Monday, November 2, 2009


 - Biography -

Searching for images sometimes makes one realise how easy it is to fail to get things documented at the time they are completed. So... I have filled in a few gaps by taking some photos of work still at hand. Its was interesting to note the biographical element of certain works. Above is a work on paper completed in 1990 in homage to my father who died in 1972. He was the pilot for a photographer who was commissioned to take aerial shots over the Clarence River in Northern NSW in the early 1950's. I was lucky to have in my collection in 1990 a copy of the book produced with black and white images of the spectacular Clarence River and Valleys. The book was actually a very modest soft cover edition...rather worn and somewhat faded. Working from this book was filled with nostalgia...the faded pages an echo of fading memories of growing up in this region and of the father who'd not been there to see his four children finish school and leave home. The Clarence was a river of epic proportions, especially in flood. The strongest of memories are mostly of the rains that would come out of the blue and last  until the entire river system would break its banks, build till it peaked, then subside to leave its chaos behind. The river was a force to be reckoned with and it marked one's childhood with its drama and moods.

These 2 works represent a meditative practice I found consolation in when reflecting on change over years - in particular the act of relocating and the resulting process of coming to terms with confrontation of the new, loss of the old, and skills needed to cross that bridge. I learnt that there wasn't a common household name for the phenomenon of significant upheaval through repeated dislocation/relocation, although sociologists and various professionals were naming it. At some point it struck me this situation went largely unnoticed in mainstream culture - colloquial concepts weren't hitting it on the nail. The experience of change and unplanned disruption could be seen all around. Homelessness was the cracks bursting open. I pondered the fine line in the build up of pressures that sat a step away from  break-downs of support.
I could well understand critical needs of migrant communities, especially refugees, to have layers of support structures to aid their settlement into a new life. What really concerned me were gaps lurking for people born or 'settled' in this country. Whist relocations for me involved enthusiasm and support, at times life barged in with a plan of its own, no time for planning, no financial considerations or readiness for change. Huge lessons resulted and understanding deepened re the potential or actual vulnerability of so many round the globe. Many years I simmered away wondering how an artist might speak to and of this pattern. Still it sits as a huge question mark in a world where the collective blindspot so hides this spectrum of vulnerabilty. 

below: pages I have recently worked on in a friend's Altered Book Project- revisiting memories.

Blood transfusion: section of a large canvas painted on coming home in Feb, 2008 after 15 days in hospital

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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.