Joshua Yeldham’s imagery is steeped in nature. His large works range from portraying the landscape with its stunning mystical trees, to figures with a tribal aesthetic, to his iconic owls which he has famously painted and sculpted multiple times over the years, even as a self portrait. 

As you get closer to these works you realise they are intricately composed with astonishing detail. And the marks aren’t limited to paint. They’re often created through carving into the board or paper and in some cases even by inserting pieces of cane into the surface which protrude to create an exciting visual experience. The sculptural quality of Joshua’s work is both beautiful and technically outstanding.

His works often reference the landscape near his home on Sydney’s Pittwater where untouched bushland converges on the Hawkesbury River, a short boat trip from his home. Nature plays a crucial role in his art and he spends significant periods of time connecting with it.

Although he experienced a challenging time at boarding school, his life took an adventurous turn when he completed his schooling in Switzerland – from risking his life in the mountains of Venezuela to living in an abandoned double decker bus in the Australian desert. His early successes even took him to L.A. after receiving an Emmy for a film he wrote, directed and produced in his early 20s.

He has exhibited in over 30 solo shows, including a well-received survey show, and his work is highly sought after in Australia and internationally. 

To hear my conversation with Joshua press ‘play’ beneath the above photo.

Scroll down to see a short video of Joshua in his studio where he talks with me about his influences, work and where he shows me how he uses a rotary tool to carve into his work.

His powerful exhibition ‘Providence’ was held at Sydney’s Arthouse Gallery in November 2020, opening shortly after this interview was recorded.

For more information about Joshua’s work, visit his website here.

Joshua Yeldham talks with Maria Stoljar in his studio
‘Monstera Deliciosa Owl’, 2020, acrylic and cane on hand-carved board, 210 x 159cm
‘Yeomans Bay – Bird Rock’, 2020, acrylic and cane on hand-carved board, 202 x 246cm
‘Angophora – Yeomans Bay’, 2020, acrylic and cane on hand-carved board
‘Providence’, 2020, acrylic cane and instrument on hand-carved board, 202 x 246cm
‘Self portrait – Morning Bay’, 2013, instrument, cane, shells and oil on carved board 200 x 244cm
Finalist, The Archibald Prize, 2013, AGNSW
‘Mother tree – Morning Bay’ 2017, acrylic on hand-carved paper, 210 x 210 cm
Finalist, The Wynne Prize, 2017, AGNSW

6 thoughts on “Ep 101: Joshua Yeldham

  1. Lisa Moroney

    Thanks again Maria,
    Wow! What a fabulous episode.
    I got to use all my brain cells at the one time listening to that one!!

    Grateful for what you do for us out here painting away alone.

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