Artist’s Statement.

Many years ago, I built my home in the Plenty Valley and lived in the landscape I love through all seasons, weather, geology, light, clouds, winds, and movement. Observing all of these on an almost daily basis, while drawing, painting, has enabled me to understand this unique landscape. Like many people in the past two years, I have had to abandon my painting trips throughout Australia which have also been so much a part of my life for the past seventy years. 


Instead, I have been concentrating on oil painting. I have always found a wonderful reciprocation between oil and watercolour painting. The intensity of colour tones that are achieved in oil painting are largely because of its opacity and the non-evaporative qualities and the brilliancy of the pigments. Smaller oils are often begun ‘plein air’ and sometimes completed or revised in the studio while the initial impression of the motif is retained. I usually make quick colour notes in watercolour or pencil of my ideas for studio reference.


Also, over the past few years I have lost much of the unique rural landscape which was my initial inspiration for living in this landscape to housing development. However, I take comfort and pleasure from the many magnificent eucalypts I planted in 1966. They are now a constant inspiration, as are the glimpses of the distant Plenty Valley hills. While my immediate surroundings have dramatically altered, I have my own quiet oasis amongst the trees, and indigenous plants and grasses. I have become absorbed in transferring my inspiration into oil paintings.


The works of JMW Turner, Corot, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, and other masters harnessed their knowledge of nature and art to personal mark making – the essence of creativity in all pictorial art. This can take a lifetime. I hope that my own mark making conveys my love of this land and can be felt and enjoyed.

In what many believe to be the genteel world of landscape painting John Borrack is something of a maverick, a man who has dedicated the last sixty years of his life to the pursuit of a pure, spiritual expression.

His is no ordinary vision. His work does not sit readily alongside the contemporary abstract expressionists and it is clearly too avant-garde for those who seek nostalgic and literal representation.

Working predominantly in watercolour and gouache he has balanced the needs of technique and theory with a clarity of emotional expression that borders on an obsession with communicating the spiritual experience of his reactions to the landscape as he sees and feels it.

His works capture an immediate sense of their unique locales. They freeze in time fleeting moments as light plays on forms and texture. They are vibrant, atmospheric and iconic images that speak of a supreme nature, often wild and untainted by the hand of man. They isolate a totality of experience that goes well beyond the given facts presented by a literal view of the scene.

John Borrack is a single-minded free thinker, a master colourist and master craftsman. He is unarguably one of the finest contemporary landscape artists working in Australia today.