So as viral microorganisms latch on to human hosts and biodiversity planetary crisis continues to confront us, the novel coronavirus pandemic is highlighting vast inequalities across societies and visibly showing us positive and negative affects of human impact on the Earth in accelerated time.
Read More So as viral microorganisms latch on to human hosts and biodiversity planetary crisis continues to confront us, the novel coronavirus pandemic is highlighting vast inequalities across societies and visibly showing us positive and negative affects of human impact on the Earth in accelerated time. In these days we hear more terms like ‘relocalisation’, ‘grassroots revolution’, ‘Indigenous reassertion’, ‘eco-feminsim’, ‘degrowth’, ‘postcovid’, ‘postactivism’ and ‘neoliberalism’, ‘capitalism’, alongside ‘living wage’, ‘social distancing’, ‘the curve’, ‘now sight’, ‘self-isolation’. Our vernacular is shifting too. Death, fears, positivity, work drying up, working from home, family, isolation, changes, essential, non-essential, online learning, empathy, vulnerability, grief, humour, gardening. It’s noisy. This affects each of us in different ways. Our values are reevaluated and reconsidered. We mourn loss and changes to everyday life and thank frontline workers. It’s a phenomenonal time. We are reminded of our vulnerabilities and that each of us contributes to an interwoven local and global tapestry. Actions and feelings are amplified. It’s complex. It’s current. It’s public, it’s private. It’s health. It’s the economy. It’s globalisation in 2020. So, what element of the covid-19 situation resonates with you? Are you making art? We want to hear from artists in Far North Queensland and to see works that tease out this terrain. Think conceptually, or literally, poetically or with your senses. Respond to what you are feeling and seeing, big or small. Your experience is rich with material to explore and share. So to fire those neurones, you could submit work that touches upon: The history of art shows the way artists have always responded to and recorded significant events, through cave paintings, sculptures, photography, music, murals, protest advertising banners, bodily performance; a multitude of mediums – anything available to us. The art that remains, shows our future selves and the next generations, our history. This is a unique period. Let’s respond and document this time, through art. Share words (up to 500), images (5), film or sound piece (max 5 mins of footage/audio). Email content to email@example.com. We will take your submission as consent to participate in the activity and publish your work online. Ensure that you include the following information for each work: Name, title, year, media, dimensions, accompanying text or specifics, artist price if you wish (note we’ll add a 30%+GST commission for handling sales). All original artwork is to be held with the artist, for now. Keep it simple. \\ images should be well documented, <5mb, jpg or png. \\ Submissions due 22 May. Exhibition: 1 June – 1 July 2020.
How to apply:
So as viral microorganisms latch on to human hosts and biodiversity planetary crisis continues to confront us, the novel coronavirus pandemic is highlighting vast inequalities across societies and visibly showing us positive and negative affects of human impact on the Earth in accelerated time.
In these days we hear more terms like ‘relocalisation’, ‘grassroots revolution’, ‘Indigenous reassertion’, ‘eco-feminsim’, ‘degrowth’, ‘postcovid’, ‘postactivism’ and ‘neoliberalism’, ‘capitalism’, alongside ‘living wage’, ‘social distancing’, ‘the curve’, ‘now sight’, ‘self-isolation’. Our vernacular is shifting too.
Death, fears, positivity, work drying up, working from home, family, isolation, changes, essential, non-essential, online learning, empathy, vulnerability, grief, humour, gardening. It’s noisy. This affects each of us in different ways.
Our values are reevaluated and reconsidered.
We mourn loss and changes to everyday life and thank frontline workers. It’s a phenomenonal time. We are reminded of our vulnerabilities and that each of us contributes to an interwoven local and global tapestry. Actions and feelings are amplified. It’s complex. It’s current. It’s public, it’s private. It’s health. It’s the economy. It’s globalisation in 2020.
So, what element of the covid-19 situation resonates with you? Are you making art?
