Sunday, June 26, 2016


In The Zone Gouache on paper 24 x 32 cm 2016

Like many people in the world I watch current events and developments- everything from US elections, our forthcoming Australian federal elections, BREXIT, financial news and markets, world and Australian art news, environmental updates, the ubiquity of social media, fast paced development of artificial intelligence, weaponised technology, war and conflict in various places around the world, refugee news and lots more. There seems to be a tapestry of mayhem and uncertainty at the moment! 

So, I have been thinking about perspective...yes regular readers will know that ideas of perspective, both literal and metaphoric, have interested me for many many years. In the current world, perspective seems to have lost its scope! This is despite astronomers delving deeper into our universe, showing us that the literal distance of perspective is seemingly endless, and that the perspective of time is equally so. In doing so science has highlighted humankind's place not only within Earth's trajectory through time and space, but also the Universe's. Now that's very big picture stuff which should stretch our capacities to think deeply about different points of view...even as I have suggested before...maybe developing skills in seeing multiple perspectives simultaneously. Humankind's survival and the planet's sustainability may depend on it. 

Boundaries? Gouache on paper 21 x 29,5 cm 2016

Yet, the current world seems to be one where divides in beliefs strangle perspective and create abyss-like voids that seem impossible to traverse. These are potentially dangerous zones if caught in them. Perspective cannot wield its revelatory capacities in dark dark places where steep walls provide little opportunity for escape. The sky and the universe cannot be seen from deep within the abysses' darkness...perspective's, literal and metaphoric, agency is the dark it becomes difficult to see another's point of view...ignorance...

But, we know that for every abyss there is a tall mountain with expansive views  - the opposite also exists. Both the abyss and the tall mountain reminds us of human endeavour. It's all about perspective...really.  

I propose that art can provide a guiding light! And, in its own way partner with science's universal reach that teaches us about perspective's revelatory capacities. In doing so wonder and imagination work their magic - stirring spirit. 

It Depends on Your Perspective  Gouache on paper 24 x 32 cm 2016

These three works on paper are all landscapes in one sense but they are also many other things! Depends on your perspective!


Sunday, June 19, 2016


In Focus? Gouache on paper 24 x 32 cm 2016

This post and painting In Focus? links with my last post and painting Horizontal or Vertical? where I played with notions of perspective and orientation, ideas of landscape and signals. This new work on paper In Focus? also plays with landscape and signals as well as perspective and orientation, except it poses a question that provokes even more questions...who or what is meant to be in focus? Is being in focus about seeing a clear single target or is it simply about being able to see properly? Is it a literal target or perhaps getting a grip on a new idea? Are we talking about focusing our eyes, a camera, gun or a sensor of some kind? Any of these could have augmented vision technologies such as night vision and thermal imaging capacities to aid focusing in low or dark light. Maybe they could be connected to other devices that also need to be focused. After all, the world is a becoming a play of screens within screens, monitors within devices and devices within monitors, sensors galore! 

Why am I interested in these questions? Well...I am reading about militarised technologies for my M. Phil research...and ideas for paintings pop into my head all the time! I love that these ideas intersect with my prevailing inspirations of landscape, cosmology, symbolism, codes and perspective. So, with In Focus? I have tried to show how modern technologies penetrate. In this case the target is beyond the mountains or possibly inside the landscape. Not only is the land traversed by unseen signals that map various kinds of intentions that range from benign to malign, but the sky and space are also mapped in the same way. Where does this 'scape' of signals begin and end? We move through our environments unaware of silent and unseen signals, but there operative intentions influence our daily lives. 

In In Focus? I have tried to give the focusing scope a 3D effect, as if it has applied its own virtual environment onto an existing real one...the landscape. The simulated 3D effect contests the real multidimensional space. I ask, do modern simulations of multi-dimensional spaces play havoc with ideas and experiences of distance and perspective? In In Focus? It seems that the web of lines may go on and on, but do they? Or perhaps the window-like panes entice with promises of better things? The white and red lines seem to sculpt space as they seek...but what do they seek?


Saturday, June 11, 2016


Horizontal or Vertical? Gouache on paper 24 x 32 cm 2016

So, where did the idea for this painting come from? In a way it's a collision of many ideas and influences. I am thinking back to some of my early aerial-like landscapes that referenced ploughed fields, paddocks and fields of various crops, irrigation channels, roads and...traces of spirit. Then to other paintings that tried to critique the traction of mining, especially coal seem gas extraction. Recent influences propel the idea of 'landscape' into the cosmic realm where unseen quantum forces cause resonances that ripple across the vastness of time and space. 

