As a painter, he is known for panoramic layered city vistas, fragmentary works, and figurative groupings and has a long held preoccupation for the way human beings negotiate territories. Within his paintings, drawings and prints we see influences of contemporary global culture, the fluidity of life and recent history that range from science fiction and film through to urban social debates. His extensive travels in Asia and living in cities such as New York, London and Venice have deeply influenced his practice.
In 2006, Jon Cattapan was honoured with a major retrospective The Drowned World: Jon Cattapan works and collaborations at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. In 2008 he was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial to become Australia’s 63rd Official War Artist and was deployed to Timor Leste, where he explored night vision technology as an aesthetic tool, which continues to inform his work. In his most recent work, the artist has returned to exploring figurative interplays as a way of commenting on our unstable times.
Cattapan was announced as the recipient of the 2013 Bulgari Art Award Fellowship and in 2016 he won the Moya Gold Award through Rockhampton Art Gallery. Cattapan’s works are represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His work is also held in major private and corporate collections.