Mal Cannon - The Artist
Mal Cannon took up drawing at Julian Ashton’s Art School as he had an interest in drawing from a young age. At the time it was the only place available to full time workers as classes were offered at night. It was a traditional art school based on old methods and rigorous drawing techniques of form and tone. The school provided him with a disciplined regime of drawing from life, from the model, still life, and the landscape. Mal’s love of drawing lead him into painting.
He started painting in 1983. He studied the dynamics of form which lead him to his love of abstraction.
Mal believes that classical painting is the basis or foundation to abstract painting.
“Any great abstract painting comes from tradition. Without discipline and training, without structure an abstract painting doesn’t resonate.”
As with figurative painting, Mal re-lives the tensions of exploring form in his abstract paintings.
Mal has been inspired by painters such as Ian Fairweather, Richard Deibenkorn, William De Kooning, Jackson Pollack and Elizabeth Cunnings.
He has had a long interest in the Eastern concepts of liberation, freedom from limitations and concepts of self. This was reinforced when reading of the many great visual artists who were interested in painting from an inner consciousness without the interference from classical ways of seeing. “I am inspired by those and other great painters to try and match their achievements in my own limited way.” Says Mal.
Mal Cannon has had many very successful sell out shows in Sydney and Newcastle since the 1990’s.
From 2012 to 2016 Mal has worked constantly to produce work for 4 successful solo exhibitions and 8 group exhibitions at Nanshe studio gallery. Exhibitions such as City Life; Territories; Arcadia; Colour Rhythms have several elements in common- landscape, colour and abstraction.
Mal felt he could express more through the distortions in abstraction and the flat picture plane than any other mode of expression in painting.
“I find the the landscape grid or topography a good basis to hold symbols and shapes together, hopefully in unity, a structural underlay to things. The painting is like a battlefield. Nothing stays the same, everything is subject to change. Things suggest themselves through gesture or form and one follows the suggestion, the tantalising trail. This usually ends in disaster unless the focus is very determined. This is when the painting tells the artist what it wants, what it demands to deliver. There is a relationship between the painter and the work which demands an honesty hard to sustain. A successful painting finishes suddenly, with no forewarning, its all over. The painting shuts you out, you are no longer in it.”
“Landscape as Pattern” is Mal Cannon’s exhibition at Nanshe studio gallery, 27 July to 20 August 2016.
Mal Cannon Passed away on December 26 2016