Al Poulet’s current show at Wagner Contemporary follows his participation in Penrith Regional Gallery’s exhibition 'Cummings and Poulet', curated by Toby Chapman (April, 2021). His new body of work, 'Untitled (Walk)', draws us deeper inside his inner world, which, as articulated with energy and instinct in the gestural language of abstraction, forms an emotional response to sensations experienced from direct engagement with the bush at Wedderburn, where the artist's studio is based.
Although the artist’s world doesn’t feature explicitly in his abstract artwork, it plays a crucial role in forming it. Sitting on the outskirts of Sydney, the bushland artists’ colony at Wedderburn has, since the 1970s, been the home and haunt of some of Australia’s most established artists – the area has witnessed the working-life of the likes of Elisabeth Cummings, Joan Brassil, Roy Jackson, John Peart, David Fairbairn and David Hawkes. Having only recently carved out a niche in the area, Poulet brings a fresh perspective and approach to the landscape.
The artist reflects upon the evolving nature of his subject matter: “My works are an inner journey, which could be considered landscape in a way; going inwards. Just a place where there are no figures. They’re not necessary yet”.
Poulet’s abstracted paintings retain a paradoxical nature as they both reflect this specific sense of place and time, and maintain a broader accessibility, which is untethered to context. His paintings are at once personal and universal. Indeed, despite the literal absence of trees, rocks, or water, the painter manages to distil the most essential aspects of the land: transferring Wedderburn onto the canvas, and transporting the viewer to Wedderburn.
Al Poulet is a graduate of UNSW Art and Design, achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) in 2013 and a Master of Fine Arts in 2017. He was the Winner of the Paddington Art Prize in 2018. His work was subsequently presented at Sydney Contemporary Art Fair in 2019. His work was exhibited in the exhibition 'Cummings and Poulet' at Penrith Regional Gallery in 2021.