Sunday, October 23, 2011


Breath Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

I am enjoying working with gouache on paper, continuing with the kind of paintings I wrote about in my last post QUIVER.

These new paintings are inspired by a few things...the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, the female figure, my concerns for the environment, my interests in finding ways to visually seek out the potency of symbols so they have 21st century relevance and beauty. Regular readers will know of my interests and how they inter-connect to create paintings which are multi layered and often surprisingly political.
The painting above Breath places the figure of a woman, representing life giving, at the centre of a vortex or spiral. Have you ever played with a spiral? They quiver. It is this quivering, which reverberates back and forth, that makes me think of life forces, across time...past, present and future.
In Breath my much loved tree-of-life is depicted a number of times, with the red trees appearing almost lung like. The tree's capacity to mirror vascular systems and viscera excites and inspires me.

Signs of life ie: pulse and breath, do not recognise colour of skin, religion, sex or culture. We all share these fundamental signs of life, and as we feel our hearts beat and our breath's inhalation and exhalation, it reminds us of larger forces, earth's pulse and breath, and indeed, those of the multiverse. But, maybe we don't listen or take notice of these forces within us and around us? This question leads to the next painting called Montetizing Mother Nature, which has a more noticeably political intent, going beyond the reminder to notice which is implicit in Breath.

Monetizing Mother Nature Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

The three female figures are connected to earth via trees-of-life, as they are connected to the heavens. These vascular-like trees seem to pulse with life. The women are representative of nature, with the figure on the right is inspired by me! Yes, I have a very long plait, which reaches well past my hips. When my children and I went to see 'Avatar' we all thought I must have been the inspiration for the blue people, the ones with long plaits that could be connected to the life forces in the ground.!!!

Anyway, moving on...the women are 'decorated' with small $ signs. The 'landscape' is also painted largely with small $ signs. Regular readers will know that I often use small $ signs, initially not discernible when viewed at a distance, but clearly seen when the viewer is up close. I am 'asking' the question 'Have you noticed?'. I am also interested in the idea that a painting seen from a distance can be a different painting when viewed up close. This is a metaphor for the life we lead today ie: we live locally in an increasingly globalised world and we need to be able to 'see' multiple perspectives simultaneously in order to negotiate [I prefer dance] across the 'stage' which exists between the local and global.

In Monetizing Mother Nature I am thinking about the commoditisation of natural resources, the monetry value placed on carbon, water, wind and so on. Will a carbon tax eleviate global warming? That will be something we'll know in time, but I am sure there will be people making a lot of money carbon trading. Regular readers will know of my concerns about coal seam gas extraction and mining here in Australia and overseas. Huge amounts of money are being paid for exploration, mining, production, and foreign companies buying land and Australian mining companies. But at what real and ongoing cost? There is a vocal and growing community anti-CSG movement here in Australia, asking this very question. Without adequate scientific analysis of impacts on above and below ground water resources, potential soil degradation, plus social and health issues what might we ultimately lose? People are very concerned, frustrated, angry and anxious...all potent ingredients for social unrest.

Regular readers will know that I grew up on a farm on the Darling Downs and that I also lived, as an adult, for 18 years further west in the samll rural township of Goondiwindi. I understand the concerns people have about water and soil. I also understand farming practices and how CSG, and increased open cut coal mines, can affect production and efficiency. After reading a number of reports and articles, and attending forums on CSG I have been, and continue to be, deeply concerned about the haste of CSG activity, and the government's inadequate pre and current monitoring of the industry.

If one steps back from the close view ie: money money money to be spent and take a view of the bigger picture as seen from a 'distance', the money to be spent and made now pales against the potential massive 'value' loss caused by a plethora of issues ie: the potential for loss of food producing farm land due to aquifer water cross contaminations, introduced contaminations, depletion, plus soil degradation; erosion of farming IP due to farmers leaving or forced to leave the industry plus subsequent unraveling of rural social fabric; the fact that methane is a more dangerous contributer to global warming than carbon dioxide..I could go on because the picture is BIG.

In Monetizing Mother Nature I am playing with the word monetize. It's a word I see on my BLOG backpage where I have opportunities to monetize it. The opportunistic nature of the commercial world is fascinating, but not so when the mindset erodes how we might 'value' things by monetization when their 'value' goes way beyond money.

Please see below a list of other psots where I write about my use of small $ signs.

Now for something a bit lighter!

What I Think About Whilst Planking/Bridging Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

This is me planking. Yes, my long plait, mentioned above too, has a gravity defying life of its own! I started planking, to keep me trim and tight, a while ago when a friend spoke glowingly about its affect on his waist line...and it was discernible! But, it is so incredibly boring. I count in tens, sometimes in 20s, just to break up the time, to get to around 40- 80 seconds, depending on how bored I am. But, when I start to imagine, as in the painting above, the time goes much more quickly.



My entry for the BLAKE PRIZE whilst not a finalist was  in the group considered for the finals. AND, from that group the directors select works for what's called the DIRECTORS' CUT EXHIBITION. And, my entry COMPASSION is in it!
This link will take you to where you can see the list of selected artists.
The DIRECTORS' CUT is an online exhibition and the images are live from 26 October - 23 January.


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