It’s the thrill of new ideas that keeps Michael Weitnauer motivated at the canvas.
The Hobart artist of 26 years opened the Another Way exhibition in Launceston on Friday night, a display comprising works of two distinct styles.
Hung on opposing walls of Gallery Pejean, the two groups of landscape paintings provide a clear indication of where Weitnauer’s inspiration has been and where it is going.
The grandson of prominent Berlin portrait painter Arthur Fischer said his latest works, which take on a more abstract form, marked a new direction in his artistry.
“I like to continually work with new ideas and explore ways of presenting the landscape, so what I thought I’d do is introduce some works which are part of my new direction I’m going with my art,” Weitnauer said.
“This has evolved over a few years together with some of the other abstract stuff I’ve done, and I’ve got to this point where I think ‘here’s something that works and it has a uniqueness to it’.
“It’s called Another Way basically because I’ve said there’s another way now of looking at the landscape and representing it.”
Several of the pieces are inspired by bushfires, including the Black Tuesday fires which ravaged Tasmania in 1967.
“I was only a small child at the time, it was first year high school and I remember there was this image of the garden because our neighbours’ house had burnt down and their landscape was charcoal black.
“So there was this really black landscape, but because the fire had gone through so quickly, there were things that were virtually untouched - even plants - and they stood out in the landscape like little gems.”
Another painting is inspired by the more recent Dunalley bushfires.
“What struck me there was that there were trees in the landscape that hadn’t been touched, but there was this really strong orange that stood out and then there was this white ash.
“I’ve just used the scarred ground as a basis for projecting imagery on top, so it’s not all burnt landscape it’s just the way of presenting the image.”
Not one to be content with reproducing a singular style or feel, Weitnauer said he would continue to chase new techniques in his work.
“I usually work in series - maybe five, six or seven paintings in a series will be similar and then I’ll have to move on.
“Even though you know you can sell them all, there’s a point where that doesn’t interest me, and then I’m not doing justice to the work and to the people that look at the work.
“For me I have to maintain a momentum in maintaining my enthusiasm and passion and that’s what this does.”
Another Way will be displayed in Gallery Pejean until June 10.