Friday, November 9th, 2018
Lionel Bawden
Now represented by Artereal Gallery

Artereal Gallery is excited to announce that we are now representing Lionel Bawden.

Lionel Bawden is known for his signature sculptural works made from myriad undulations of Staedtler hexagonal coloured pencils fused together and carved for cryptic amorphous objects that transport the everyday source material beyond the known and commonplace.

Bawden’s recent experimental works embrace both painting and sculpture to explore concepts of the landscape and the natural world and the relationship of one’s thinking mind within it, employing text as a key motif. These new works often take form on everyday objects of a short life-span – where a process of exhaustion or a wearing-down is key to their object-hood, akin to our own fleeting moment here on earth.

Bawden has exhibited widely both within Australia and internationally. His work is held in major public and private collections including those of the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane; the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne; the Newcastle Region Gallery in Newcastle; Artbank and the Macquarie Group collection.


Lionel Bawden, Groundwork (AS YOU WALK OVER ME THINK ABOUT WHO I AM), 2018, Exterior paint on coir fibre doormat attached to vinyl base, 40 x 60 cm each, (dimensions of installation variable) Unique within an edition of 3 + 2AP.

Lionel Bawden_Weapons for a Soldier 4

Lionel Bawden was recently commissioned to create new work for Weapons for the Soldier, a group exhibition currently showing at Hazelhurst Arts Centre.


Exhibition runs until 3 February 2018

A groundbreaking exhibition initiated by the young men of the APY Lands, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian artists to examine complex themes of weaponry, warfare, and protecting land and Country.

APY Lands Artists: Alec Baker | Eric Barney | Willy Kaika Burton | Pepai Jangala Carroll | Taylor Cooper | Sammy Dodd | Witjiti George | Rupert Jack | Kunmanara (Brenton) Ken | Ray Ken | Hector Mitakiki | Junior Mitakiki | Kamarin Mitakiki | Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin | Peter Mungkuri | Vincent Namatjira | Kunmanara (Jimmy) Pompey | Keith Stevens | Derek Jungarrayi Thompson |Thomas Ilytjari Tjilya | Bernard Tjalkuri | Ginger Wikilyiri | Mick Wikilyiri | Mumu Mike Williams | Anwar Young | Frank Young | Kamurin Young
Young men of Amata

Invited Artists: Abdul Abdullah | Tony Albert | Brook Andrew | Lionel Bawden | George Gittoes | Shaun Gladwell  Richard Lewer | Uncle Charles ‘Chicka’ Madden and Jonathan Jones | Danie Mellor | Steaphan Paton | Ben Quilty | Reko Rennie
Greg Semu | Alex Seton


“Working long-term with abstract sculpture, I came to an understanding that my work would be a conduit for meaning, where my conceptual concerns became embedded in the work. My own thinking was a generative process for form, not necessary visible to the viewer, rather a provocateur to creating form, then read independently by the psyche of the viewer. Working with conglomerates of pencils- the internal form of the pencil became a visible skin, but extended through the work, so this material quality became a point of conceptual focus for me. Inside/ Outside. Coming to art with hidden homosexuality as my driving force in youth- there existed a disconnection and a play between the visible world and the internal world- one’s inner world or to a darker extent- one’s underworld. Increasingly too, my own work has become a more direct exploration of the forms of nature and the earth itself, references that were initially more formal exercises.

Groundwork continues this body of thinking, working with doormats as a kind of portal that sits on the skin of the earth, a place-marker to draw one’s attention down to the earth, to call one’s thinking to the earth below. I began working with doormats in 2017, making text works and exploring objects that has a life span (moving away from the glorified and pseudo-eternal canvas.) I wanted objects that, like myself, are not long for this world. (Compared to a mountain my life span is like that of a cicada, in comparison to my own.) I began with cork notice board paintings with their changing face, each a collage of everyday notation. Next, the cereal box, with it’s promise of diurnal consumption and replenishment, only to be exhausted again. Next I started the doormat series, provoked literally by walking over my doormat many times a day, wiping my feet and watching the WELCOME text, erode over time. My first doormat work- simply said WORDS. Words come and go like our thoughts and like our feet moving constantly back and forth over the doormat. Then I explored tissue boxes- speaking of feelings and their constant, cascading presence in our lives, sadness and joy wiped away with a tissue. Each of these materials- notice board, Cereal box, doormat and tissue box are objects that I encounter directly in my own life, as I always wish to speak from direct experience, not to just comment on a culture that exists outside myself. These are materials I am connected to in the most essential and banal way- living.

In making work for the APY Lands show Weapons for a soldier, I have returned to the doormat as a site of significance, particularly pertinent to a show thinking about country and our relationship to it. We place doormats at the entry to our home, a kind of maker for a point of entry to a private space, where we wipe the earth from our feet. My work for Weapons for a soldier is a text work over ten doormats, text read from the base to the top, like playing hopscotch. The work reads: AS YOU WALK OVER ME THINK ABOUT WHO I AM. This work speaks directly to turning one’s attention to the earth, especially when it is seemingly invisible beneath cement. The work is an invitation.

Groundwork (CONCEPTUAL ENTRY POINT) 2018, is light hearted yet questions the colonial nature of the doormat, marking space as our own and marking an entry point to one’s private space and seemingly an exit from the earth, wiping any traces of it off your feet before you enter. In the same vein as Groundwork (AS YOU WALK OVER ME THINK ABOUT WHO I AM) the work intends to direct one’s attention down to the earth.

Other works in this series include Groundwork (OVERLAND), 2018 a doormat to be placed so that the text faces inward, so the message is read as you leave the house.

These text works on everyday objects- each with a comparatively short lifespan (unlike the myth of painting’s permanence) also question the value of an art object and are priced with this potential exhaustion or expiration date in mind. Yet the value of an artwork could be located in engagement with it, therefore an artwork, which your body comes into contact with possibly many times a day has a value that the painting in the next room is ill afforded.

For a collector Groundwork (CONCEPTUAL ENTRY POINT), placed at the entry of a collector’s home also serves as a conceptual entry point to the collection that is housed within- a gateway to a mystic revelation of the character of the collector. Artwork can be a visceral and messy business, so wipe your feet on the way out.”

Lionel Bawden
September 2018.