Ever since I can remember, I have always been interested in Art and considered myself someone who could create something from nothing; whether drawing lines in the dirt or carving pieces of wood found around the home, Art has always been my passion.
In Primary School, my peers always supported and rallied behind my artwork. My older brothers always encouraged me and they even showed my work to our neighbours and friends; the subject matter might have been my super hero found in comic strips or images I found in our Larousse dictionary which I copied profusely or simply from my imagination.
In High School, my Art teachers just left me to my own devices and without any guidance whatsoever, I drifted away from Art and began devoting more energy to Mathematics and the Sciences with which I shared a common passion. I pursued this at University completing a BSc with a double major in Mathematics and Physics in 1980. I then obtained my teaching diploma sometime after at Flinders’ University in South Australia.
Whilst Art was always in the background constantly preoccupying my mind, it wasn’t until I started working that I felt Art should play a more salient and important role in in my life. Hence in 1992 I enrolled at the University of South Australia completing an Honours Degree in Painting and Sculpture in 1995, and in the process winning the Inaugural Acquisitive Art Prize offered by the University. I managed some solo and group exhibitions in Adelaide then moved to Melbourne with my family, exhibiting initially. With increasing family commitment and life in general, I went back to teaching Mathematics and Science in High School to pay the bills.
Art again took a back stage but I was always creating mentally and jotting my ideas down on scrap paper. Life commitments can kill creativity, especially my teaching responsibilities. When I left teaching, it took me quite a while to awaken my fertile mind again. I now devote all my time and discipline to my real passion and talent in Art.
My art process is part of the contemporary cultural dialogue, observing and commenting on events and ideas that already exist. My current body of work deals with the empowerment of women although historically at times, women have been thought of as a commodity in a Marxian sort of way. However, this isn’t the case. Women alone are in control of themselves. The work explores through imagery women in their full regalia, their potential and capabilities, their frailties, their distinct pain and pleasures. Their sexuality is explored and their existentialist status noted. The human form is suggestive and articulated to appease her psychological impact on us. The work’s illusory nature dissolves and then reforms, the textures are varied and churn the visual language I employ to recall the experiences, it is visceral and raw.
I am an abstract expressionist painter trying to unravel meaning from the shadows that are buried within the layers of the subject matter. My medium is mixed media using oil on canvas, pastel and charcoal. I like the roughness, the vibrancy of oil. Through oil, I can best express myself.
I love the process of painting; it is demanding and it enslaves you. When I'm painting, I don't think about the finished product or the viewer; I just focus on being true to the process. Before I even touch the canvas, or begin to sketch, I let the images swirl around in my mind. Then, I begin a series of sketches to translate my thoughts into more concrete images. As the images take shape on the canvas, they begin to change, I am constantly pushing and pulling the forms, adding a colour or subtracting it. Some paintings take a lot of drafts which can all be considered finished work, but not quite, always making sure the compositions is working.
Whenever I paint I don’t really know my destination, I just let things take their course. I just let "things" take over and govern me. I create, without knowing the outcome but I am in charge of the process and the discourse. I draw, paint, put together, assemble, and use oils and other materials, to achieve the end result. I just become part of a creative process.
I see/feel a very strong "force" taking over during the act of creation. It guides me through my paintings and leads me to the end result. It is very hard for me to detect when this should be: when I should stop this interactive process between me, my brush, the canvas and the paint. There lies my responsibility as a painter, a creator. I determine the composition because I determine when to stop this creative process. In the end, I am always making sure the compositions are working, the balance is right, the elements are working and checking and coming to terms with the creation.
I paint to evoke a response from the viewers, those hidden feelings about their personal condition and experiences they might have encountered or endured which we all share and with which we have a certain empathy. Once my work is finished, it is a relief a burden lifted almost a shroud only then do I distance myself from the work: it has its own life. I am no longer the interpreter or author; it is up to the viewer to take over and create their own world by immersing themselves and de-constructing the work at their leisure and on their own terms.
The present body of work explores the external world through sensations and prevailing moods; it is an expression or parody of the landscape. The paintings are abstract, devoid of any forms, they are the essence of the journey developed inside the studio with no reference to the real visual world. They are only sensations; mere memories of places which are fleeting, transient and ephemeral.
My paintings are not landscapes as such. It would be erroneous to suggest or locate any semblance to reality as this would distract from the essence of my intentions. I have tried to obliterate any form that has any reference to nature. There are no trees or rocks or sea, I am trying to capture the mood of the moment about the journey. Form has been completely jettisoned although some might try and find meaning through these references, which is natural as a starting point.
The body of work is not referential. The colours and the composition work to convey feelings. It is an attempt to break away from conventions. The colours chosen are arbitrary but important for the overall compositions to work and achieve the desired goals I have set myself: to produce a better picture, a more sublime image, to understand and come to terms with my world which I am trying to paint. I am to achieve something lyrical and something of beauty. I am trying to replicate the notion of beauty without any cultural baggage but rather one that is natural and instinctive.