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Glyphs: Tree of Life

Location
In storage

Place of origin
Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Year
2012

Media
Painting

Medium
Watercolour and graphite on colombe paper

Dimensions
100 x 100 cm

Credit
Winner Calleen Art Award 2012

Accession number
CAL2012.1

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

G.W.Bot is the exhibiting name of Chrissy Grishin and refers to the le grand Wam Bot, an early French reference to the wombat. It is for the artist a personal totem that confirms her unity with the environment. Bot is a printmaker, painter, sculptor and graphic artist who has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. She has held over 40 solo exhibitions including shows in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. She has also participated in over 200 group and invited exhibitions and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies in Europe, Asia and Australia. Her work is held in over 100 public art collections nationally and internationally. Bot lives and works in Canberra.

Bot’s art has for some years used what she refers to as glyphs as the language of her landscape. She says of them that “glyphs constitute a language suggested by the markings found in the Australian landscape”. This unique pictorial language sourced from nature is acknowledgement of the natural environment and its impact on her creative imagination. Glyph: Tree of Life is a beautifully nuanced work. Bot avers the central importance of art in its role as a tool for contemplation and meditation, a means of placing the self in the tumultuous terrains that exist between culture and nature, between humanity and the natural environment. The glyphs that populate this work offer a rich and enriching visual field whose varieties and depth symbolise (unstated) equivalents in the natural world. The glyphs are presented in an orderly fashion, like script on a page. This is especially so in the larger white glyphs that sit in horizontal bands behind the central tree glyph before falling into the gloriously blue ground on which all the pictorial activity takes place. The Tree of Life is solid and grounded, its branches move upwards in controlled gestural sweeps that are at once eloquent and elegant. It is both controller and controlled – the former in its pictorial majesty, the latter in its identity and placement by the artist. The top points to the glowing moon (or sun?) whose fierce tonal authority and circular format draws the viewer to it. The glyphs towards the top of the picture plane diminish in size and in this describe the marvellously deep space in which all the activity takes place. In Glyphs: Tree of Life, as in all her art, Bot explores the relationship between self and nature, and in particular her interactions with place and the wider landscape. Her art embodies the essential need for man to be at one with nature in a visual language that is beautiful, embracing and incisive.