We want to hear from artists in Far North Queensland and to see works that tease out this terrain. Think conceptually, or literally, poetically or with your senses. Respond to what you are feeling and seeing, big or small. Your experience is rich with material to explore and share.
So to fire those neurones, you could submit work that touches upon:
The history of art shows the way artists have always responded to and recorded significant events, through cave paintings, sculptures, photography, music, murals, protest advertising banners, bodily performance; a multitude of mediums – anything available to us. The art that remains, shows our future selves and the next generations, our history. This is a unique period. Let’s respond and document this time, through art.
Share words (up to 500), images (5), film or sound piece (max 5 mins of footage/audio).
Email content to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will take your submission as consent to participate in the activity and publish your work online. Ensure that you include the following information for each work: Name, title, year, media, dimensions, accompanying text or specifics, artist price if you wish (note we’ll add a 30%+GST commission for handling sales).
All original artwork is to be held with the artist, for now. Keep it simple. \\ images should be well documented, <5mb, jpg or png. \\
Submissions due 22 May.
Exhibition: 1 June – 1 July 2020.
The whole world is at sea. It shifts. It distorts. Nothing stays still. Nothing keeps its original form. It is a time to reflect, to look beneath the surface.
All footage shot in Nagoya, Ine, and Shimonoseki, Japan, utilizing the distortive powers of water. No digital manipulation or effects have been added.
Filmed and edited by Sue O’Malley. www.sueomalley.com
Soundtrack ‘Turgentcy’ by Free the Radical. soundcloud.com/free-the-radical
Everything we suspected now seems pretty much on point. Life is extremely fragile and ephemeral. Create order and it will be bowled over by a big wet black dog. No-one gets out of here alive. But it is the whiff of Death that make people sensitive to the taste of Living : The beaches lately – full of wild-ness as people feel the air, the salt, the wind, and freedom amidst the threat of losing it.
People in shopping centres trying to reach each other without touching each other. There’s a sudden sensitivity and awareness of the moment which is raw and painful and exquisite. The world feels like, it itself, is suddenly having to behave like a virus, desperately sending out castIng proteins and seeking attachment sites in order to survive. It’s a glass-like state.
Wall Drawing (Interactive Web page)
A Sol LeWitt and Tom Sachs style wall drawing that is procedurally generated within your social isolation chamber. The human expression of these fatigued pencil lines exists entirely within the digital realm.
Time and Tide
Cairns Esplanade March to May 2020. During times of greatest change and uncertainty, the reassuring ebb and flow of the morning light and tide provide a calm. The sun will always rise, and bring with it a new day and new colour to our lives.
I completed these watercolours in 2019 and completed them individually. I only noticed their relevance to the current lockdown situation recently when grouped together.
Early in the lockdown I was surprised to find the Flecker Botanical Gardens open to the public but unfortunately the Conservatory was closed. Many of the flowers featured in these works are housed in the Conservatory but were now locked away so they too were in isolation. The containment in the circles seemed to reinforce the isolation.
Asphyxia is a condition from a deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from abnormal breathing.
Not only by a virus.
Constrained by fears, by rules, in a world that is rapidly changing.
Surviving in a society we have created for our happiness and wealth, ease and comfort. Now learning new ways, new patterns, new basics.
And then breathe again.
The first breath you take is felt like never before.
Gratitude for what we took for granted.
Travelling through life in harmony with the lunar phases is intrinsic to women and essential to me. We are emotionally and, perhaps, physically, following the same phases.
