Visual Art: Selwyn Rodda

Selwyn Rodda is an Australian based painter, draftsman and digital artist (stills and abstract animation). He has been exhibiting for over two decades and works in a vaguely symbolist and metaphysical vein, with enigmatic 'biomorphic' lifeforms in unpopulated landscapes and human and animal interaction, interrelatedness and hybridization being recurrent themes. His work is found in major private and corporate collections in Australia and will be showcased in the upcoming issue of FULCRUM, an international poetry and aesthetics annual published in Boston, U.S.A.


I deal in unstable and uncertain symbolic imagery tapped or plundered from my unconscious and imbued with as much individual psychology and consciousness as I can muster. The figures or scenes I draw or paint arise as I work. No one and none of it is conceptually predetermined. If any, the intention is to invest my characters, bi or quadrupedal , with as much mysterious life as possible. Our systems are broken, our ecologies collapsing, grand narratives are magnificent but treacherous ruins and historical symbols and allegorical figures are bereft of stabilizing meaning and communicative heft. Amongst the rubble and the dust that has not settled, what truly inspires me are biomorphic, anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or therianthromorphic beings invested with an irreducible inner life, capable of reflection and meditation or at least the striving and presence of the living. In groupings these figures can evoke wisps of intrigue, ghostly rags of sense and story and suggest, rather than embody, meaning and connection, hint at 'truths' elliptical, elusive or oneiric. I create images haunted by meaning, questions rather than answers.
Art is a product of consciousness and, in a sense, imaginatively and sympathetically, it looks back at us. It is a proxy for communication between minds and at its best it transcends difference, time and historical context and touches on the deepest aspects of existence that are shared by all conscious beings. One-liners and propaganda simply scream slogans at us, precluding being-with and being-for, the abiding with others that is the source of what is best in us. There are primal mysteries that science, nor war, nor cultural myopia, nor stupidity, nor voluntary amnesia, can quite dispel, and art that is too preoccupied with being relevant and contemporary neglects to draw from the deeper well that subsumes all recorded time, all thought , all action. The artist's 'trick' is to try and keep one foot, one hand, one eye in the here and now, adding local and individual condiments and spices, and the others in the slipstream of spacetime, in the waters of eternity and oblivion. From the perspective of the workaday, the world of statistics, ledgers, data sets and the banality of reasonableness, art should be news from wilder shores, from cities and forests of indifference, transcendent madness and beauty, alternately icy and fiery dispatches of things that matter more than oiling the machine.

And finally, I want my work to be beguiling and engaging, like a series of strange, unforgettable encounters. So the element of surprise in the creation of them is a large part of what I hope they communicate to a viewer.

All works in black and white are charcoal and chalk. "Ceremony of Unknown purpose" is charcoal, chalk and pastel.

All other colour works are ink, charcoal and graphite.

Table of Contents, December 2016