Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the highway poem

Overland travels one January - the highway poem

In the previous post on this year's Victoria University Artist-in-Residency a somewhat autobiographical work was included. It featured addresses of places lived in since since birth to date. This act of painting lists of places has been something I have returned to over 3 decades of moving house and relocating across distances at times to live interstate, overseas at one point, moves prompted by work and other opportunities.
In this work posted here the list is of highways travelled on from a trip taken 4 years ago in January with Sydney as the starting point. Its was a memorable trip that took in as many alternative main roads as possible to avoid the Hume Hwy and to experience places of geographic diversity between Sydney and Melbourne, including the Snowy Mountains and venturing also across to the Grampians of Western Victoria.
Rather than name places, towns and villages passed through or stayed at, it seemed fitting to commemorate the roads travelled as it was the road trip itself that was so unique about this holiday. A camera was rarely used, several drawings done, but much of it was an experience committed to memory and the reading of each road's name serves as a remarkable prompt for those memories to come flooding back. 
Whilst at the wheel of the car colours and shapes and details were captured... 18 days of shifting landscapes, climate and terrain. Below is the painting after being photo-shopped last year on completion of the work, painted almost 3 years after taking the trip.
Perhaps many would prefer a photo collection, postcards and souvineers. For me this painting holds the feelings of places, of movement, of approaching and leaving...memories so much more vast and complex than a photo could represent.
The totality of the experience is there and the parts. It is my poem for the way through many places.

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Blogging for me is an extension of keeping a journal which I have done in various forms over the decades. The difference being this is not a closed book! I like that it offers an opportunity to explore that which concerns me as an artist and as an individual about living and participating in this vastly complex, unquestionably exciting yet unnerving time in human history. Through the blog I hope to increase the possibilties for cross-pollination which I believe can strengthen the sense of being part of something both personal and universal that is vital, expansive and refreshing.