Visual artist Jean Weiner was the Australian resident artist in the year-long Malaysia-Australia Visual Arts Residency at Rimbun Dahan in 2002.
The scientist does not study nature because it is useful. He studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.
Jean Weiner’s bold, organic, painted surfaces play on the ambiguity between abstraction and realism, and between art and science. The works are abstract, yet are also re-presentations of physical reality. They are a fusion of art and entomology: an in-depth look at colours and patterns of butterflies, moths and beetles, enlarged so that they impact upon the senses.
The artist’s aim is to encourage the audience to become aware of their physical, intuitive and emotional responses to colour and pattern. To encourage this embodied meditation between a composition and its audience, the artist employs a wet-on-wet technique of blending oil colours through the use of a variety of fine brushes in order to produce his signature-style blurred borders and smooth finishes. This technique arrests focused vision, invoking a momentary feeling of chaos, but ultimately invites a new sense of ‘alive calm’.
Jean Weiner is particularly versed in his subject, bringing together in an interdisciplinary approach: a Master of Art in painting; a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, for which he received first class honours; and his work as the honorary curator of foreign lepidoptera (butterflies) at the Australian Museum. Like the new theories in science and philosophy, the artist’s practice demonstrates the interconnectedness of both natural and cultural life. His works especially resonate with Chaos Theory’s ‘Butterfly Effect’. This environmental notion of the beating of an insect’s wing in one hemisphere having, through a web of events, possible catastrophic outcomes in another, becomes in the artist’s work a statement of hope, a way of exploring new ways of being. Just as the natural world is interrelated, so are cultures: as an Australian of Czech and French origin who has lived and practised in Sydney, Asia and Europe and exhibited internationally, he lives and celebrates this (bio)diversity.
Ultimately, Jean’s art is about wonder; it reminds us that the world, even in its smallest detail, is extraordinary.
Jean’s work has received growing recognition and acclaim through university conferences, judged and curated exhibitions, government and philanthropic grants, artist residencies and public collections. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Aix-en-Provence, Paris and Kuala Lumpur. Recently he was selected by the National Art Gallery of Malaysia to participate in the Alami II Science/ Art conference at Mt. Kinabalu as part of UNESCO’s international year of the mountain. The artist’s upcoming exhibition will show the work – based specifically on Malaysian butterfly, moth and beetle species – that he has produced during his year-long artist residency at Rimbun Dahan.
Paint not the thing, but the effect it produces…