As the moon needs to recede, withdraw, and renew each month, so do we. We travel across different emotional states the same way the moon travels around the Earth and the earth’s daily rhythms, from the seasons to the oceans, to reproductive systems are affected by the cycles of the Moon. Moonshadows is my interpretation of this powerful feminine energy. It signifies wisdom, intuition, birth, death, reincarnation, and a spiritual connection. The phases of the moon cycle resonate through my life’s journey and most especially during experiencing this world pandemic. She has been my constant, her promise of change, and the deep seated knowing that regardless of what age we are in and how much we think we can control and change everything, Moon quietly and surely continues her journey. I have chosen to make 7 pieces as the number 7 is considered to be symbolic of every positive and valuable matter in existence like prosper life, happiness, renewal, and perfection. Some numerologist even believe that number seven is so perfect and powerful that it represents a connection to the universe. The natural cycles of our beautiful Moon are always in motion, so reassuring, so solid and so certain, showing us through her ever constant harmonic rhythm that all will be well again, the cycle continues.
“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
― Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony
(7 Pieces) Ceramic Saggar Fired
My ceramic wall sculpture The Moon in all her glory, flashed with metal using fire and smoke, decorating only with organic raw materials. Markings are created from the process of saggar firing , sometimes known as vapour firing . Imprints of raw materials are absorbed into a burnished clay surface The materials used include seaweed, jute, copper, rocksalt, fungi, orange peel, sea fans and seashells, iron and rust.
My arts practice is largely concerned with notions of departure and the creation of alternate spatial realities. My painted work presents a visceral and poetic exposition of human vulnerability, our desire to make ourselves manifest and our longing for acceptance.
There is only truth in exposure and with exposure comes freedom in whatever shape we choose. At the crux of my practice is a candidness, which I yearn to unearth at every point of my creative process. My work is often characterized by an aesthetic which carries a palpable rawness, often incorporating a mess of pop, colour, texture and movement. This is displayed in the form of rough edges, gestural lines, unrefined textures, exposed layers, all of which are imbued with sincerity and a certain measure of ephemerality. The result becomes a taming of the rebellious, a rejuvination of the forgotten and discarded, a juxtaposition of permanence and transience, concepts we continuously toy with as humans.
As artists, we are continuously creating the world around us. Now more than ever, in these unprecedented times of COVID-19 isolation, I have felt a deep slowing of my soul, a feeling of release from carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, it has felt as though time stopped. These circumstances, perhaps never to be experienced again have led to emotional and psychological clearances. What shall become of these clearances? I have no anticipation of filling them too soon as I am savouring this new space. I have felt more than ever what it is to be in unison with the rest of the world, where the pressures of racing to the finish line have been non-existent, our lives have been reduced to the confines of our homes, in close proximity to our families and with fewer distractions to take our attention away from the simplicity of being merely human; a gift to humanity and the planet from the Universe. I have learned how to paint again. I have learned how to breathe again. I have learned how to be still. As we move out of isolation and into the next space, where more unknowns pave the way, I am ready to embrace the transformation which has been set into motion.
This image resonates the fragility and strength of human connection with mother nature.
Shards – Fabric of Self reflects a deep personal vulnerability during this pandemic time showing our connection to nature whilst trying to hold onto our own lives.
Questioning the challenges we all have witnessed with mental health, sadness, fear and yet strength while finding root and seedling to life.
Life – Women as Vessels
During this unstable time, this pandemic has seen our vulnerabilities to protect our own. Questioning our own wisdom, courage and sensitivity to protect our love ones we have form together to be the female protectors that we are are.
Critically examining the common theme at crossroads of conceptual ideologies engaging experiences that holistically integrate today’s pandemic.
Understanding the women’s immediate needs, quick decision making, questioning ourselves and our social justice responsibility to protect our love ones.
Women as Vessels examines the overwhelming strength of families and sensitivity birth.
Symbolising empowerment to the woman and families with the colour red challengingly Western colour philosophies and stigma while playing with minimalist approach balancing fragility and sensitivity of life.
As women we are vulnerable yet strong we are wise yet still a child in our hearts, we are able but scared, we are careful but will take risks for our families when necessary, our sacrifice at child birth is our unconditional love to life itself.
