David Voigt was born in Sydney in 1944 and studied at the National Art School from 1964 to 1968. Between 1969 and 1972 he lived and exhibited in France and Holland with extensive travels throughout Europe returning to live and work in Australia in late 1972. Among his many awards are the Blake Prize in 1976 and the Blake and Wynne Prizes in 1981. He is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and State Galleries of WA, Queensland and Tasmania as well as numerous Regional Galleries, and Internationally in the Utrecht Collection of Contemporary Art – Holland.
Looking into, rather than at, a David Voigt painting is to look into the artist’s mind. What you find there may at first seem to be an uneasy balance between nature’s unending array of natural forms of beauty and stark contrasts, and abstraction by machine-like geometric shapes and spaces that Voigt often chooses as borders to section off nature’s elements. The initial misjudged unease gives way to the realisation that what he is offering is a kaleidoscopic view of his landscape, as seen by his mind’s eye. His paintings are personal reminiscences of visited landscapes re-seen in his studio and not necessarily of any particular place or point in time.
He need only step outside his Yarramalong Valley home or studio to experience a myriad of examples of nature, from hidden watercourses to rocky crags, from wind-bent majestic trees to gently swaying reeds and grasses being grazed by cattle in the valley below. There is always the real in the natural elements he depicts. The abstraction is of the light, the same light so necessary to form the reflected image by our complex visual sensory system.
Equally the light is the most important aspect for Voigt the artist. Abstracting the light’s rays gives him the means to enhance or nullify the light, to shine more intensely on an element or contrapuntally nullify the light’s effects and relegate the element to the mystery of the shadows. By manipulating the light he offers numerous views of the elemental particles of the scenes he depicts.
Developing his style along the lines of mysticism has been David Voigt’s artistic obsession, initially departing from his early art school training, then returning to abstraction, and again to mysticism, imposing them in his unique way on the realities of nature. A number of works here defer to pure mysticism and reveal strong effects of drama and tranquil beauty alike. On occasion he combines abstract and real elements in a less formal way. Rather than dramatically dividing the canvas by geometry he gently includes it in element formations or particles, or perhaps as background for floral arrangements.
David Voigt is a unique artist, unafraid of extending his use of strong colour and artistic licence. His works are almost figments of his imagination, but in reality are very real experiences abstracted by light and point of view, dramatic and subtle at once, always intensely interesting and providing the viewer of his works, and particularly the owner, with a continuous journey through his view of the land, to be enjoyed again and again. Enter a Voigt painting from any point on his canvas is to immediately begin sharing this multi-award winning artist’s journey.