Rohan Wealleans

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Born in Invercargill in 1977, Rohan Wealleans attended Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Painting in 2000. Wealleans went on to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts at Elam, graduating in 2003.

Producing what can loosely be described as 'sculptural painting', Wealleans' works stretch and in some places even pierce the boundaries of what is generally held to be the disciplines of painting, sculpture and even relief etching. Indeed, Wealleans would describe his work simply as 'painting' - relief, sculptural or otherwise - for, as he has argued, "It's still a surface, it's just it's not a flat surface".

Wealleans' devotion to the multifarious properties of paint and the process of layering gives him scope to explore ideas of exposition - of what lies underneath in both bodily and painterly attributes. Wealleans' works move from the solidly abstract, with an insistence on exposing the innards of the work (which Wealleans has carefully constructed through the atonal layering of house paint and the surgical flaying and dissecting of the work that exposes his process) to the metaphorical, complete with allusions to swollen pregnant bellies, microscopic organisms, spores or fungal growths, or geological strata to the plainly lewd with their labial slits and bulbous protrusions to the realm of the figurative, stretching between the recesses of his own imagination and the use of his painterly technique to cross-pollinate pop cultural references to the grotesque and the fascination with the 'other' commonly found in mutant superhero comic books, vintage horror stories and science fiction.

In 2004, Wealleans was selected as part of Te Papa's the "Art of the Nation: 1940 to today" that showcased the work of over 100 of New Zealand's most significant artists. In 2005, he won the Waikato Art Award and was made the prestigious Frances Hodgkins Fellow at Otago University, a residency that culminated in a solo show and catalogue produced by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Wealleans' gigantic fibreglass, steel and house paint 'sculpture' Tingler was awarded the 2006 James Wallace Trust Paramount Award and in 2007 his work was selected for inclusion in the national survey show Prospect 2007 at the Wellington City Gallery. He has recently been published in influential art commentator Warwick Brown's Seen This Century as one of Brown's 100 artists to watch and continues to produce work from his central Auckland studio.

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