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Just Flags I John Collis

From Saturday 09 April 2022 -  10:00am
To Sunday 12 June 2022 - 04:00pm

Saturday 09 April 2022   10:00am


It has been shown that exposure to the American flag increases nationalism (a sense of superiority over others) but has no effect on patriotism ( the love and commitment to one's country). Kammelmeier,M., & Winter,D.G. (2008) "Sowing Patriotism, but Reaping Nationalism? Consequences of Exposure to the American Flag" Political Psychology 6 , 859-879.

I believe that there has been an inexorable growth in nationalism both within and between countries.

The most striking example must surely be the events around the time of the USA's elections that culminated in the occupation of the Capitol by 'patriots'.

It would appear to me that nationalism is rapidly gaining traction in Australia. We are bombarded, daily, by images of politicians, medical experts and military brass against a backdrop of Australian flags. The Commonwealth/State divide, the Covid pandemic and the progressive erosion of individual freedom in Australia have further fanned the flames of nationalism, leading to aggressive rivalry between groups both within and between states.

I have been responding to these issues in my art practice at varying times. This exhibition uses the images of flags to explore those issues of nationalism, patriotism, treaties, power, control and displacement at levels ranging from the individual to the international.



John Collis took up painting at West Pilbara College of TAFE in 1999 with the intention of learning to paint with watercolours but surrendered that ambition after about 2 years. Since then, he has explored most of the other media and mark making, settling on acrylics, which has been the mainstay of his practice.

More recently John begun to widen his approach and embraced other media and techniques in efforts to arrive at images that approach his response to the subjects of interest.

These subjects are varied and include mathematics, the process of painting itself (or applying pigment to any ground), the landscape and his emotional response to the environment.

“These are things that really matter to me and the pictures that I make are my attempt at depicting how I feel about those subjects. There's always an intention in what I set out to do, or about the sensation I want the painting to convey. Realizing, or bringing that sensation to fruition is really what all art is about. It certainly is what keeps me motivated” – John Collis.

“I paint for my own personal desire for self-expression and to help me come to some kind of resolution or equilibrium. I can't sing, dance, write poetry or play an instrument so painting has become my right brain exercise” – John Collis.


IMAGE: John Collis - K' Kappa (I wish to communicate with you) 2022, Acrylic on Aluminium composite panel



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