Lae Oldmeadow is an Australian visual artist born in Queensland in July 1956 whose name and creations have travelled beyond Australian cities to New York, Paris, Amsterdam and Switzerland. Over the years he has been portrayed as an “environmental” or “atavistic” art practitioner. Following a twenty-year career in inventive upholstery he has developed a unique art practice to highlight the beauty and mystery of Nature.
The organic materials he exclusively uses are fragments discarded or offered up by nature which he gathers on walks in the bush. In this way the creative process of a new work begins with a peaceful meditative stroll during which Lae selects leaves, pieces of bark, ochres, fibres, etc. These excursions stimulate his imagination, leading to the exciting conception of new creations. Back in his studio, he arranges and processes the collection as a response to the earlier walkabout experience and composes each art-piece in a highly meditative state of mind.
The artist’s home and studio are surrounded by a natural sanctuary he designed himself by landscaping one hectare of hillside into a sustainable garden. Thus he lives in symbiosis with nature, fostering oneness with the land. The abundance of life produced by and attracted to this terraced environment along with its situation within the greater, dramatically charged panoramic landscape, are the constantly self-renewing sources of this artist’s inspiration.
How can we qualify Oldmeadow’s art within a movement? This would pose challenges: mannerism, post-impressionism, expressionism, outsider art, etc. – none of these fully describe Lae’s art practice, which is really informed by the artist’s deep integrity and bond with nature. In the end “atavistic environmental art” seems to best reflect the essence of Lae’s work, which pulses out a very strong tribal message and energy like a visual representation of prayer or contemplation.
One recognises instantly the obsessive input into each of these masterpieces: the intent, sourcing, stitching and padding of the sculpted forms. Lae’s creations can each represent up to four hundred hours of devotion, of deeply meditative processes leading to their extraordinarily refined quality of art.
When, finally, the works are infused onto canvas, down to an essence of being, a deep remembrance resonates within the viewer of oscillations between the vegetal and animal. The reduction of form can lead one into a liminal state of imagining and being, something satisfyingly essential to who we are and how we are in the world.
Awards and prizes:
2014 – Border Art Prize Exhibition Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW – First Prize
2006 – Fehva Art Exhibition and Auction Community and Cultural Centre, Byron Bay NSW – Peoples Choice
2006 – Border Art Prize Exhibition Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW – Highly Commended
2014 – The Border Art Prize Tweed River Art Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW – First Prize
2014 – “Of Men and Nature” Nimbin Art Extravaganza, Nimbin NSW Lae Oldmeadow – Exhibition ”of Nature and Men” 2014.pdf
2013 – The Wilson visual art award Trinity Catholic College, Lismore NSW
2013 – Sunshine Coast art prize Sunshine Coast QLD
2013 – Two Earth Tablets (Artist collective) Galerie Clé de Sol, Parthenay FRANCE Lae Oldmeadow – Earth Tablets FR 2014.pdf (FR)
2013 – Darcy Doyle Arts Awards Mudgeeraba QLD
2013 – Earth Tablets and Earth Worms Nimbin Art Extravaganza, Nimbin NSW Lae Oldmeadow – Earth Collection 2014.pdf
2012 – The Artist Revealed Anthea Polson Art, Main Beach QLD
2012 – The Border Art Prize Tweed River Art Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW
2012 – Nimbin Art Extravaganza Nimbin NSW
2012 – Gold Coast City Art Gallery Gold Coast QLD
2011 – 8 Days Before Christmas Anthea Polson Art, Main Beach QLD
2011 – “The Sacred Seeds” Anthea Polson Art, Main Beach QLD
2009 – 40 x 40 Special First Christmas Show Anthea Polson Art, Main Beach QLD
2009 – Tyalgum Festival Art Exhibition Tyalgum NSW
2009 – Fehva Art Exhibition and Auction Bangalow A&I Hall NSW
2008 – Border Art Prize Exhibition Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah, NSW
2008 – We Make Good Pets, curated by Jo Dibbell Metro Arts, Brisbane QLD
2008 – Sculptura Beaudesert Art and Cultural Centre, Beaudesert QLD
2008 – Nature Boy Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane QLD
2007 – Tactile, with artist Melissa Hirsch Beaudesert Art and Cultural Centre, Beaudesert QLD
2007 – Nature Girl Nature Boy, with Mellissa Hirsch. Curated by Fran Cummings. Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW
2007 – Exhibition of Work Scott Harrower Gallery, Lismore NSW
2006 – Border Art Prize Exhibition Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah NSW
2006 – Swell Exhibition Currumbin QLD
2006 – Changing Nature Greenpeace Exhibition, Sydney NSW
2006 – Exhibition of Works Piece Gallery, Mullumbimby NSW
2006 – Art Expo Brisbane Exhibition Centre, Brisbane QLD
2006 – Chrysalis Lismore regional Gallery, Lismore NSW
2006 – Fehva Art Exhibition and Auction Community and Cultural Centre, Byron Bay NSW
2005 – Border Art Prize Exhibition Gold Coast Art Gallery, Gold Coast QLD
2005 – Van Curatorial Panel Selection Lismore Regional Art Gallery, Lismore NSW
2005 – Pathways Foundation Charity Auction auctioneer Robert Bleakly (founder, Sotheby’s Australia)