Monday, March 30, 2009


After a couple of weeks not painting I am now back into it. I was distracted by the preparation for two presentations which both went well. I have to say, though, I prefer being in my studio on my own. Venturing into the public arena is always fun, but I need to recharge my batteries with some alone time in my studio. The recharging is under way.

The good thing about a break is that it can cause a departure from previous work. Others may not pick up on the departure, but I am aware of it. I used to fight it, but now I welcome it knowing that any departure is a result of new experiences, rethinking and reflection...even if it has only happened in a couple of weeks.

In my presentation for the Qld Academy of Arts and Sciences at the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum I spoke to the topic 'A Critical Space: The Art/Science Nexus'. One of my suggestions was that both artists and scientists have insightful powers of observation. This might happen to a greater or lesser extent in individuals, but generally speaking acute observation is a capacity which is shared by both scientists and artists. Both may observe their physical surroundings but they will also observe their reactions to and thoughts about these observations. It is one thing to observe with your seeing eye, but to observe those things which sight might trigger in the imagination where the capacity for wonder exists is another level of observation.

Artists and scientists will make internal critical judgements about their wonderings. This is where there is possibly a departure in manner because the desired outcomes are different. And, it is a good thing there is a difference, because I believe art must avoid the trap of thinking it can provide answers when it has the power to prompt questions. However, science is driven to find answers albeit knowing that any answer must be refutable. Questions keep science honest, but only to the extent of the quality of the questions. Art is one of science's partners pushing for questions based on wonder and imagination.

The power of observation ranging from observing the external to then observing the internal paths of imagination and wonder is a dance of close and far distance. The artist and the scientist employ powers of perspective to view their physical world and also their own internal worlds. Interestingly I have written the plural for internal 'worlds'. This poses interesting questions about the space or distance which is inside each of us.

The painting above is called 'Rain Brings Hope', gouache on paper, 30 x 42 cm [unframed]. It is from my 'Water' series of works on paper.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


On Wednesday 18 March at 6 pm I am co-presenting with artist Keith Armstrong at QUT Art Museum in conjunction with the Queensland Academy For Arts and Sciences. The topic of the presentation is 'A Critical Space: The Art/Science Nexus'. Everyone is welcome to attend, so please visit the website for details.

I am looking forward to the presentation and have enjoyed contemplating the topic with reference to my work. Whilst the topic may seem daunting, at the end of the day, it is easy to talk about one's own work. I accepted the invitation because over the years I have had a number of science based people ask me if I have... medical training, studied histology, been a nurse, have a science degree. So, this unconscious connection to science is something I have reflected upon for some time. It is amazing what other people see in an artist's work and I believe it is imperative for an artist to release their work to alternative interpretations. But, as readers of my BLOG would know my work is about life...and science is about life too.

The painting above is 'Duality?', oil on linen, 30 x 30 cm 2009. Please note the question mark in the title. Questioning duality is a philosophical exercise which traverses the boundaries of science and art enticingthe spiritual. These sort of BIG questions are fascinating as the possibilities are endless. The question does not necessarily need an answer. In fact, an 'answer' could be seen as a tragedy. My idea for this image was to somehow suggest that duality as an oppositional construct does not exist, because extremes are merely variations of the same thing. Duality as two opposites proposes a separateness which seems far too simplistic.

I chose to depict my much loved tree-of-life positioned as if the two trees were reflections of each other, yet the colours I have used have been reversed. The upside down bottom tree seems reflective yet it also indicates roots. Is duality really the persistence of connection disguised as seemingly oppositional forces?

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Currency Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed

Water Rights Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed

I love the way some words can have multiple nuanced meanings. The word currency for example. It has meaning with regards to the circulation of money, the legal tender for use in a particular country, whether something is is current in time, and the relevance and prevalence of ideas/words/arguments. Water has increasing 'currency' in terms of its economic importance...but I love the play with the word 'current' in the current or movement of water.
The two paintings above have been created by using copious amunts of sprayed, splashed and spilled water both before and after the introduction of colour. Over the top of this watery surface I have painted the 'landscape' using text and $ signs. I am intensely interested in the increasing status of water as a commodity. What does this imply in terms of its 'life' giving force?
I have deliberately created the work using water's fluidity, randomness...actual currency rather than implied currency.