Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beetle

Just for a change I've posted these beetle pictures.
Every year a group of these beetles come to this same
tree in our front yard to mate. They also chew the bark, as
you can see by the photo. There is usually about 50 or so at one
time , hanging around mostly in pairs - like in this photo.

I assume the bigger one is the male, for obvious reasons.
They make a hissing sound as you poke at them
and try to nip you with those big horns.
These beetles are very common in Queensland, Australia,
but only at certain times of the year. They are attracted to the light
and can be found hanging round the back door with the cane toads.
They are very slow and can be easily be picked up.
I found one dead on the sidewalk in town
the other night - the dogs gave it a sniff.
Years ago when I was living in Yeppoon, we had a visitation
of these beetles in our front paddock.
The tree was almost totally covered in beetles, literally thousands.
The tree was also dripping with this white liquid.
The beetles were all hissing at the same time,
which was bizarre to hear.
Around the tree in the same paddock, was a number
brahman cattle (The ones with the humps)
which really set the scene.
Strange things happen in the far north, far from the city crowds.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Circus

When the kids were younger, we visited the Circus.
I took the mighty SLR and snapped a few shots.
I was always fascinated by the sense of atmosphere
and lighting in the tent.
Little faces all focused on the centre ring.
The bizarre little performers eking out a living.
The weird shadows and sad clowns on the fringes.
This drawing is really based on the impressed
memory of those photos.
Sort of a combine of various snaps of a burlesque event.
The original photos were coloured, but for some reason
I remember printing black and whites.
Maybe, I was influenced by all those weird carny/circus films
we watched as kids, on black and white TV's in the sixties.
Anyway, this quick sketch suggests a whole potential
series. A potential wonderland of animals,
carnies, acrobats, bearded ladies, and circus tents etc.
I know it's been done before, but I would like to
one day, portray the bizarre, darker side of circus life.

Circus Performer

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Snake

These are only parts of drawings that I have
depicted here. These drawings I have been working on
for a year or so. They form a small portion of the unfinished
drawings stockpiled on my drawing desk. It can take
one day to finish an artwork or three years.

I have bits of vague ideas that I add as I go to each
work. One night or day an artwork might get more
attention than another and therefore progress
closer to being finished. There is no real method in
this, but just a commitment to finish what I start.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes
you can be surprised. The themes develop almost
randomly at first, so you go with it and
define and refine.

In the top art work there is two people peeking in a window.
There is a nude on a couch and a few over sized objects.
The middle art work has a nude walking down stairs
with a blue aura and a branched umbilical cord.
The last picture has a deconstructing nude
standing on a mat. In the grass under the mat
is a snake. All three drawings have snake
references :- the lamp, camera lead, umbilical
cord, floor spiral and snake in the grass.
Most people have snake dreams.
I have been bitten only once in a dream and I
woke with a sore foot. Mostly if I dream of snakes
I am trying to walk through a garden, where the snakes
cover every inch of the ground.
Snakes figure strongly in history/mythology
and Bible passages. They have been subjects in many
artworks throughout the years and represent
different things to different people.

Hopefully, I can finish these works
before I get bitten again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tagged

A few days back I was tagged by the great, incomparable
fleet footed, thonged wonder. As a young lad I was proud
of my speed and agility in the playground.
I was impossible to catch, impossible to fight, impossible
to tag and just plain notorious.
But, since being tagged by the L.M. Noonan, winged heel,
I have become slow, awkward and plain boring.
So tagging means telling THE WORLD eight things
about myself that most of you don't know.
Also, I have to tag eight others - as if I really know any
of these other people in cyber tag world.
But here we go .........
  1. I once bought a car for one dollar and sold it for $2,300. At least I doubled my money. The car was registered without any improvement or cost, then used for four years and sold. It only cost me a few hundreds dollars in repairs in that time which I did myself. The car was a 1971 yellow Volkswagen Super Beetle. The guy who bought it had been looking for one for 7 years, and thought he got a bargain. Little did he know, and I hope he doesn't blog.
  2. I once made a student film on old single eight movie film stock, called, 'Memoroid'. It was shown at the Queensland college of Art in front of a room full of other film students. After the showing the students applauded, and I felt good. But, when the din had died down, the lecturer turned on me. He progressively started to tear strips of me, accusing me of not learning a thing over the period of the course. I said little, packed my gear and went home. It's funny I still cringe a wee bit after all these years.
  3. I lost my first watch in a haystack on my grandparents farm in Victoria. I lost it within two weeks of purchasing it from a jewelry shop in Dandenong. It was a 3/4 size watch, a swiss incabloc with a purple face and a black band. I think it cost me about $17.00. No one ever found it.
  4. I once had a series of dreams over a period of time, where I thought that I was a serial killer. In the sequence of the dreams, I would slowly realize that had I something to hide that I had been suppressing. Eventually in the dream I would realize I was a serial killer and that I had buried people in my yard. I then would wake up and feel relieved that it was only a dream. One day it occurred to me that I really had buried a lot of bodies in our back yard over the years. Living on a rural block with livestock and pets, I had probably, over the years buried at least 20 animals. One or two goats, countless ducks and chickens, a few cats and guinea pigs and the pet dog. Deary me, I am guilty as charged. Any way after this realization I never had another serial nightmare.
  5. I once punched my brothers tooth out over a piece of chicken. We had been fighting over what we had been served up at the meal table, and my brother took my chicken off my plate. So, I took it back and punched him. His tooth was already a bit loose, so I gave it a little push.
  6. I met my wife Judy in Sydney on the stairs of the Opera House. We were both on a school art trip and both attended the Miami High school. Up until that moment we had never met. We never had seen each other on the train trip down, nor at the motel lobby. Not even at school had we ever mixed in the same circles. Anyway, after that fateful meeting we were pretty well inseparable. We even went missing together in Kings Cross, causing a bit of anxiety for our Art teachers. Oh well, these things are never planned.
  7. I once climbed a fence and stole apples from the yard of a house. The house was across the road from my primary school. Unfortunately I was caught, as were a few of my comrades, by the resident of the house. The resident, unbeknown to me, was the school principal. He promptly marched us to his office, gave us a lecture, waved the cane in our faces and let us go. We never got the cane and years later I moved onto other types of forbidden fruit.
  8. I bought my first guitar, with my first pay while in high school. I still play it almost everyday. It cost $169 in 1979 and one day I will buy another one. I still have my teddy bear as well and my first computer which I bought in 1988 and still works.
So, another boring life exposed, drawn and quartered, then
thrown to the cyber masses.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Proxy

