Heath Newman is a multidisciplinary artist currently living and working in Northern New South Wales.
Following his graduation from Sydney College of the Arts, Heath travelled intrepidly for a year in Asia and India finding inspiration in its chaos, calmness, humanity and nature.
Inspired by the art of The Southern School in China and Japan and the art of making Bonsai ( under his father’s tuition ), Heath draws from the idea of Literati: the scrawl of the drunken monk. Literati is a culture of art notably concerned with ink painting, splashes, calligraphic scrawls and minimalistic plant styling (bonsai.) This culture of painting and the creation of bonsai were deep in philosophical subtext concerning the art of harmonious involvement with nature. Drawing from this, Heath’s art incorporates elements of hesitancy and fragility into the confident physical gestures of abstract expressionism. Combining fragments of still life, mythology, strokes, scrawls and colour fields, Heath describes his work as a mental map; both of his subconscious and of the greater, collective consciousness. These concepts endlessly inform Newman’s work, alongside the exploration of texture, tone, perception and depth; the rise of colour in the human eye and brain, the appreciation and discrimination of harmony and the confusion and intrigue of visual perception.
To offer a complete contrasting experience, Heath then spent time painting and exhibiting in New York. “I really challenged myself in New York and learnt a lot about who I am, it’s a hardcore city with tough edges, but once you break it, it’s soft and fertile with opportunity.”
Heath’s canvas paintings are predominantly large scale, offering him a grand surface to balances his deep rooted, intelligent study of the physical and metaphysical with a light and free hand. He is a prolific artist with an interest in diverse mediums, including including work on timber and canvas, sculpture and lately a polaroid study.
“I use a lot of different materials when I create; from pencil, to pastel, to acrylic and charcoal…When I use pastels and paint I’m quite close to the work, though sometimes I like to have distance and I make these drawing tools out of long branches I find on my walks and attach charcoal or pencils to them. It’s quite fun, trying to do a still life from two metres away from your painting, with a pencil bouncing around the end of a stick all over the canvas.”