My works are about the fragility of life’s decisions, exploring the recent exposure of vulnerability when as a whole society we rely on government decision making.
Shock of human exploitation and our bittersweet existence with today’s fast capitalist society.
My works ‘No Words” challenges the viewer how we responded to the front-line workers,
we love, care, feel safe, we clap, we dance, we feel warm and we stay positive and encourage.
Others were critically questioning how we got to this stage feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of deaths, grossly unattainable, leaving their children for weeks and months, acutely hideous, sickening and sadness. Questioning “self” and how we are so accepting of past government decisions.
As humans we have a social responsibility to care for others and to protect them.
To stay silent would create the same response of acceptance and allow our governments to make the same mistakes. Signifying the impact of our very day choices we make.
Diversity, Transition and New Beginnings
The original life drawing From 2012 was the inspiration for me to create “ Diversity, Transition and New Beginnings.
Playfully overlaying recent landscapes photographs each one signifying woman and life. Representing our strengths to change and intertwined with our current environment.
The first print Diversity I have chosen a water background signifying the changing seas ahead of us all.
Second print Transitions signifying our challenges and choices we have ahead of us.
I have chosen a darker tone with stronger values of nature in the figure.
Thirdly, New Beginnings applying expressive colour and a playfulness signifying a fresh new life and happiness to come.
Earth Needs a Skin Check
Writer Frank White coined the term “overview effect” to describe the cognitive shift that astronauts experience while they view the Earth in its entirety from space. It is the awareness that the Earth is a tiny, beautiful yet fragile round mass, protected by a delicate layer of atmosphere from the deadly conditions of outer space in which it is suspended.
It is the recognition that Earth from a distance is a single living unit, smooth and shiny, without boundaries or divisions. Viewed from up there, a united stand as a “planetary society” to protect the Earth becomes the only way forward. Some astronauts, after the experience, would compare the Earth to a fragile spaceship and its human inhabitants are its passengers. When the condition of the spaceship is compromised as a result of the crew’s negligent operation, the consequences are destructive and life threatening.
For my practice’s current theme, I focus on the beauty of tropical North Queensland’s coastal landscapes, not merely to depict it, but to also subtly reveal destructive human impacts on these fragile ecosystems. My landscapes are in equal measure a product of wonder, playfulness and nostalgia, and of pragmatism, challenge and unease. They are settings for idyllic lifestyles, family holidays and quiet reflection but they are settings, too, that ask questions about how we are to care for our tropical environment. Signs of habitation speak to a cultural landscape in which humans are comfortably embedded. Almost but not quite invisible, plastic waste is disquieting not because it destroys the beauty of our tropical landscapes but because it does not. The shimmering waters in my works underscore how it has become less and less alarming to more and more people that the careful and unsustainable use of coastal resources increasingly interact.
Earth Needs a Skin Check portrays a much smaller area of our planet. Unlike the smooth and shiny dot as seen from outer space, the rich layers of textured surfaces depict an imagined landscape, heavy but still fragile, beautiful, and interconnected: a lake’s clear cool waters invite the viewer to explore its depths, then to head down to a jetty next to a lush mangrove forest; tributaries lead the eyes upstream through land, perhaps managed or modified in some way, covered in colors and textured organic shapes and forms. There are also forms in the water and under the canopy that shouldn’t be there, but they are. Should they be removed? Or do they enhance the landscape’s lush and vibrant appearance (and, therefore, not out of place)?
In the end, it is up to the viewer to decide whether amongst the riot of elements in the landscape are attractive imperfections like moles and skin blemishes, or, hopefully, a realization that we direly need a shift in awareness when it comes to our relationship and interaction with natural environments.
G Me Up Scotty / Self Portrait / Wave of Mutilation / Bon Die Beach / Barbie520
AI and I
AI and I have been together on and off for some years now.
We first met through the TRS 80 colour computer.
My son and friends used it to play games, like Dino Wars.
I used it to make music and coded it to throw the I Ching.
