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Media Release - Site Unseen and Weather Patterns III

Matthew Johnson painting

Exhibition title/s:

Matthew Johnson - Site Unseen Part I: selected mixed media works 1993 – 2012 and Weather Patterns III: Matthew Johnson, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Rosella Namok

Exhibition duration: 

30 April – 8 June 2024


FireWorks Gallery, 9/31 Thompson St, Bowen Hills

Exhibition opening:

Friday 3 May, 6 – 8pm


Media Contact:


Michael Eather


0418 192 845


Exhibition cost:


Now in its third iteration, Weather Patterns III groups Melbourne based artist Matthew Johnson (also showing a survey of works on the ground floor) with Indigenous artists Ronnie Tjampitjinpa (Western Desert, NT) and Rosella Namok (Far North QLD) in the mezzanine gallery. All three artists work in the realm of nonfigurative abstraction, reflecting imagery and designs that say something about the climate of their surroundings in melodic patterns.

New paintings by Matthew Johnson continue his interplay with the balance of light and dark, combining a jambalaya of subdued pixelated oil colours. These circles of light ultimately billow up as a revelatory expression into a sensory atmosphere.

A sense of ‘humidity’ is similarly captured by Rosella Namok in her engulfing Stinging Rain paintings. Measuring 2 x 3 metres, these impressionistic landscapes make one feel as though they could physically dive into the work as it depicts the deluge over the ocean common in the tropics. Smaller panels reveal other patterns of recognition that detail body painting and natures’ markings.

Rain Story is a unique and ingenious design created some decades ago by recently deceased Pintupi artist Ronnie Tjampitjinpa. The circuitous design at once echoes sand painting, yet also follows the poetic nature of billowing rain clouds dumping water onto mountains as it trails down to waterholes in an ancient landscape.  Special edition screen prints illustrate the extreme nature of the Australia climate, bushfires and flooding rain, with graphic confidence. 

Director Michael Eather, who has assembled the three artists together, has often commented on how Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists sometimes cross over via the subtleties of their respective visual vernaculars. Weather is a universal phenomenon, as is the language of paint.

Downstairs is a survey of Matthew Johnson mixed media works from 1993 – 2012 titled Site Unseen. This assemblage of works on paper, oil on linen and sculpture/ installation demonstrate something of Johnson’s ongoing interest and fascination as an artist experimenting with colour, composition, form and repetition, indeed the core principles of modern abstraction. Many of these works were created during his overseas residencies and have never been exhibited. The collection gives great context to his visual thinking and development as one of Australia’s foremost abstractionists.