Roger Callen Landscape Artist

I am a landscape artist, painting in various media on a range of substrates – even discarded packets with their strange shapes and flaps. I like to experiment, ranging from realist to expressionist to abstract and still-life (viz always-right-now life). I may use collage and semi-sculptural elements, found objects. I like to work Plein Air when I can.

  • Flinders Ranges S.A.

Nothing is ever fully determined, despite humanities attempts to make it so. The human world we construct ‘rests upon1 nature. There is a ‘pushing’ towards life and it’s ‘for-itself’ embedded in inanimate natural forms. There is a truth in the phrase living rock. We can be said to exist in a ‘magma’ of being, full of inexhaustible possibilities.

My art aims to elucidate that which is fundamental to inanimate things and to life itself, its mysterious uncertainty, its trajectory. I am thus concerned mainly with landscape – especially the Haimakura places where chi is manifest – but also with human transformation of it and the creatures living in and on it.

Central Australia and its deserts, gibber plains and Mulga woodlands are beautiful places, full of life and openness. To me they are inviting, familiar and colourful. They are also very old landscapes, dating back to the Pliocene, before humans entered Australia, millions of years ago. My future work will focus more on these environs.

I was born in Scotland and lived on the chalk downs of Kent (southern England) as a boy, collecting fossils and enjoying nature. I was brought to Adelaide by my parents and developed a love of the Flinders Ranges. As an adult I worked mostly in the desert hills, dunefields and salt-lakes of South Australia as a geologist. I now live on the Sunshine Coast in the Glass House Mountains National Estate Area.

1* The terms in parenthesis derive from that greatest of modern philosophers, Cornelius Castoriadis and his students.