In January 2008 I will be having another
solo art show, a rare thing for me having
worked in hardware shops for 22 years.
The time to pursue the art exhibiting/selling
part of art production
has always been hard to find.
The next show will have paintings, drawings,
video and text.
The Video will eventually be loaded to
Youtube and then posted here.
On opening night the video will be screened
and hopefully on a video loop during
the course of the show.
The text will be about each artwork
looking at influences and background stories.
Each artwork will be posted on this blog with
accompanying text and references.
In the actual show I will blow up and print
each blog and display them at A3 size+
next to the actual artwork.
Comments will possibly be displayed
if anyone doesn't mind.
Also on display at the show will be a
floor map of the gallery, with tiny print outs
of the artworks stuck on the to map.
It is enticing to think of the linking system
of the internet extended out into the real
world and back again.
Each affecting each other in
a revolving door sort of way.
The above freely drawn figure is linking
through different frames(windows) of
inner connections(thoughts) to other
places in a vaguely existential way.
The red balls are vented, floating,
fragmented, byproducts of this process.
Is it spiritual proxy, masquerading as
true spirituality or true faith based
on substantial evidence?
This drawing will be one of the
forth coming show artworks.

Spiritual Proxy in Many Parts 2003
80x54cm

Friday, June 15, 2007

Defense

This painting I have been working on for
a year or so. It's modeled on a digital photo
I took of my self that has been manipulated
on the computer. One afternoon I took
a whole series of self portraits on the digital
camera using the timer function.
The idea was to pose in various ways then
pick a winner that could be translated
to painting. Originally I was going to
make it more realistic, but in such a way
that you knew that it had a digital
connection. Reality set in so I decided not to
do something so tedious.
I was already working on a tedious painting,
that I have almost finished now, which had
maybe a hundred or so pair of circles tilted in a receding
plane in multiple blues.
In the top left hand corner of the posted painting is a
simple version of the circle painting on an easel.
Anyway, I slightly abstracted the winning
photo and printed it out. I did a quick
spontaneous charcoal sketch using the photo
as a guide then applied the paint.
The current title which may change is, 'Image
Defense'. A title that was dreamed up in a
hurry as it was photographed and entered
in a local art prize. The title was a bit of a reaction
to how I feel about the local art scene and
local art competitions. I hope they weren't
offended - they didn't choose any of the artworks
that I put on the disk. I went to the opening and
as usual I was not that impressed.
Oh, well maybe love is blind.

Image Defense 2006-
(Working Title)
170x122cm

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blue

The blue man sits in his multi-coloured, landscape.
The sovereign mountains eclipse his vacant soul.
The gum leaf clouds fudge around the edges like
mocking birds ever peeking.
The empty sockets reflect the deep pit that
he feels like falling into.
The iridescent garden clashes
with his over blueness.
The sorrow framed with joy
is the paradise lost.

The Blue Man 1995
730x540mm

Monday, June 11, 2007

Metho

When I was in my second year of Art College,
the students and I were sent to the city
on a drawing assignment.
As I caught the Kangaroo Point Ferry, a man
wandered up from the bushy banks of the
Brisbane river.
Sadly, he had an empty can of coke severed or
torn in half, full of Methylated spirits.
I could smell it in the air as he passed.
He only had a loose pair of old shorts on.
His hair was sandy red in colour and his eyes
were unfocused but extremely bright blue.
His hair was cut high at the back of his head
forming a straight line and his skin was
burnt and rough. He was somewhat delirious
but managed to catch the ferry.
Hours later while on assignment (drawing
old buildings in George Street) he wandered up to me.
He shoved something in my hand,
then abruptly said, "Do you want to
read the Gospels".
Before I had a chance to respond he
turned and wandered off again.
He had given me a 'Hot Stuff' comic.
The 'Hot Stuff' comic is a kids comic
based on a red devil character.
I had never met the man before and haven't since.
So, when I got home I did a basic drawing
of the guy, then cut up the comic and
stuck it down as if you were looking down
on suburban house roofs and grid like streets.
A sad but interesting record of an
unusual meeting.

