Jeremy Elkington

At the heart of my paintings since 1997 have been the desert landscape and the ornament and architectural elements of the Arabic world, utilized to present a contrast between the interior and exterior as well as convey a sense of the archaic, hidden narratives and beauty.  Since 2011 the Arabic elements have given way (in my larger, major paintings) to the armour, weaponry, sculpture and architecture of Ancient Rome.

In the beginning of my second year of my Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) (1997), I discovered the brilliance of Islamic art - its ornament, architecture, patterns as well as the sublime desert landscape. Musical analogies have also been present as well as elements of Roman, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Persian, Japanese and Gothic art paired, at times, with abstract and surreal forms and shapes. Ornament and pattern are still employed but now share equal importance with focusing on the epic and universal qualities of the landscapes.

The time spent in Egypt (Sep.12 - Oct.3, 2001) enabled myself to utilize the photographs taken and my experiences there as a source for subsequent paintings and intensified my appreciation of Islamic art and architecture and the potency of the desert landscape.

While the focus on Islamic art remains, in recent years I have begun to shift more focus onto the aspects of interior VS exterior, shadow and light, composition, perspective and onto forms, shapes and details that reflect my own inherent artistic language. These also contribute towards evoking a vastness, sublime beauty, elegance, dynamics and harmonious complexity which inspire feelings of mystery, time, romance, tragedy, the ancient past, melancholy and sensuality.

On many occasions I draw inspiration and motivation the from emotional, atmospheric, textural, structural elements of grandiose nature of particular styles of music to create a reverberation of sound between the forms of the landscape.

Important to my work is the unfolding of past and present hidden narratives or dramas married with a sense of the archaic. From this, possible scenarios as well as echoes of history and the resonances of past lives, relationships and tragedies permeate the supposed emptiness of the desert landscape and we are left to contemplate on the themes of love, hope, loss, isolation, ecstasy, tragedy, celebration, melancholy, euphoria and reflection.

The vast and boundless landscapes throughout my work, embodied in the various types of Middle Eastern deserts instil a delightful horror and solitude in the astonishing stretches of distance and space and emphasizes the dreaded feelings of utter isolation coupled with the euphoric sensations of peace and tranquillity, both contradicting and paralleling the safety and security implied by the interior space. Detachment and distance are able to compound the feelings of isolation, melancholy and infinite space through allusions to hopelessness and despair within an unfamiliar landscape. The potential remoteness of the implied narrative (the unseen drama that is or may or has unfolded within the landscape) also highlights the purpose of viewing present emotional situations as if in hindsight the sense of distance intensifying the stretches of time that have passed since the origins of particular memories - an allusion to the archaic.

The detachment from any obvious intimacy within the exterior does not mean the work completely embraces the forces of  feelings of despair, darkness or hopelessness, as the sublime is dualistic - daunting, unnerving yet alluring and inviting. It humbles and exalts us, terrifies and quietens us as well as leaving us rejoicing in the extreme sense of freedom, honesty and raw emotions of the ancient desert landscape, in which we (at least on the immediate surface) are the only human being. Through the extremity of the arid, detached ad isolated landscape these dual feelings are established, as no challenge is offered to our presence, but instead, a terrifyingly beautiful environment that reduces us to both hopelessness and exaltation through hope and the awakening of our imagination.

Overall, my main concerns, in respect to the landscape, is to smoothly marry it with the various abstract, surreal, ‘modern’, ‘futuristic’ and historically based ornamental and architectural forms so that each emphasizes the other and that the archaic, the musical, the sublime, euphoria and other emotions are intensified and effectively emitted. Trying to create or capture ‘sensations’, a sense of mystery and something greater than ourselves, beyond our comprehension as well as the monumental stage for intimate and romantic feelings, sensations and hidden narratives to be played out.

