2020 – 2023
As we live, we record. We try to remember, and we leave traces. We construct the narrative of our lives from a collection of memories of key events. Sometimes, these memories are fortified by photographs, souvenirs, or places, but the passage of time is constantly reshaping and eroding our perceptions of these artifacts. We are left to ponder what has been preserved.
I am particularly interested in these vagaries of memory and historical narrative and where they spill over into the realm of fiction. The stories we tell, whether they are grounded in reality or imagination, help us form a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. They shape us, just as we shape them.
Works on paper 2021
My works from the ‘Entangled’ series call upon abstract and figurative motifs to address the material and emotional conditions of being human in these times of high uncertainty, distress and the resulting lockdown.
While physically restricting, lockdown for me has also been redeeming mentally. It has made me think deeply about the way we lived before with one another and reconsider some of the most vital experiences of the human condition: fear, joy, fatigue, loneliness, frailty, freedom, belonging, love – life and death.
It has made me rethink belonging, an important element in understanding who we are in times of separateness. Perhaps lockdown is an opportunity to explore new ways of being and belonging in the world that transcend binary options, places and borders, and reinstate equilibrium by belonging to what we relate to: our humanity – our shared struggles.
The driving force behind my works is an enduring interest in the human spirit, its emotional resonance, the sense of belonging and the way over time it manifests in our relationships with others, dependence to others.
Each piece is created over several weeks, using layers of oil painting between layers of mark-making. I aim to fossilize, preserve and record each set of marks as a single event in the building or rendering of the work. By working across multiple pieces at one time, memory and emotional responses to the subject means that what lies beneath is sometimes subdued or intentionally hidden. I am compelled by what might be revealed and obscured by this approach. These layers, with imagery and mark making, develop over time. Marks made today require a response to the mark of yesterday.
Informed by Expressionism and embracing soothing hues and boldly simplified or distorted forms, I desire to startle the viewer. The notion of the graphic impulse, with its raw, immediate, and unflinching emotional extremes delivering a directness and frankness, characterizes my work.
2020 – 2021
For the Menhirs series I have explored mines and mining sites in Romania. These visits stimulate all my senses and feed my never ending fascination for painting complex patterns, textural surfaces, and a dramatic play of light and color.
The old buildings are a huge portion of a mining town’s culture. Once ubiquitous in the Romanian landscape and central to the economy, many mining sites are now relics of another time. There is in these paintings evidence of a physical and grinding way of work, but also the hope for a brighter post-coal future.
I find these abandoned structures resonate with me on a number of levels – as a symbol for society, but also for the human condition. I want the work to embody the sense of vulnerability, fragility and disfigurement that I perceive in the subject.
‘I hope to capture a sense of the place I’ve been in; I do hope to do that. But of course when I get going the painting has it’s own life and it starts demanding certain things itself. There is that dialogue between the painting and memory itself. Sometimes the painting takes over and goes in it’s own direction.’
The cultural landscapes of a mining town.
My work explores the similarity between the ancient megaliths and the abandoned industrial buildings our culture leaves behind. I believe that ordinary or everyday landscapes are important historical artefacts which can be read like documents so that cultural meaning and environmental experience can be deciphered and better understood.
My mining background and heritage determine my interest in the centuries old struggle between the forces of industry and nature. I was born in a small mining town which now is filled with structural foundations of mine ‘heads’ which had been reduced to anonymous minimal concrete monuments. There is something mystical about the modern ‘menhirs’, they are at once placid and confronting. They carry the power and mystical sense of the past but also address the concerns of current culture.
Subject matter: urban landscape focusing on Australian suburbia.
I am interested in taking the neglected, seedy corners of suburbia and wringing out images which, though rooted in pesonal experience will depart to form a unified image and a new identity. I aim to take everyday objects and heighten their significance so that the viewer could learn to appreciate each object as art in itself.
Having grown up in Europe, I have always experienced definite boundaries in landscape: In contrast, travelling through the Australian landscape there is a sense of infinity, and frequently only suggestions of human activity. I find this fascinating.
In my current paintings, I combine the absence of human figures with the presence of tended agriculture, water tanks and communication lines which serve to imply the human activity As I seek to portray landscapes that are visually and emotionally powerful, I find a strong affinity with the Romantic painters of the sublime landscape, such as Turner or Friedrich. Although the aesthetics of my work are heavily influenced by abstract expressionism, it is the concept of the sublime that most eloquently describes the intentions I have for my paintings. A sublime landscape possesses a sense of grandeur, intensity, and importance: it has the ability to make humans feel small, to see their lives with perspective and their troubles as less important.
The work, like human habitats is built of many layers, cranes pulling up other cranes, scaffoldings that embrace other scaffoldings, beams that prop up other beams, only then to be scapped back, erased and destroyed. The process of building and dismantling is repeated until finally a sense of organic geometry is revealed.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”