettelson’s new series, ‘Selective Hearing’, represents a psychological journey; a recalibration of perspective and honing of identity, referencing Ettelson’s belief that selective hearing has become necessary in a world saturated with bad news. His joyous palette, polychromatic patterns, energetic mark-making and effervescent, explosive forms visualise our collective need to selectively focus on the glistening hope that radiates from realms of darkness.
A concept that Ettelson has been meditating on lately is that of ‘energy’ – the cosmic essence of places and people around us. For him, the urban landscape is a compressor of energy, while nature manifests a profound vigour that recalibrates and rejuvenates the human psyche. Recurring segments of icy blue, ultramarine, teal and turquoise in the paintings respond to the tonalities of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, evoking the enduring energy of the sea.
Employing acrylic, spray paint, stencilling and layering, Ettelson builds each canvas without preconception, tapping into the intuitive channel between head and hand, imagination and realisation. His palette, however, is highly planned, creating a dialogue between raw and refined, intuitive and constructed. At the heart of this dichotomous style is a quest for harmony; an exercise in equilibrium. His works are mindscapes; prismatic refractions of personal experience distilling aspects of family, friends, landscape, travel and the everyday. There is a simplicity to Ettelson’s imagery that challenges us to refocus on the things that matter, to mute the cacophony of life and selectively listen to the soft timbres and harmonies that underscore the things, the people, the landscapes we love.
James Ettelson has exhibited throughout Sydney and has been featured in several notable publications, including Monster Children (2014), Real Living Magazine (2014), Brace Magazine (2014) and Stab Magazine (2012). He has previously collaborated with boutique Australian surf brand, McTavish, for their art board series. His work is held in private collections in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA, as well as in Artbank and the public collection of Ovolo Hotel, Woolloomooloo.