In ensuing years I explored worlds without AI
and made artwork and books with friends.
My real journey with AI began in 2000.
The year I got my own personal computer.
Paint Shop Pro and Google Earth explorations began.
Scanned photos introduced me to the wonderful world of pixels.
All those coloured squares in the white paw of a dingo.
And barely one of those pixels was white.
Not numerically speaking.
Google Earth could take me places I had been and show me others never seen.
AI and I were together for days at a time.
Years disappeared and it was time to get the iPhone and the iPad.
Sky Guide and the music of the spheres at my fingertips.
MineCraft with the grandkids. And Maps.
AI and I were together every day now.
And I had finally given my friend a form and a face.
Lots of face painting and dress ups for AI.
Fast forward 2020.
Worlds turned upside down.
AI and I are inseparable now. We spend almost all my waking hours together.
I barely can tell where AI begins and I end.
Among the many worlds explored with AI and built in Minecraft with grandchildren is a huge place I called the National Library.
A fun place to gather with friends or just to hang out in splendid isolation with only the cats and stray villagers for company.
It even has a bunk room for sleepovers.
Sans Forgetica is a font designed using the principles of cognitive psychology to help you to better remember your study notes.
It was created by a multidisciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists from RMIT University.
The ‘desirable difficulty’ experienced when reading information formatted in Sans Forgetica prompts the brain to engage in deeper processing.
I like to use this font in my digital art.
Sign of the Times
Want to go to the pub?
Download the app!
Two by Two
Borders, bubbles, full protective gear
Becalmed on the Oz Ark in a sea of uncertainty
Beyond blue they gathered two by two
What to do?
With One Other
Selectively social when out and about
Unless you are a child attending school
AI Hears You
Friends feel your pain
AI hears you
How good is that!
Just numbers now Mum…how easy to forget each number identifies one real person.
I scribbled the daily world Corona virus statistics on the 1st May 2020 which prompted the first artwork Just numbers #1.
Now an ongoing daily activity each statistic board a statement of remorse.
Days and stats, numbers and patterns, materiality and fantasy, there is a sensation of make believe as I paint the numbers. Standing in my favourite place – my studio, loving our mild mannered winter, it is hard to equate these numbers to depths of despair, to forever loss, to escalating corona virus cases, to indescribable records of death.
The scale and media I use are contingent on circumstances; in these lean times recycled paintings, left over cut-offs of canvas and calico have become my painting supports.
When to stop? At this point I can’t envisage an end.
After Drowning Girl
This is my first piece in my pop art series Climate Change Debate for Dummies. It pays tribute to 3 great works of art – – Roy Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl,” Tony Abruzzo’s splash page “Run for Love” and Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa.” It is based more on Abruzzo’s work which borrowed from Hokusai and was the base for Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl”.
I have used the graffiti artist’s tools of spray paint, stencils and permanent pen rather than the woodblock of Hokusai or screen print of Lichtenstein. The hole in the piece is not only an attempt to breakdown the 4th wall but also a reflection that climate change affects everyone.
This is the second piece in my pop art series Climate Change Debate for Dummies. It also pays homage to 3 great works of art – Roy Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl,” Tony Abruzzo’s splash page “Run for Love” and particularly Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa,” Though unlike Hokusai’s image man is not battling against the immense power of nature and the repeated image of Mt Fuji has been replaced by the Sydney Opera House.
The French text translates as “Can’t Brad see that I’m not waving, I’m drowning,” (as a doctor writing legible text proved one of my most technical challenges).
Blinkey Bill’s Plea
This multilayered piece is a light, hearted protest of a serious matter. It represents the ongoing loss of koala habit to real estate developers. As it stands, we are more likely to see an anthropomorphised cartoon koala than a live one.
