Joshua Yeldham | Endurance: Two Rivers

Joshua Yeldham’s new series of paintings, ‘Endurance: Two Rivers’, explore the shared threads that weave cultural ideologies, philosophies and religions across East and West. The works form part two of his ‘Endurance’ series, which has been staged at Arthouse Gallery since the end of 2017 and marks five years since the artist’s last major Sydney presentation.

In these large format works on paper, Yeldham takes viewers on a poetic odyssey of cultural, historical and personal significance, responding directly to recent travels throughout Japan, Arizona and India as well as his ongoing interactions with Australia’s Ku-ring-gai and Hawkesbury regions. Delicate calligraphic lines and indigos recalling Edo Period ceramics summon traditional Japanese visuals, yet their subject is decidedly Australian – anthropomorphised mangroves stretch out their limbs while Hawkesbury waterholes beckon us into their serene wilderness.

Yeldham’s emphasis on materiality dislodges the conventional connotations of works on paper by pushing the possibilities of paper to a greater level of tactility. Ritualistic swathes of paint and ink rove through sculptural webs of cartographic carvings, the thick linen paper sharing the sturdy properties of board with the malleable medium of ceramic while maintaining the soft surface of paper. He sculpts and engraves the paper like an archaeologist excavating an historical site, yet Yeldham’s artefact is allegorical – a distant sense of history, of memory and of truth. For the artist, this kind of higher awareness can be distilled from the various cultural ideologies observed during his travels, including Hopi cosmology, Hindu mythology the philosophical tenets of Kyudo (the Japanese art of archery) – each belief system orbiting ideas about surpassing oneself and becoming, in the artist’s own words, ‘transient’.

Joshua Yeldham | Endurance: Two Rivers
19 January – 17 February 2018
Arthouse Gallery, Sydney

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