Thursday, April 15, 2010


As I wrote in my last post, there has been some frustration getting into a new body of work after my exhibiton FRISSON. I am going to take things slowly and also take some time OFF! The torn up paintings have continued, but to a lesser extent! The water and paint continue to flow copiously. However, there is no point in forcing things and I need time to re-energise, think, sketch, travel....

But, I have also found myself looking at a couple of blank canvases, thinking about what I'll do with my oil paints. I love blank canvases. In my mind's eye each one has a multitude of images ...or it might be more correct to say, senses of images. These image senses flick past my mind's eye flirting with my imagination. I know when the right one should be 'captured' because I experience an 'Ah Ha' where an excitement rivets into my imagination. A blank canvas is never really blank, but its form needs time and space to emerge!


The painting above is a gouache on paper and continues with my interest in water. Regular readers would know of my interest in water and its commodification. Here is a link to a previous post on water and contained within it are other links:

My new painting is called 'Tendering'. I am deliberately playing with a word that has multiple meanings from softness, to making an offer, currency, or payment. 'Water Tenders' are an important part of the management of water infrastructure, whether for urban, industrial or agricultural use. My focus, as a country girl, is the agricultural use of water. However, my overarching interest is the fact that water is a universal issue. Not only are our bodies largely water, but our planet's 'blood' is water. Water can be a vast mass or a vapourous particle. It can seep into places we did not even know space existed. We and our planet need water to survive and the implications of how it is used and dispersed, allocated and valued are immense, because inequality of distribution, cost and allocation can the extreme...war.

In 'Tendering' I have written the word 'rain' over and over again, to create the impression of ...well rain falling from the sky. I have used small $ signs to create the impression of the water infiltrating the soil. I have used red for the $ signs to suggest a fertile potency of not only ensuring the soil is sustained and fed, but also a pecuniary potency in the financial potential of resulting crops, water storages, subsoil moisture for sustained crop success and so on.

Yet, rain softens the ground too. It turns hard clay soils into malleable ooze. It turns cracking and crusty black soils into glorious, 'oh glorious' mud. I grew up on my parent's farm which is on a black soil plain outside Dalby on the Darling Downs in Queensland. In fact, it has the deepest top soil in the southern very rich soil! [I use the word 'rich' purposefully!] I remember playing in the black mud when it rained. I remember running and then sliding along the muddy rows between one of my Dad's incredible wheat crops. title 'Tendering' is multifaceted.

When I think about Dalby, I also ponder upon the amazing 'wealth' the coal and coal seam gass industries have brought to the area in the last 10-15 year...maybe even less. Two years ago when I visited Dalby for the first time in over 10 years, I was astounded by the mounds of coal. I was also astounded by the growth of the township of Dalby and apparently in the last two years a new suburb appears almost overnight!!! Here's a link to Dalby Here's a link to a page on Arrow Energy's site describing this company's activities in and around Dalby.
It is also fascinating that in the process of extracting coal seam gas, water has a very important part to play and one which could see underground aquifers compromised. Here's a link to Arrow Energy's page where the process is explained

So, my painting 'Tendering' also refers to the underground 'richness' of minerals and all the accomanying activities the mineral and resources industries undertake. But at what cost?

It is interesting how words such as... currency, flow, tendering... can have financial meaning, but are also words which can be used to describe the literal movement or action of water.
Another word which has a financial meaning is 'appropriation'...I think my next post will be about appropriation. is a word which has caused some angst with the current controversy over the Wynne Prize...



moneythoughts said...

The use of words to describe water and minerals and finance should not be all that surprising, at least not to me. Money used as seed money for starting up new businesses is much the same as water is to making plants and crops grow. But, this is your post, so I will not get started. I like the new painting. And, I understand your need to get away and do some other things and then come back to your artwork with some fresh ideas. Real artists, if I may say so, are not machines that can be turned on, say like a water pump. Take your needed break, you put out a great exhibit of your work, now you need to refill your lake of ideas.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Hi Fred,
I am not surprised you are not surprised by the double meanings of money/water words, given your background in finance and that you are also an artist...a wonderful mixture! I like the way you said to refill my lakes or that an artist is not a mchine like a water pump that can be turned on and off at will. Fun with words.

I look forward to seeing your new season sunflower images and paintings.

OH, and I awoke to the new about Goldman Sachs this morning!