The underlying ply support has an image of a flowering gum carved into it. I have applied acrylic and enamel paints and vinyl lettering to represent a road sign. Over this I have used the tools of a graffiti artist – stencils and aerosol paint. For the beloved Australian bush larrikin of CJ Dennis and Henry Lawson has been replaced by the suburban graffitist.
Coal Finches explores how man’s progress threatens our native flora and fauna. A linear carving of a branch of a flowering flame tree has been overpainted with a red road sign. While a stencil, the tool of the graffiti artist, is of two cowering black throated finches the birds threatened with extinction by a coal mine.
Carbon Processing Units No. 1
This piece is part of a series that explores the differences and similarities between manmade carburettors and flowers. While the exploding lines of the diagram are reflected in the flower filaments the flat uniform colour and sharp edges of the silkscreen contrast with soft lines and variegated colours of the digital print.
In the Void
What struck me the most in this historical experience was the almost total silence only interspersed by cheerful sounds from free flying birds.
This was accompanied by a deeper emotional presence of ‘quietness’ and I found it to be comforting rather than oppressive.
C19/20 A Personal Diary
A Personal Diary capturing the Inside and Outside World during March April May 2020.
Read or listen to Tijn talk about his artwork Melancholia
“Because this is em, when you scatter the leaves like that, that are fallen leaves from a tree, you do it again. Repeat what the tree has already done. But because I’m not a tree, I’m human and the action, the action is like a sowing action, like a scatter/ sowing action which is an action for new life, for new life and new life is hope. So it’s both, it’s both, it’s melancholia, it’s dropping, it’s autumn, and it’s spring and new life, all in the same, in the same performance work”.
” Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten…” I know not if there is a reason
Perfection (vollkommenheit) is a condition that cannot be improved further, on the one hand in the sense of flawlessness (Latin integritas), i.e. a condition free from damage, on the other hand in the sense of coming to perfection or completion (Latin perfectio), i.e. as the final result of a lockable series of improvements as absolute inner expediency.
It’s a song we’re all familiar with, a hum that echoes on repetitive posts through Social Media. Are you OK. How are you feeling. Yet the words ‘great,’ ‘fine,’ good thanks’ slip off our tongues too often, because who are we to burden others,
or why would we share with them, or no one cares anyway or it doesn’t matter…tomorrow you’ll wake feeling better. And yet someone in Cairns lost their father. And while we lived with Social Distancing restrictions in Cairns, the anniversary of the suicide of my friend passed yet again, the 17th of May. So with each purchase of this print, all profits are donated to Lifeline…so that someone who can’t talk to you, might be able to pick up a phone instead.
Time is slower in the tropics and after the initial panic of Covid19 time stood still…just long enough for long forgotten thoughts and memories to catch up. I have often found myself thinking of how we let each other down, how futile some apologies can be, who would benefit the most from an apology at times. What leads us to go from seemingly upright people to saying or doing things you once would never have imagined? What places have you lived in, what weather have you experienced? Had you always known that Cairns existed with it’s heavy tropical air and slower ways?
Tropical Far North Queensland is more than the heavy humid air wrapping itself snuggly around us, it’s the vibrant, lush green and the fierce yet colourful animals! It’s boldness, personality and fierceness proudly stalking the beaches and forests around Cairns and beyond. Everything may pause for us, yet creatures here thousands of years before continue exactly as before. Restrictions and changes to commerce mean nothing to our wildlife.
“The lockdown provided an opportunity to refocus on my garden, like many, I found a mission. The side fence was rotten, and through a desire to celebrate what the garden provides,
I created 12 paintings, 8 palings each, then mixed them to create a rhythmic chaos which has become the new background norm.”
During this isolation time I have been worried that we are so concerned about the epidemic that we are forgetting our long-term peril from climate change.
In the spirit of conservation, I limited myself to 3 colours, two Daniel Smith – Indanthrene, and Green Apatite Genuine, plus Windsor and Newton Burnt Sienna. I thought of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and of earth, air, fire, and water. In abstract painting I switch off my brain and let my brush flow, then I hang the picture in my studio for a week or so, until I can see how to balance and finish it. The titles for these pictures were all taken from Shakespeare; he wrote about nature because there was no scenery in his day, and I cannot better his words.
