William Mora Galleries

James Smeaton Selection

Pilot vessel on duty: Ahead (making way)
2000, acrylic on linen, 167.5 x 99cm

Vessel engaged in underwater operation or dredging
1999, acrylic on linen, 193 x 150cm

Vessel fishing: Astern
2000, acrylic on linen, 167.5 x 99cm

International Code: I
1998, synthetic polymer and hessian on linen, diptych, each panel 195 x 150cm

Untitled (Daymark: Distress)
1995, synthetic polymer on linen, 102 x 183cm

Biography and Qualifications

Born Melbourne, 1964
Currently lives and works in Melbourne

Bachelor of Fine Art, Chisholm Institute of Technology (now Monash University), Melbourne, 1985

Description of Work

The chance discovery of an early-twentieth century book of charting symbols provided the starting point for James Smeaton's most recent body of work, aiding his ongoing exploration of languages of signs, symbols and communicative structures. In the past, Smeaton has been interested in the intellectual and emotional openness of abstract systems of communication - morse code, semaphores, yachting light signals, as well as painting itself - and the continued currency of semi-redundant, even archaic, languages in the present day.

The new works may be read in a number of ways. They may be seen as "pure" painting - layers of paint which convey an emotional state or sense through the interaction of colour, texture and resonance of light, complete within themselves. They could be read literally as maps, the charting symbols operating as a key describing a landscape - rocky or mountainous, stormy or calm - that emerges with and from the paint. Or they may be seen as metaphors for a psychological journey through obstacles difficult to foresee or define.


Smeaton has held eight solo exhibitions with William Mora Galleries since 1990. Other awards and exhibitions include:


Applied Chemicals International, Melbourne; Artbank, Sydney; Council of Adult Education, Melbourne; Deakin University Collection, Geelong; Gadens Ridgeway, Melbourne; Monash University Collection, Melbourne; National Australia Bank Collection, Melbourne; Tamar Collection, Launceston; University of Southern Queensland; Western Mining Corporation

Selected bibliography

CRAWFORD, Ashley, "The Navigator", World Art, inaugural issue, November 1993

DRURY, Nevill (ed), New Art Eight, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1993

HANSEN, David, Four Point Bearing, ex cat, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, 1994-5

WARDELL, Michael, Moet & Chandon Touring Exhibition and Fellowship, ex cat, Moet & Chandon Australian Art Foundation, Melbourne, 1998


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