16th Apr – 10th May 2014
I see how weather beaten and charred our mountain landscape has become since the 2003 bush fires, with the snow just covering much of the scarring. While it provides a winter wonderland and playground for visitors, many who come are ill prepared, with very little respect for the radical changes in weather.
A yellow rain coat placed over track-suit pants seems to do the trick and the all-important sport of snow play begins; stand in rows and learn the skills of the plough. The Australian beginner skier has guts and is the most intrepid of all, with not a care about hypothermia or a twisted knee. I have had 40 years of painting the landscape and observing these fascinating little yellow mountain maniacs.
I am inspired by the clarity of light at altitude and the quality of the air. The higher you climb the more vivid the colours become and the landscape has a very broad palette. In many ways the name ‘Snowy Mountains’ seems inadequate to describe a place with such environmental diversity and cultural history.
Spalding lives in the Snowy Mountains of Australia. His work is influenced by the majestic and raw beauty of the alpine environment, capturing the spirit of the mountains and the constantly changing colour and light. Early influences included Australia’s Fred Williams, whom he studied under during his time at Bendigo Art School, Victoria. Spalding also studied at School of Art, Melbourne.
Spalding lived and worked in Europe for the next ten years after graduation, where he studied the Great Masters and was involved in symposiums and exhibitions in central Europe. His works during this period are mainly found in private collections throughout Germany, Austria and Holland. Despite the time spent in Europe, his interpretation of the alpine environment is uniquely Australian.
Snow is a constant theme in Spalding’s paintings, but they are devoid of the picturesque images that many are accustomed to in Europe. He captures the vast and unforgiving nature of the alpine region in some works, but in others he shows the playful nature of skiing in Australia.
In 1994, Spalding’s painting Old Friends won first prize in the ‘Roof Top of Australia’ exhibition in Thredbo and again in 1995 when his painting Main Range won the contemporary section. The innovation of Spalding can be seen in the creative nature of his works, some of which feature in prominent locations around the Thredbo Village.
In 2000 Spalding’s portrait of Stuart Diver was selected for the Archibald Salon. In 2007 he held a solo show at Arthouse Hotel, Pitt St, Sydney and in 2009 he exhibited at Moulton Galleries, Mosman.
Spalding was the Thredbo Ski School Director from 1994-2006 and is now the owner/operator of Wildbrumby Distillery on the road to Thredbo. He feels a great sense of connection to the landscape of the mountains and the people who live and visit there.
Click here for Spalding On-Line Catalogue 17th April