In July 2008, Australian artist Jon Cattapan decided to take a risk and step outside of his urban milieu. He agreed to become an official war artist for the Australian War Memorial and was deployed to Timor Leste.
While his early work was expressionistic, exploring often personal themes of family and self, Jon is perhaps best known for his images of the city which he began painting after returning from a residency in Castelfranco, Italy in the mid-1980s. While his interest in the city hasn't waivered since this time, over the years his perspective and points of view have.
From painting intimate, closely observed scenes of the grungy reality of daily life in St Kilda and Melbourne to painting more alienated, global cityscapes in the early and mid-90s. Since the mid-90s Jon has become determined to construct beautiful pictures - though he chooses to paint them slowly, thoughtfully, reflecting on the complexity, the layers, the snap crackle and pop of the digital world, and it's impact on life. Increasingly he's been drawn back to narrative, particularly grass roots protest, not because he sees himself as a political artist, but because he likes the idea that art is another way of bearing witness to social movements.
Lindy Lee, one of Australia's leading contemporary artists. Lee's defining mark is not made with paint, but with the chaotic splat of hot black wax.
"For me it's no accident", explains Lee. "The splat is the combination of all the forces in the universe. It's the mark of everything that exists at one particular moment in time, never to be repeated."
Born in Brisbane to Chinese immigrant parents, Lee's work over the last 30 years has explored personal issues of diaspora and identity: how she fits into Australia, the art world - and the universe. As an artist who is also a Zen Buddhist, the questions: 'Who am I?' and 'Why am I here?' are all in her day's work.
Del Kathryn Barton is one of Australia's best and most in-demand contemporary artist, as evinced by her nomination as Australian Art Collectors Most Collectable Artist for 2007.
Since winning the 2008 Archibald Prize, Del Kathryn Barton has been one of the most rapidly rising stars in the Australian contemporary art world. Barton's richly colourful and hallucinogenic works offer a complex, often disorienting meditation upon the nature of reality.