Friday, September 26, 2008


So much whirls through my head that I am not sure where to start today. However, this notion of collasping difference to unveil fundamental similarities opening up the potential for compassion is taking up much of my thinking time. By 'collapsing' I am not necessarily meaning a literal collapse of distance, but a rethinking of distance as separation. The 'space between' is not an empty space because in a sense everything is 'one'. The macro and micro are connected by being variations of each other so any distance between is not a separation but merely a process of variation. The local and global are connected because they are integral parts of the other. They exist simultaneously thus closing any perceived separation of distance.

The underbelly of post modernism reveals an insidious attempt to create an empty distance through a lack of compassion which is perpetuated by PM's devotion to simulacra and narcisistic tendencies. Post modernism has been able to manipulate its empty distance to separate the extremes and thus heightening the potential for oppositional and paradoxical tendancies.

Compassion is a quality which is shared, respectful and with all parties in the compassionate space feeling equal. Whereas sympathy is given [and can be taken away] and received and can be manipulated for self satisfaction and perpetuating power and powerlessness. I am not saying sympathy is not helpful. It is, especially in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. But how do we escape from it being used to emotionally colonise the underprivaleged? Sympathy can also be simulated whereas compassion, to me at least, is far more difficult to simulate because it is not constructed on giver and receiver, but a much more complex indentification of humanity within. I suspect the language of sympathy and compassion are different...would be an interesting study.

Compassion is a more confident quality, but it does take some bravery to share. However, this is where collapsing difference to reveal fundamental human similarities can help create the safe place for sharing to occur.

Art's agency is its potential to assist in creating safe places for people to share. Agendaless but not directionless conversation I believe is the key. Art [albeit not all art!] has the ability to stimulate conversations which take people places where humanity's fundamental coding, which is shared by all, recognises itself.

So, I am optimistic about the future. Like any point of change there is more often than not a period of dilemma and chaos, but seeing it as sign of change rather than the death of the 'safe' known is a more purposeful approach. The implosion of the financial and banking world, particularly in the US, is a sign that simulacra [ie: poor loans made with no gurantees, derivatives made up of nothings etc] and narcisism [ie: need I explain!] are in their death throws. Post modernism's play with simulation and shifting/slippery guidelines is no longer seductive. Deregulation was part of the 'game' and now there is an opportunity to create new ways of regulation which care for the collective and the individual both existing in a global world and living locally at the same time. It will not be an easy task to create new foundations, but hopefully they will be forged on more than nothing.

The image above was taken at the inaugural "LAUNCH: Clayton Utz Travelling Scholarship Award" exhibition. I was one of the 25 shortlisted artists.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I know I uploaded this image last post, but I have since had the painting photographed properly and you can now get a better idea of what it looks like.

The Tattersall's Club Landscape Art Award was announced during the week at a lovely cocktail evening. I did not win, but I am really happy to have been one of the 57 preselected artists considered for the award. From Monday 15 - Friday 16 Septmeber the exhibition of finalists and some curator's choices will be on show at Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

Into The Symphony is a painting which I wanted the viewer to feel embraced going to a wonderful concert and feeling immersed by the music, its nuances, shadows and lights. I wanted to suggest the feeling of a vast expanse revealing its intimate interior. This painting draws on my love of landscape, but collapses the landscape into an entirity rather than its identifiable components. Like previous work I have written about this painting looks different when viewed from a distance than when viewed up close. I like to think of people moving back and forth to understand the painting at its many levels. This dance of movement back and forth mirrors the way I work. I will paint and then move away from the painting to make critical assessments on what my seeing eye of eyeball and pupil wants to achieve and what my mind's eye wants to achieve in the sense of meaning and aura.

Into The Symphony is a painting of wonder. By this I mean my own wondering and therefore questioning. I wonder what it is like to be everywhere at once; I wonder what it might feel like to be inside a mirage; I wonder what small really means and what vast really means-do they eventually collide with each other in a space where size and distance has no meaning? on.

I am interested in re-interpreting the landscape taking it from a place we view to a place we feel. I am interested in the landscape as a 'being' like it is to be a 'human being' of mortal flesh and blood...and spirit.

Please click on the image to make it larger. The you see the detail.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


A few things are about to happen. On Saturday 6 Sept I am one of the presenters @ 'Creative Conservation 3 peaceful space sound, space & environment: An Intercultural Dialogue' at the University of Queensland On Sept 12 I am the guest speaker at Brisbane Boys' school Iona College's Gala Arts night. I have no association with the school, so I am delighted to have been asked to speak about art and education. And, on Sept 10 the announcement of the $20.000 Tattersall's Landscape Art Award is made at a swish 'do' at the Tattersall's Club .

This painting above is new. I wanted to create a work which caught enormity and intimacy simultaneously. I wanted to suggest that outside and inside could be seen together and that the viewer could experience both. My thoughts are a continuation of my intrigue with the space/distance between the macro and micro/global and local and the compassionate potential which I feel exists within this space/distance. The perspectives from outer and inner are different, but in our world today we need to be able to step away from our comfort zones putting ourselves in another's shoes. In this way a compassionate space opens as we view others differently as well ourselves. Th eindividual is not lost in this process, yet the collective can be embraced.

I am also thinking about the capacity of the Soul. I 'see' it as something which is both vast and beyond being seen ie: so small that it collides with enormity at the extremities. The Soul seems beyond being described as having a capacity yet it 'holds' so much. I 'see' it as a living entity attached to us, yet capable of detaching when death arrives. By detaching it avoids time, that vastness which human beings try to understand on a daily basis. The idea of the 'beyond' is something which has sparked my imagination since I was a very small child. Beyond vastness and beyond the minutae are the places of extremes yet the distance may well be both close and far.

So, all of this and more is in this painting 'Into the Symphony'. I use the word symphony because it describes my thoughts of capturing 'everything' but in a way that dances, sings...and seems right somehow.

PS. I am having a small exhibition at Maleny's very 'hip and happening' Upfront Club The show opens on thursday October 23 and continues until November 18. Maleny is a gorgeous hilltop town behind Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The people are an eclectic mix of interesting characters making up a community which is vibrant, creative and interested. My parents live there and I love the fact that there is an opportunity to exhibit my work in Maleny. Check the Upfront Club's website out...they have music gigs too...and great food...and lots more.

Into The Symphony Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2008