Monday, February 14, 2011


Commodified Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011

PARADISE @ Purgatory Artspace Melbourne
'Paradise' is open to the public from Thursday 8 September! The opening night is Friday 9 September 6-8 pm. The exhibition dates are 8 September - 8 October, 11 am - 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday at PURGATORY ARTSPACE, 170 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne.

'COMMODIFIED' Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011
The painting is obviously a map of Australia, but upon closer scrutiny the viewer will discern that the 'map' is created with small $ signs. Regular readers of this BLOG will know that I use small $ signs to depict water, soil etc to pose or stimulate questions about how we 'value' our land. I deliberately make the $ signs small so that from a distance the viewer does not discern them, but when the viewer is close the $ signs become clearly apparent. This play with distance asks questions such as, 'Have you noticed?' It plays with the responsibility we all have to negotiate distance as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world. AND, I don't mean just physical distance, but temporal, cultural, emotional and spiritual.

I am deeply concerned about the sustainability of prime and strategic farmland in Australia. An enslaught of rapid and hectic activity from mining companies, especially coal seam gas miners, threatens this sustainability. I am anti any kind of activity that threatens water sustainability, strategic and prime food producing farmland. With a burgeoning population the world needs to maintain its farmlands in order to feed people. After all, you cannot flick the light switch if you've expired from hunger! Governments need to ensure prime farmlands, and the farmers who farm them, are protected from invasive mining activities. These include those activities that threaten above and below ground water supplies and quality, soil health, and efficient and environmentally sound farming practices. Regular readers will know that I have written about these before. Here are some links to previous posts:

Governments must prioritise food sustainability for obvious humane reasons, but also for political stability. Hungry stomachs make for angry hearts, and angry hearts make for civil unrest and worse.

'Commodified' is a simple looking painting...indeed it did not take as long as some of my more intricate ones, but it speaks of the madness erupting across parts of Qld and NSW [indeed across the globe! Have you seen 'Gasland'?] with regards to potential degradation of farmlands by mining activities. This madness is what I see as the outer VORTEX, the chaotic whirlwind that does not allow for contemplation and considered scrutiny...or for a scientific analysis of risk. Two soil scientists who spoke at the public forum on the CSG industry, which I attended at the University of Queensland late last year, both started their presentations describing what's happening as 'madness'. Here's the link to my post about the forum:


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