Philip Wolfhagen’s landscape paintings lead us in different directions simultaneously. On the one hand they offer quintessential glimpses of a potentially infinite terrain. On the other hand, these painterly depictions of earth, sea and sky engage us with their tendency towards minimal abstraction. In Wolfhagen’s paintings, mood and feeling transcend detail. His is a landscape of archetypal potentialities which remain innately, and profoundly, mysterious.
Wolfhagen’s paintings arise both from the observation of nature and from what he calls ‘an imagined or partly remembered space’. On one level much of his work relates to the specific imagery of the Tasmanian Central Highlands and Coles Bay on Freycinet Peninsula, regions with long-established personal associations. But on another level the work transcends notions of ‘place’ altogether. One often has the sense, in looking at a Wolfhagen painting, that the artist is seeking to draw the viewer into a world which extends well beyond the realm of physical experience in a heightened aesthetic domain.
Extract from Nevil Drury “Philip Wolfhagen” in Australian Painting Now
Image: Philip Wolfhagen, Landscape genotype no. 3 (2014). oil on linen, 46 x 49 cm.