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!


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