Sunday, December 06, 2015


Human Landscape Gouache on paper 66 x 30 cm 2015

Firstly: Please click HERE to read my latest newsletter - Christmas greetings and studio news. 

This post follows on from my last one Text and Code where I wrote about my interest in using text, but also binary code. I am interested in the latter not only for the 'instructional' capacities of binary code, but also to tease out its aesthetic possibilities, in juxtaposition with other symbolic and representational elements...such as my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life and landscape.

Human Landscape this post I have uploaded my latest work on paper Human Landscape  [above] where binary code instructs  Human and Landscape. The string of binary code takes on a horizon-like appearance, as does the word Landscape. I am playing with a number of things though. In this algorithmic contemporary world our lives are influenced by code on a daily, if not minute by minute, basis. Some would say that our lives are determined by it eg: travel, banking, email, social media, new media art, data collection and more. There's also an interest in how the body, embodiment, phenomenology and the human sensorium are possibly envisaged, manipulated, eroded, enhanced, transformed, alienated by the digital world. So, in my paintings I am keen to explore ways to expose code, possibly transform it, maybe enhance it or even erode its invisibility, by making it visible. This visibility is not provided by the digital but by the human hand...extracting code from normally 'clean' and precise looking presentations. There is a contrariness in my desire to paint's fun.

Human Landscape is a triptych, like I Am Am I ? in my last post. And, because both paintings are made up of three separate parts, they can be arranged in different combinations. I am not precious about their arrangements, because new stories may emerge. But, the arrangement of Human Landscape as seen above, for me at least, tells a story about the connections the human body has with the land. When we die, whether buried or cremated, our body returns to the land, in some way or another. And, ultimately when the Earth is savaged by the death throes of the Sun, our remains, every human ever born along with our Earth, will be scattered across space, returning to star dust. Thus, I have painted a human figure as if it is the land, with its legs and arms extending into river-like or horizon-like trajectories. The tree-of-life is growing out of this 'embodiment' of land transforms the figure into a kind of root-like connective element too. For me the small tree creates perspective, not only visual, but also temporal. The bottom image, for me, is the future. 

Regular readers will identify that Human Landscape is also a cosmic landscape, and part of my quest to untether  ideas of landscape from Earth-bound horizons.

The painting below Coded Landscape is another 'landscape' where I have used binary code to create the impression of maybe mountains or possibly some kind of structure seen from above, maybe a track, a billabong or even....the remnants of landscape in space?

Coded Landscape Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2015

I have previously painted landscapes with text. Here are a few:

This is a Landscape Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2001

In This is a Landscape I have written landscape over and over again, between the tree trunks. 

          Works on paper from Here Comes The Bride exhibition at Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane, 2003
  Text included painting middle row second from right. This painting is called Bride in the Landscape

The images above and below show a small selection of the around 70 works on paper I exhibited in my solo exhibition Here Comes The Bride held at Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane, 2003. The exhibition had a sub-theme of the bride in the landscape. I included text in a few of the paintings. I warn you , the text is a bit dark, but the paintings are essentially about the body being embraced, or possibly consumed, by the land. These paintings were inspired by my observations of country women...those women who often literally work the land, along side their farmer husbands/partners, but also the women who give so much of their spirit to rural communities. These women often sacrifice, not only material things, but companionship, culture, education. Yet, many try to encourage these things to occur in their communities. I've witnessed this first hand.....participated in it too.

        Works on paper from Here Comes The Bride exhibition at Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane, 2003
                                         Text included middle row middle and top left.

Below is another example of text...but also another kind of code ie: the $ sign. This painting is called Earth For Sale and is painted entirely with small $ signs, which are not discernible form a distance, however, they become evident when the painting is viewed up close. As I have previously written this is a deliberate ploy on my part, to provoke the necessity for close scrutiny as well as taking perspectives from further away. This dance back and forth is like a cosmological dance with perspective. 

Earth for Sale Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2008


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