REALISTIC: John Spies' artwork 'Cat Walk' depicts the fine detail his artworks embodied.
REALISTIC: John Spies' artwork 'Cat Walk' depicts the fine detail his artworks embodied. Contributed

LAST LOOK: Spies' unique wildlife artworks on display

A RARE exhibition by the late wildlife artist John Spies will be held in the Wondai Regional Art Gallery.

The exhibition, which will be on display in July and early August, was arranged by John's widow Marjie Spies over two years.

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This will be a fascinating look at one of Australia's most unusual, prolific and talented artists.

It will bring together for possibly the last time a unique collection of works by John Spies.

Many of the pieces on display have come from private collections and have not been seen publicly for about a quarter of a century.

The wildlife artist was born partially blind in Veenendaal, Holland on July 31, 1933.

When he was four-years-old, Spies had an operation which successfully restored his sight and changed his life forever.

He enjoyed solitude and loved to wander in the nearby woods and forests of his homeland where he befriended many small nocturnal creatures.

This love for the animals and forest was the essence of Spies' persona and art -the solitude, reflection, observation and a deep appreciation of life in its many forms.

 

WILDLIFE: The artworks of late wildlife artist John Spies will be on display at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery during July.
WILDLIFE: The artworks of late wildlife artist John Spies will be on display at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery during July. Contributed

Spies emigrated to Australia with his parents when he was a young man.

Today his art speaks volumes for his love of wild animals and the special affiliation he had with them.

Spies' determination is evident in his works, with painstaking, minute brushstrokes and weeks of careful artistry necessary to paint his incredible pictures of nocturnal creatures.

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Curators have said Spies' painted creatures look so real, people viewing the art have actually reached out to stroke the animal's fur.

In the week's prior to his death, Spies was determined to complete a series of interviews for a television documentary about his life and art, despite his health being on the point of critical collapse.

He wanted only to complete what he had started and to explain to the world his lifelong passion and love for art and wildlife.

He died on February 26, 2007 after suffering from terminal mesothelioma, a result of working as an asbestos layer.

He leaves behind his art as a legacy of a man who was one of Australia's great wildlife artists.

The John Spies posthumous wildlife art exhibition will run in the Wondai Regional Art Gallery for a month, at 6pm on Friday, July 5.

This may be the last opportunity for the public to see Spies' beautiful and endearing work first hand.

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