Joel Wolter


Ocean Grove, Australia

Preferred artistic medium

Drawing, Painting, Printmaking

Art level career

Mid career


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Artist statement

The wave of change series is an emotionally charged and evocative suite of recent etchings by Joel Wolter that presents to us forces of nature contrasted against, at times, small traces and remnants of humanity, as represented by a solitary mast traversing an unrelenting sea, or a haunting island set against rising seas and threatening skies. Initially these images evoke an elusive and mysterious feeling and aesthetic, yet on further inspection they become familiar messages to us that resonate with the intimate changes and challenges we might face in our everyday lives. The waves in these images also rumble with the broader and more consequential changes that will affect the environment and our lives in the not too distant future, such as climate change.

In the urban laneways, Wolter explores intimate and gritty spaces that also feel empty, mysterious and lonely. The textures, marks and recordings found on the faces of the buildings and walls of the subjects are analogous to the marks and gestures that are made on the copper plate by the artist. The textual messages present humorous and insightful ponderings on life and the hierarchy and ubiquity of graffiti and advertising. To the artist, the meaning and messages of these texts become interchangeable and equally as important or irrelevant to each other.

* “The sense of the precise moment may be the key to what makes these images compelling. They contain echoes of the awareness of transience, and remind us that it is not just the moment, or the particular, that is passing — ‘But at my back, I always hear Time’s winged chariot, hurrying near’. Ultimately, it is us, as much as the moment suggested by the images; in other words, the images reveal something essential to ourselves.”

* An excerpt from a catalogue essay by Dr Colin Holden on Joel Wolter’s printmaking, 2010.