Even more recent influences are contained within this new image. These include thinking about sight-lines of surveillance from above...drones, satellites, beacons and signals that traverse the sky and space to reach our devices that are embedded within our daily lives. Then there's the infrastructure of cabling that lies beneath the soil and sea enabling communication, surveillance, online transactions facilitated by algorithmic instructions. All the while every movement, communication, online action monitored into a deep pool of data that may or may not be 'mined'. 

The trajectories of signals and sight-lines for targets, whether mortal or virtual, come from many directions, hence the title of this painting Horizontal or Vertical? 

Are you, the viewer in front of a 'landscape' or are you above it looking down or below it looking up? Where are you? Is it a landscape of geography or one of signals and potential data? Is it benign in intent or not? Are you a digital node or a juncture facilitating the fast paced and constant movement of algorithmic forces? Are you still human?


Traces Of Spirit Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm 2002/3

 The Hidden Seen In My Mind's Eye Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2004

 Lifeblood Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2008/9

 $oils Ain't $oils Anymore 70 x 100 cm Oil on linen 2010

 Tree-of-Life Time Travelling Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012

 When It Rained on Mars Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012

 Entrance Gouche and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015

I am Am I? Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015

In Sight Oil on linen 50 x 0 cm 2015


Sunday, June 05, 2016


 Works on paper - in progress

It has been wet, cold and windy here in Brisbane this weekend. A good time to spend in my studio. And, this is exactly what I did - for part of the weekend anyway. 

The photos above and below are of work in progress - works on paper - in my studio. The one above shows the corners of three works on paper and the surface beneath them which is covered with layers of paint built up over many years. The photo below shows the three paintings in the above photo [on left] and two new ones lent up against the window. They are lent there so that when I enter my studio I see them with 'new eyes'. This helps me determine whether they are ready to be released from the studio. I am hesitant to say 'finished' because I don't believe my paintings and those of many other artists are ever finished. What do I mean? Well, I think every conversation and thought that someone might have about a painting adds to its story, so how can they ever be really finished?

In fact, I had someone today say to me, about a painting of mine she had bought a few years ago "I still my painting. I love looking at it." This was music to my ears. Sometimes paintings can just fade into the decor, but my paintings tend not to do that! Many people who have bought them comment about seeing new things in them all the time. I love that this happens.  

 Works on paper - in progress 

The painting below is one that has 'erupted' from a similarly prepared sheet of paper as seen in the first photo above. I did go somewhat crazy with preparations this weekend! There were sheets of paper on walls, on the floor, on my work space, all drying, dripping, soaking or whatever I had decided was best for each one. A couple have been torn up - yes - brutal endings happen to paintings I do not think are working out! However, Watching In All Directions worked - well I think so. 

Watching In All Directions is inspired by reading about surveillance. This reading is part of my M. Phil research at the University of Queensland. I am reading about all kinds of surveillance, but mainly drone surveillance - and targeting and potential killing in conflict zones. 

Watching happens from the air, it happens on the ground - watching can entail monitoring individual movements, phone conversations, text messages, GPS systems and more. Signals traverse space, even literal outer space where satellites orbit Earth, receiving and transmitting. It's as if new worlds are created - virtual ones that have great influence on real ones. The circles in the painting indicate the presence of these worlds. 

Watching In All Directions Gouache and watercolour on paper 24 x 32 cm 2016

The landscape is mediated by unseen signals that can penetrate its contours, geographies and physicality. This mediation has dual promises - one promises safety and the other 'promises' fears of being targeted. But, the targeting does not necessarily mean mortally lethal outcomes, but rather, targeting by advertisers, social media and others.

In Watching In All Directions I have played with landscape - in this case a fairly bland landscape, but I have transposed the unseen 'landscape' of signals upon it. I am really interested in making the unseen  - seen, by placing the unseen within an aesthetic frame. As regular readers know, I am particularly interested in painting binary code - the zeros and ones in bright colours, in strips that form colourful ribbon-like elements to my paintings. In Watching In All Directions I am pleased with the 'double entendre' of the sun-like sphere with emanating red and pink streams. it the sun, shedding its light, creating a more traditional sense of landscape? Or, does it represent another 'world' with apparatus for sending and receiving, watching in all directions?

This post illustrates the artist's process - in the studio - preparations - failures and successes - intellectual as well as creative inspirations - reconciling medium, process and ideas - and a lot more!