John Pastoriza-Piol
Melbourne, 1975
Castanea Sativa [Spanish Sweet Chestnut no 1]

PROVENANCE: Stamped with the artists armorial stamp.

Signed, inscribed with the title in pencil, pencil and watercolour

300 x 300 mm. (11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.)

Rich luminous hues and gorgeously exotic and rare botanical specimens epitomise John Pastoriza-Piols work, however his are much more than mere flower paintings: closer inspection reveals a certain ambiguity of form and intent directing us towards a dark and complex narrative. John Pastoriza-Piols work fits uniquely between both the centuries-old tradition of botanical illustration and current contemporary art: while his paintings are botanically accurate and the verisimilitude is exceptional, purists might say that they do not strictly conform entirely to the precise definitions of botanical art.

John has developed a distinctive iconography in his work, and his colour palette is extraordinarily vivid. A master of his medium, his perfectly executed watercolours remain true to the accuracy that is vital to botanical illustration yet they have a fluidity and sensuality that stirs the viewer to experience more than a mere marvelling of technique. A sense of unease is created by the recurrent use of certain motifs that are uniquely his own: floating subjects devoid of shadows, minimalist compositions, clever use of negative space, and notably the broken or torn branches of his specimens. The scientific, the decorative and the subversive are daringly combined to create a contemporary narrative that goes far beyond the art of close observation: subtexts of separation, birth, death, sexuality, anxiety and the human experience elicit a more emotional response in his audience.

He began showing work internationally at the Royal Horticultural Society winter shows in Westminster London. Immediately after his Gold medal winning show in 2005, John Adams, curator of Ebury Galleries in London, offered him his first ever solo exhibition of botanical art to coincide with the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show. The exhibition was formally opened by the then Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency the Honourable Richard Alston, and was attended by many fine art collectors. It was an extraordinary opportunity for John to exhibit at a prominent fine art gallery in the heart of London.

Success from the UK exhibition resulted in his work being selected for inclusion in the Highgrove Florilegium, a project created under the aegis of the Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundation that celebrated and permanently recorded the flora in the garden at Highgrove. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, kindly invited John and others involved in the Highgrove Florilegium to visit the garden at Highgrove in July 2008.

Johns work is now held in numerous public and private collections around the world including: Hunt Institute, Carnegie Mellon University; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London; State collection, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; RMIT University and the Collection of Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton, to name a few. Along with private commissions, John is actively showing his work globally and has secured international venues in London, Paris, New York and Madrid. Being a recipient of many awards and accolades has afforded him international recognition.

John teaches intermediate/advanced classes at the Geelong Botanic Gardens, and has expanded his teaching circuit to include interstate and international master classes demonstrating his unique approach to the art form.

John is proudly represented by Nellie Castan Gallery in South Yarra, Victoria, one of Australia's most respected galleries committed to exhibiting emerging and mid-career artists.