James Gleeson (1915 - 2008) was a surrealism painter who was also an educator, administrator and author. He used many techniques in his works and was known for his male nudes in psychoscapes which often used his partner, Frank O'Keefe as his muse. The works in the early 1960's were generally small in size with meticulously painted prefect figure. Since the 1970s Gleeson generally made large scale paintings in keeping with the surrealist genre. The works outwardly resemble rocky seascapes, although in detail the coastline's geological features are found to be made of giant molluscs and threatening crustaceans. In keeping with the Freudian principles of surrealism these grotesque, nightmarish compositions symbolise the inner workings of the human mind. Called 'Psychoscapes' by the artist, they show liquid, solid and air coming together and directly allude to the interface between the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Gleeson's later works incorporate the human form less and less leaving the landscape to survive.
Right until his death in 2008 he painted or drew every day.
During his life he was the author of many books on artist, art history and has had several books published on his works. He has also had several major retrospectives highlighting his career and art.
He is well represented in all major institutional collections and private collections in Australia.
Image : "Summer" 1966 oil on canvas 44 x 69 cm
Courtesy of the artist estate and Watters Gallery.