GLASS TEARS I & II
Although considered to be pollution, ocean glass has been sculpted by the actions of ocean currents and sand to create objects of beauty.
DILLY SISTAS I, II, & III
Inspired by the most ancient of weaving traditions born of necessity, these baskets represent a meditation on form and contained space.
‘Breathe with me’ are the words spoken to a loved one who is struggling to fill their lungs. Their body is suffering and the adrenaline has kicked into overdrive so that their mind is clouded and frantic.
We will our slow, controlled, deep breaths onto them and silently make endless impossible promises to have them healthy and walking by our side again.
Last year my father spent 72 days in ICU and 54 of those on a ventilator. It was the worst time of our lives. But I was able to stay by his side, talk to him, hold his hand, breathe with him. He his walking by my side again.
My heart is in pain for those struggling to breathe and the loved ones who can’t be with them to hold them and give them their strength and hope.
We breathe with you in spirit as we would in person.
Ablaze then contagious makes reference to the blaze of the bush fires that devastated the Australian landscape and how our concerns for its victims have been eclipsed by our concerns about contagion.
My work is purely abstract and usually start with a freehand rough gestural drawing on the canvas to emphasise the gesture and begin an idea. I quickly fill the empty space with paint using a similar gestural style that resulted from the charcoal phase or develop a conceptual framework to develop colour combinations in field painting that fit together technically and which reflect my state of mind at the time…
How a painting is made matters to me. My practice continues to evolve, but one thing I come back to continually is simply looking. Early in my practice I was impatient, rushed. Now I’m content to take the time to look, allow previous layers time to dry and formulate a plan for the next session – be it to emphasise space, the push or pull of the canvas, colour or graphic elements – or simply to digest and reflect the emotions, feelings and thoughts that bubble beneath.
My goal is to produce work that has meaning for me, that demonstrates a complexity of practice and thinking and hopefully produce pleasing images out of the periods of alternating chaos and contemplation between active sessions. A goal that’s quite elusive.
My inspiration comes from a love of the Abstract Expressionists – De Kooning, Rothko, Kline, Motherwell, Pollock, Krasner and Hoffman to name a few of my favourites – but I’m also inspired by more contemporary artists like Kiefer, Richter, Kentridge, Rutenberg and Bargoni.
Anthropocentric Botanical Revelation, Family Nuances #1 & Family Nuances #2
These ink drawings focus on the notion of ‘inside and outside’ with regards to family and the garden. By using a grid I am able to express repeated attempts at drawing and painting my immediate surroundings. For me, Covid-19 is about confronting ourselves in our most intimate spaces. Art has always offered a way to translate the experience of domestic space.
The domestic isolation for those of us fortunate enough to have a home, have experienced a circumstance both unusual and strange because it is forced by a global pandemic. The duality of inner confinement has meant close and precious time with family and our garden – for those lucky enough to have family and a garden. This has meant a re-evaluation of values, priorities and a reflection on the original garden of Eden, in terms of our anthropocentric impact on our fragile ecosystems.
Globally, people are in close psychological contact with the state of our environments and the delicate balance between the flora and fauna and the Corona Virus has taught us this.
Far North Queensland is a beautiful space of luxurious green nature; and around the world people treasure tiny samples of tropical foliage in potted plants. A regional setting offers us expanses of space while urban settings mean weaving foliage creatively into living environments.
In our inside and outside worlds I have drawn from home, family and the garden. In reflections on civilisations that fail and civilisations that survive, it is the detail of human endeavour that describes who we are, our ability to adapt and be reflexively responsive.