As of late 2011 into 2012, ancient Egyptian and (more especially so) Roman sculpture, armour, weapons, vases, patterns and motifs have played a strong part within my paintings, situated within the Middle Eastern desert landscape. These will be combined with various wild-life (vultures, eagles, cobras, hyenas, locusts), floral elements (rose petals), natural elements (burning logs, dust storms etc.)  as well as a subtle use of Arabic and Egyptian architectural elements.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2012 Rome, Desert, Ornament, LaTrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell.
  • 2008 Across Time, The Highway Gallery, Melbourne.
  • 2007 The Heart’s Frontiers, LaTrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell.
  • 2004 Infinite Echoes, 69 Smith Street, Melbourne.
  • 2003 Resonances, LaTrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell
  • 2002 Masters Examination, Switchback Gallery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill.
  • 2001 Neo-Orientalism  Middle Eastern Visions, Gammaspace, Melbourne.

Group Exhibitions

  • 2009 Synthesis, Walker Street Gallery, Dandenong.
  • 2000 McIvor  Lu  Elkington, Cowawarr Art Space, Cowwarr.
  • 1999 EXHIBITIONISM:  An exhibition of works by emerging artists in support of UNICEF, Lounge, Melbourne.
  • 1998 IMPACT: Art for a world identity, Monash University Gallery, Clayton Campus.
  • 1998 Final Year Students, Switchback Gallery, Monash University Gallery, Gippsland Campus.
  • 1998 Flow, LaTrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell.
  • 1997 Collected Visions, canteen space, Monash University, Gippsland Campus.

Joint/Paired Exhibitions

  • 2009 Hidden Narratives (with Janine Good), Kingston Arts Centre, Melbourne.

Art Shows/Prizes

  • 2012 The Flanagan Art Exhibition, St Patrick’s College, Ballarat.
  • 2012 Mirboo North Annual Art Show
  • 2011 100 Years Art On The Hill, Warragul. Winner: First Prize (Open Award - acquisitive)
  • 2011 Agendo 2011, Melbourne.
  • 2011 Brunswick Gallery ‘Small Works’ prize, Melbourne.
  • 2011 Mirboo North Annual Art Show
    Winner: Best Exhibit
    Winner: Best Work in Oils
  • 2011 Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Show, Melbourne
  • 2010 Inaugural Traralgon Apex Art Exhibition
    Winner: Two-Dimensional Award
  • 2010 Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Show, Melbourne
  • 2009 Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Show, Melbourne
    Winner: Best Australian Landscape (acquisitive prize)
  • 2008 The 2008 John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale.
  • 2008 6degree Art Prize, Frankston Arts Centre, Melbourne.
  • 2008 Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Show, Melbourne.
  • 2005 Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Show, Melbourne.
  • 2004 The 2004 John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale.
  • 2003 Tyers Art Show, Tyers.
  • 2000-05 Mirboo North Annual Art Show
  • 2005 Winner: Best Work in Acrylic or Oil.
  • 2003 Winner: Best Work in Acrylic or Oil.
  • 2000 Winner: Best Work in Pastel of Drawing.
  • 2000 The Victorian Campus Art Prize & Exhibition, George Paton Gallery, Melbourne.
  • 1999 Tyers Art Show, Tyers.

Work exhibited at the following

March 2012: Golden Plains Arts Trail, Golden Plains Shire.

October 2002 - current: Town & Country Gallery, Yarragon.

November 2010 - current : Thistledown Gallery, Traralgon.

April 2011: Golden Plains Arts Trail, Golden Plains Shire.

November  - December 2000: Gippsland Water Board office, Traralgon.

February 2003 - May 2004: Australian Wildlife Gallery, Munro.

August 2004 - March 2006: Asti & Gold (Sahara Bar), Melbourne.

Nov. 2004 - October 2005: 4cats Gallery stockroom, Melbourne.

January - November 2006: Impressions gallery, Traralgon.


  •  Latrobe City website. “News Releases”. 15/09/2007
  • “A brush with Arabia”, 2008 (Kingston, Melbourne)
  • “Abstract mixture on show”, The Leader newspaper, May 13 2008.
  • Kingston Your City (Official journal of the City of Kingston, Melbourne), “Hidden Narratives”, October 2008.
  • City of Greater Dandenong, “Synthesis” - Various Artists,  September 2009
  • Mirboo North Times, Volume 16, No.16, Wednesday, 11th May, 2011, “Out and About”.

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