Jason Moad

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Jason Moad is a realist painter based in Melbourne Australia. His current series of succulent paintings reflect both a change of focus and also personal philosophy. Although his initial interest in these plants was aesthetic, he was immediately impressed by the aura of presence and personality they project. Previously Moad’s work had been rooted firmly in the physical, fetishising the object in defiance of the digital revolution and the increasingly ephemeral quality of our culture artefacts. Ironically, his new pictures embrace a fascination with the primacy of something elusive and ineffable; that aforementioned sense of presence and personality.

He has gradually come to subscribe to a position somewhere between Panpsychism and Animism. That is to say, he thinks personhood is not exclusively the province of human beings. “Indeed, if one starts from the increasingly likely position that consciousness is fundamental, non-human persons are to be found everywhere. New Zealand recently acknowledged this in law, granting personhood to certain sacred mountains and rivers. If this strikes one as a stretch, the current renaissance in botanical research is advancing such startling propositions as communication between trees in forests, via vast, underground mycelium networks; and a study at the University of Western Australia in 2014 demonstrated that at least some plants, in the absence of anything we might recognise as brains or nervous systems, are none-the-less capable of learning and memory. There has also been a resurgence of interest in the scientific community in plant psychedelics (like psilocybin-mushrooms and ayahuasca) and their effects on and interactions with consciousness. While it might jar our western, post-enlightenment sensibilities, plants and indeed all of nature can be conceived of as enspirited. Until relatively recently in historical terms, of course, this would have seemed obvious to most people.”

From the very first Agave he painted, Moad recognised the potential of plants to represent the other than human. Most of his subjects are drawn from The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and so isolating them against plain backgrounds also hints at the way they have been dislocated from their native environments and transplanted halfway around the world; in effect treating them as Object, rather than Subject. Regardless, they loom likeTriffids; self-possessed and with their own agency.

Jason Moad is a realist painter based in Melbourne Australia. His current series of succulent paintings reflect both a change of focus and also personal philosophy. Although his initial interest in these plants was aesthetic, he was immediately impressed by the aura of presence and personality they project. Previously Moad’s work had been rooted firmly in the physical, fetishising the object in defiance of the digital revolution and the increasingly ephemeral quality of our culture artefacts. Ironically, his new pictures embrace a fascination with the primacy of something elusive and ineffable; that aforementioned sense of presence and personality.

He has gradually come to subscribe to a position somewhere between Panpsychism and Animism. That is to say, he thinks personhood is not exclusively the province of human beings. “Indeed, if one starts from the increasingly likely position that consciousness is fundamental, non-human persons are to be found everywhere. New Zealand recently acknowledged this in law, granting personhood to certain sacred mountains and rivers. If this strikes one as a stretch, the current renaissance in botanical research is advancing such startling propositions as communication between trees in forests, via vast, underground mycelium networks; and a study at the University of Western Australia in 2014 demonstrated that at least some plants, in the absence of anything we might recognise as brains or nervous systems, are none-the-less capable of learning and memory. There has also been a resurgence of interest in the scientific community in plant psychedelics (like psilocybin-mushrooms and ayahuasca) and their effects on and interactions with consciousness. While it might jar our western, post-enlightenment sensibilities, plants and indeed all of nature can be conceived of as enspirited. Until relatively recently in historical terms, of course, this would have seemed obvious to most people.”

From the very first Agave he painted, Moad recognised the potential of plants to represent the other than human. Most of his subjects are drawn from The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and so isolating them against plain backgrounds also hints at the way they have been dislocated from their native environments and transplanted halfway around the world; in effect treating them as Object, rather than Subject. Regardless, they loom likeTriffids; self-possessed and with their own agency.

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