John Lendis – Snow Falling into Stars

John Lendis once remarked his “heart beats in two places”, and while he may currently reside in England, John’s striking new paintings pay homage to the wild beauty of his Tasmanian ‘home’.
These latest works reflect an evolution in John’s distinct style. Subtle imagery of Tasmanian Devils dominated his last Handmark exhibition two years ago. This time its quolls; small native cats covered in distinct white spots, that have captured his imagination. In fact, John’s much-anticipated exhibition, Snow Falling into Stars, draws on fractured memories of quolls, conjured up during a mid-winter boat trip along the Gordon River on the wild west coast in 1994.
John has spent much of his working life in Tasmania, and it was a journal entry made during that unforgettable trip which sparked this new series of works. He recalls a cold mid-winter night, with the sky full of stars. The boat is anchored mid-river and John sleeps on the deck: “There must have been a high wind blowing snow in from elsewhere, as it began to fall onto the surface of the river. I made the following notes in my sketchbook – At night snow falls into the stars reflected on the river and settles on the backs of the native cats.”
But there is a contradiction and turbulent energy in these dream-like scenes. Underneath the mirrored, gloss-black surface of the river, John imagines “a world of chaos where enormous logs, driven by unseen forces tumble end over end as they smash and gouge their way along deep, submerged channels.”
John tells us he is a “bit of a recluse” these days. Time is spent in his Oxfordshire studio and garden, venturing out for the occasional show. “I think that as you grow older you become more selective, only really interested in a few artists who I still admire.” Not surprisingly, he draws on fragments of memories, “symbols and scribbles that have been hard won”, as inspiration for his stunning abstracts. “They try to evoke a landscape that is imaginary and unknown, but which to me nevertheless represents the Tasmanian landscape that I clambered all over in my younger days,”

John Lendis’ Snow Falling into Stars exhibition runs from June 3 to June 20.