Sunday, January 18, 2009

Water 'Landscapes' Land and Consciousness

System Gouache on paper 18 x 25 cm 2009

Water Rights Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

I am currently working on images inspired by water, rain, rivers plus the human-made 'add ons' eg: commodification, infrastructure, cost, rights, limits, water harvesting, allocations etc. Water [either its abundance or not] and its uses are issues which are experienced locally but also have global perspectives. The investigation fits well with my previously mentioned interest in the space between the local/micro and global/macro.

The work I am painting falls into a few discussions which range from the more spiritual to the practical. These are 1. water's spiritual character as a symbol for consciousness 2. natural water delivery as a 'system archetype' which is also found in my much loved tree-of-life motif plus internal bodily life systems 3. the changing status of water in a world where climate change influences everything 4. water as a commodity to be bought, sold, traded etc and the impact on the haves and have nots ie: wealth production.

I have previously mentioned my childhood on my parent's grain farm outside Dalby in SE Queensland, Australia. I have also mentioned my 18 years living in Goondiwindi on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Goondiwindi has a diversified agricultural base, but irrigation for cotton and other crops significantly expanded in the 18 years I lived there. The new paintings are influenced by my years living in rural Queensland. However, this is overlaid by my interest in life forces, systems and spirit.

The two paintings above are examples of two different aspects of the theme 'water'. System blatantly reminds that flow is like blood, hence the use of red for the tree of flow. Water Rights is created with the word rain repeated as rain falling from the sky. The ground is a mass of $ signs indicating the value or currency of water to the land. Not only does water literally enrich the soil, the production it manifests creates wealth for all those involved in rural productions eg: farmers, grain merchants, farm suppliers and ultimately nations via export. This painting asks questions though. It is not benign.

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