Ross Seaton: The Master of Nedlands
4 December 2020-4 December 2021
Ross Seaton made extraordinary paintings and drawings over five decades. A well-known figure, renowned for his long walks along Stirling Highway to the ocean, Ross documented his complex and interdisciplinary view of the world in thousands of artworks. Although a self-taught artist, his work was not unsophisticated. Indeed, his dedication and commitment to ‘getting it right’ ensured it was both rigorous and highly accomplished.
He made that commitment early in his life and by the age of thirty he had devoted much of his time to giving his ideas a visual form. Whether in notebooks, on computer paper, old Holland blinds, canvas or on cardboard collected from the roadside, he compulsively made paintings and drawings to document his ideas and represent the world he encountered. It was the fulcrum of his life for the next 45 years.
In that time, he created a vast number of artworks, covering a wide spectrum of media, styles and themes. Some drawings are inscribed with dates and in journals he wrote specifically about other artworks or groups of work, but many more are undated. In that sense the chronology of his work is a challenge; however, the trajectory of his practice is evident and while some projects or ideas are recurrent, and so potentially confusing, it is possible to plot an over-arching map of his achievement.
Grounded in personal experience and initiated by a compulsion to find meaning in every aspect of his life, he responded to the world using the technical resources he had at hand. These were hard won and conceptualised, analysed and documented in his notebooks. He was not unfamiliar with the artworld, in fact he was well informed and he was not averse to finding solutions to his creative problems in the work of other artists he admired.
Over five decades Ross Seaton dedicated himself to the task of finding truth in his lived experience and communicating that wisdom to others. Although not always welcoming scrutiny, his ultimate goal was to share his work with a wider audience, because he believed passionately that: Creativity is a life process necessary for the existence of the Universe. - Curator and LWAG Director Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA
Creativity is a life process necessary for the existence of the Universe.- Ross Seaton, 30 January 1983, handwritten in a student exercise book