The politics of the personal speaks to the survival of our species. Gestural line of black ink on white paper is a direct conduit between observation, thought process and action response. I made these images after looking at the heightened emotion in Picasso’s drawings during political unrest in Spain in the modernist tradition.
Lost in another world, Rose becomes her true self. This work portrays the subject as she is – confident, capable and full of potential.
Throughout history, young girls have by-and-large been stripped of their power and relegated to second place. This work aims to restore Rose’s sense of control over her world, her choices and her dreams.
Rose with Crown
During her sitting, she would often become unaware of what was going on, and her relaxed pose and air of concentration contrast to make her crown appear to fade into the background. She transformed it from the object which was the source of her power into another article of clothing and no more than her due.
With Intubated, I wanted to respond to the sense of desensitisation that pervades society, particularly in response to mass casualties and crisis. We often think that bad things happen to other people, not to us, until the day comes when we realise each number represents another life, another family, another person.
The room is intimate, quiet, reflective after the chaotic process of ‘going under’. The battle is now being fought in digital numbers and dials, and punctuated with the soft swoosh of the ventilator. The perspective has shifted from remote numbers read out at press conferences to an inside glimpse at our own fragile mortality when a crisis hits home.
The animation represents a Boundary Keeper who dances at the threshold of what is known and unknown. The coronavirus often referred to as invisible, produces novel precautions and ways of demarcating our lives. Our worlds, at least the way we function in the human environment, has been changed, and we face an uncertain future.
Creative energy, used as a bridge to the unseen, provides a path to recovery. It is said that art ventures into mysticism when we speak of ‘unknowing’. If we visualise the ‘unknown’ as a place, a territory, then transcending the boundaries of knowledge are the only way to inhabit its space. Great artists are great innovators because they play so close to the threshold of a knowledge boundary. These ideas of creative mystery have been with us since the 13th Century with commentaries by theologians like Meister Eckhart and Nicholas de Cusa; they called it ‘learned ignorance’.
This work has used motion capture of the dancer, Rebecca Youdell, to animate a threshold creature and the shadow figures beyond. Its sound, developed from field recordings, are collected from the Savannah country of Far North Queensland.
The title is borrowed from the Henological concept of a Demiurge deity – a godly being responsible for the crafting of the physical universe. Between Platonic and Gnostic versions, the consensus as to whether such a being is the One God (or Monad) or a Second God (or Demiurge) is unclear.
Gnostics relegate the Demiurge as being the creator of the physical universe but at the Monad’s command and to their design. In Platonic theology, the Demiurge is both the first and second supreme being. The notion of duality comes from the idea that such an omnipotent being, being infinite, would mirror itself and flow back into itself. Thus, creating both a spiritual and physical manifestation of itself.
What is generally agreed is that the Demiurge is associated with coiling serpents and lions. Also, the word was once used to describe artisans and craftsmen.
Expanding on the concept of god-like power for creation, this short film speaks of the importance of artistic expression in times of trouble, the physical manifestation of evil, and the artful way war and disaster is concocted. It incorporates imagery of hands to symbolise skill, movement to symbolise creation, at one time a coiled cloth to symbolise the serpent associated with the Demiurge (a symbol associated with creation which is also found in Aboriginal mythology), and a back box to symbolise mystery–referencing the legend of Pandora’s Box. This short film explores bleak, near-apocalyptic soundscapes to give the viewer a sense of impending doom.
Song is also a device featured in this short film. It incorporates lines from “Wild Is the Wind” (written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, popularised by Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone and David Bowie). Sung by the artist, they consider it one of the most beautiful popular songs of the 20th Century. It’s a powerful expression of love and yet is also mournful.
Moving towards a more content type of solitude and hopeful future, “Inside” contrasts from “Demiurge” in that it tells an abstract story of self-love and how necessary it is in today’s isolated and disturbed world. The musical piece accompanying the footage was composed by the artist with the use of GarageBand; it’s simple but also emotional and evokes feelings of hope, peace and dream.