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Exhibitions > underworld by John Jackson 210511

First Steps

First Steps

“FIRST STEPS” is painting depicting the past, present and future of the petroleum exploration and production industry. It represents Australia’s first commercial gas at Roma, the first commercial oil at Moonie and the Bowen Basin coal seam gas. Superimposed on the above are the sand grains of the Surat Basin.


In the bottom left hand corner are the beige and dark green Palaeozoic metasediments that form part of the basement beneath the Bowen and Surat Basins. The rest of the basement rocks are made up of the orange granites (in the bottom left), the beige and dark green metasediments of the Kumbarilla Ridge (in the lower right) and the dark and mid green with pale yellow folded Palaeozoic quartzites and metasediments (in the top  right).


The centre is dominated by the dark purple to mauve Permian coals of the Bowen Basin. These coals are fractured into pattern that is suggestive of a rib cage or backbone to give structure and support to the industry. Within the fractures are red gas (coal seam methane) and green oil. The red gas has migrated up to the top left on to the Roma Shelf where tan mud flats with mud cracks are dissected by orange channel sands that contain blue water and three red commercial gas accumulations. In the lower right, on the edge of the Kumbarilla Ridge is the green Mooie Oil Field.


The top layer of the painting contains rounded, orange, quartz grains of the Mesozoic Surat Basin that were derived from the orange granites in the bottom left. These quartz grains are painted like “golden orange champagne bubbles” rising in a purple and mauve champagne flute.


The red Roma Gas Fields and the green Moonie Oil Field represent the past. The red backbone within the purple to mauve coal represents the future with coal seam methane. The “golden orange bubbles” are a celebration to the Industry of Petroleum Exploration and Production.


This artwork graced the cover of Australia’s leading oil and Gas magazine, PESA in May 2010 and now belongs to a private collector in Brisbane.

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