Artist Bio: Dr Megan-Jane Johnstone

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Artist Bio - Dr Megan-Jane Johnstone

Megan-Jane Johnstone is contemporary artist who resides in Melbourne. She works in mixed media using water-based paints and acrylic inks. Her paintings are of the wonderous iconic landscapes found in the outback regions of Australia and encompass contemporary and abstract expressions of the magical colours and natural patterns in the land that are characteristic of those regions.

Megan-Jane’s work reflects her enduring wonderment evoked by the ‘fullness of emptiness’ of the vast Australian outback and its ancient geological formations – its curved gullies, craters, cliffs and crevices, geographical zeugen, yardangs and ventifacts, wadis and wetlands, and the monolithic stone tors that stand out majestically against the seemingly endless flat land that surrounds them. It also reflects her awe of the incredible array of native grasses, shrubs and trees that create distinctive patterns across the landscape and which sometimes appear to be growing on ‘nothing’. The lines and circles, cracks, dots, dashes and squiggles, stripes, ripples and spirals, tessellations and meanders featured in Megan-Jane’s paintings have all been directly informed by the colours and contours of the land and the magical array of natural hues, shapes and patterns that are so characteristic of the Australian outback and which distinguish it from other parts of Australia.

Prior to taking up her recent art practice, Megan-Jane had a distinguished 43year career in nursing–the last 30 years of which were spent in the university sector. Her academic positions have included appointments as professor of nursing respectively at RMIT University and Deakin University, Melbourne. She is renowned internationally for her work as a leading scholar in the field of nursing and health care ethics and is the author of several books. In the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, Megan-Jane was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for 'distinguished service to medical education in the field of nursing and healthcare ethics, to patients' rights, and to professional standards.'

Megan-Jane formally retired from her academic position in 2017 to re-engage with her childhood ambition to be a visual artist. Her growing art portfolio is a realisation of this ambition and her desire to evoke in her audience the wonder, joy and quickening sense of life that artistic images of Australian outback landscapes can inspire. It is also chronicles what, for her, has been a natural transition from an extensive 43-year career in nursing to a new career as a visual artist. As a health professional and as a scholar in the field of human bioethics she has long been aware of the terrible pain, hurt and suffering that human beings can experience as a result of illness and injury and the unexpected tragedies of life. She sees art has having a very important role to play in helping people to deal with adversity - to see beyond the chaos of their circumstances and to find a point of order that will help them to stay grounded as they navigate the twists and turns of life.

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