Hot Stuff 1981
750x550mm

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Suit

The first will be last and the last will be first.
The meek shall inherit the earth.
The humble man does not know he is humble.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

This man stares confidently straight
at us, while the killing fields of land development
lapse into flood planes before mighty mountains.
This is his great boast and life's work and I don't
know who he is, splendid in his tie and suit.

No One In Particular 1992
730x530mm

Friday, June 8, 2007

Teacher

Art Teacher 1979

This drawing was completed in High School
and represents my cynical view
on the teaching of art.
Although I respected some of my teachers, I still
believed that trust was not the name of the game.
This poor soul is pulling himself along by his own hair.
In his outstretched hand is money.
The grinning teacher waits on his chair with his
arm in a position like he is about to shoot up.
Written on his shirt, barely visible here, are the letters,
"UTUHAH", like they represented some great
College of knowledge.
The painting on the easel behind represents another
form of abuse, one that mirrors the scene
played out in front.
Who painted the work on the easel, the artist
or the teacher?
I do wonder though if the High School art teacher
who marked this work at the time,
knew what I was commenting on .
This of course is a bit too cruel.
But I do think after going through College
and flirting with art peoples
and establishments that
a bit of cynicism is good for an artist.

Here is another one from the same year.

Couple on Bed 1978-2002

This drawing has been altered in a paint program.
Originally the drawing was done using a propeller pencil.
On a train trip to Melbourne when I was seventeen,
I stopped of at Sydney for eight hours waiting
for the next train. So, I went walking.
I bumped into two art teachers from
my High School, then went to a few galleries,
sampled exotic food, and visited an art
supply shop. At the shop I bought my first
propeller pencil. That year at High School I
drew a small set of drawings with my new found tool.
Life was so simple then, and it really was fun to draw
and be a bit cheeky.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Eve

In the beginning was information.

Life comes from life.
A message needs a sender.
Messages come from intelligence.
From Eve to Eve to Eve to Eve to Eve,
the DNA message is passed.
Not some random mutation creating new
information and life, but an intelligent code.
Look at the seeds on the ground and the leaves
on the trees. What do they mean?
Rothko's paintings have meaning, a deep cerebal
transmission of a message from him to us.
A faint message on a different level, but information
never the less.
Pollock's paintings speak of the spirit of that man and
his time. A message of existence of a straining to be heard,
" this too is painting, I am experiencing tangible information,
although faint, like looking at distant stars".
No matter how quite,
every painting good or bad like every grain of sand
speaks of the great information giver.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was life.

Eve Painting 1995
1200x880mm

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Alice

This is one of a long line of drawings and paintings of
people standing isolated indoors. This idea started in the
early eighties, and has popped up through the years in
different forms, even in a painting I am working on now.
But why have I painted people in rooms this way?
Maybe I got locked in the cupboard as a kid.
Or maybe it's a residual image from a horror film.
Or maybe I developed an underlying fear of rooms.
Well, when I was growing up I use to experience something
I called "My eyes are going out".
The perspective in a room would change, then objects in the room
and my limbs would seem stretched, smaller and more distant.
It would only last a minute or so then go.
This would make me strangely frightened as a child and
no would understand or believe me.
I have rarely experienced it as an adult, and
just find it merely fascinating now.
Recently, I have discovered that my two daughters
and a friend of mine have had similar experiences .
I recently found out what I was experiencing
It's actually not that uncommon.
It's called Alice in Wonderland Syndrome or micropsia.
Could be that micropsia has had an influence in my
thinking and image making.
Anyway, these works are mostly about separation from
God and bondage of the soul.

Resolution Scream 1990
510x700mm

Friday, June 1, 2007

Tribute


My daughter found this video on YouTube
and we thought it was great
it's 500 years of female portraits in western art.
It's my tribute to female artists I admire.
Margaret Preston, Joy Hester, Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego,Katy Drake, L.M.Noonan, Joni Mitchell, Bridget Riley,Grace Cossington Smith, Elizabeth Duke, Beatriz Gonzalez,Paula Modersohn-Becker, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jeannie O'Neill,Julia Bell, Davida Allen, Grace Crowley,Josie Prespitino, and Kathy Roberts.

Bed

This is another Glasshouse Mountains work, but this
time the abstracted nude on the bed is the main subject.
The nude slowly becomes one with her bed, entrapped
by sleep or dreams or worries or relationship.
The mountains are they viewed through a window or
are they depicted in a painting.
Are shooting stars on the wall paper portents of
pending doom or merely frivolous decoration.
I don't know, all I can do is view from a distance
this very private setting.

A Very Private Viewing
580x830mm
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