Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer had a brush with the art world when he opened 'The Continuing Journey' an exhibition of work by artist John Downton at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Gallery, Nowra.
John Downton is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost landscape painters and his remarkable talent has won him countless competitions and awards.
His works are an integral part of many of Australia’s best corporate collections he is a generous supporter of the Fleet Air Arm Museum having donated several of his works over the years.
His latest exhibition includes Shoalhaven landscapes and seascapes, and nautical and military paintings which Museum Curator Ailsa Chittick says display not only John’s mastery of a range of genres but his affinity with natural world.
“His work is very alive and many of the landscapes are instantly recognisable, not just for their accuracy but for the way they convey something indefinable like ambience,” she said.
John was Navy Artist in East Timor 2000 and is an honorary member of the Fleet Air Arm and says that although he has never been in the Navy, he is very proud of his affiliation.
“There are many influences that mould a person’s life, especially an artist, places, times, events, history, and of course the people we come in contact with.
“My experiences in East Timor certainly affected me, it was fascinating watching our Navy at work in troubled times and the way they went about their tasks with efficiency and decency, each person giving that little bit extra and looking after each other," he said.
“The Navy has a strong appreciation of heritage, a sense of place and being, and knowing exactly where we belong,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
“John’s work evokes all of these qualities. You can see his rich understanding of our heritage, his strong connection with the natural environment and get a real sense of John’s life, who he is and where he’s been and it is a great pleasure for me to declare this exhibition open."
The exhibition will be on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Gallery until 6 February 2015. All works are for sale and there is also a collection of archival prints available in the Museum Gift Shop.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143287.