Friday, October 12, 2012

Belle Ile paintings revisited

I had a horror moment last week, realising that I didn't have documentation of many of my paintings from Belle Ile en Mer. they were painted from 2000-2003 and most were documented on SLIDE film!
So I've assembled some of the jpegs taken by James Blackwell into the polyptichs.

this group below is a panorama of walking though "La Grotte De Apothicaire", so named after the tiny nooks created by roosting seagulls, that resemble on old-fashion pharmacy.

The second row is living at a friend's house in Melbourne. the others are still available and sitting in my shedio: oil on canvas, have cash, will travel....

I also have a very poorly documented polyptich also sitting in my shedio"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More Crazy Colour

I decided to create the first ever dayglo oil paintings. these were initially some kitsch tiki paintings done for some friends but then I got obsessed with the colours and couldn't keep away.

So I hyped up the scenes of cops belting demonstrators so they were totally cartoony and dayglo and weird.

More shitscared Sketches

the first was done on site - on the hoof literally, because the police were about to cross our lines

The second was done more slowly copying a photo (as if you can't tell).

I was an am concerned by the temporality of most media - digital images are bloody great - but who knows how long they will last? whereas graphite on paper lasts a few centuries.

2005 Ordinary Australians

In January 2005 I was part of a group show at First Draft with a great group of activist artists, in a show called "Looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction". The line up included Deborah Baker, Zanny Begg, Anna Belhalfoui, Diego Bonetto, David O'Donoghue, Christine Ho, Sari Kivinen, Joshua Parry, Brendan Penzer, Greg Shapley and Kami Smith.

It was one of those 'flash' exhibitions, so Diego and I after too much coffee came up with the idea of CACA: Concerned Alert Citizens Australia. Sari screenprinted some bags with the logo and Brendon produced the terror guide.

At Easter, Anna and I joined the convergence at the Baxter Detention Centre in South Australia. Anna filmed and I drew what was a really full on experience.
Each day, we'd march up to the gates of the centre and stand around staring and yelling and the hundreds and hundreds of police standing around staring back at us.
It was very odd. I blogged about extensively, but I found that at the time, drawing seemed to make sense as a sort of durational activity of bearing witness.


I haven't got any images here (yet)

But when i get home i'll ferret out some pics of the distemper on linen paintings that I did in 2003.

Distemper is ye olde fashioned gouache - which was used by lots of artists in the olden days - especially Breughel.

It's made by mixing pigment with rabbit skin glue - in a process very similar to making gesso. The paint has a really nice semi opaque semi transparent quality and the colours are less yellow than with oil paint.

It's kind of like the nice bits of watercolour - but you can get thicker with it and build up a series of marks and layers that have a nice structure.

In 2003 I went back to study art history and theory - so my studio works became a bit sporadic. I did lots of acrylic life paintings and regular zany performances.

It's a bloody trial!

These were from a show I had in late 2002 at Mary Place, and Early 2003 at the Alliance Francaise in Sydney.

This first one is a polyptich - a series of small canvases stuck together with velcro (not a great system really). It's based on a kind of walking panorama across two bays linking John Peter Russel's old house in Port Goulphar, right around to Port Domois. The polyptich offers a 180 degree view of a series of rocks which lie between the two bays. They feature in a really fugly Monet painting at AGNSW - and are pretty amazing. As you can see, I went completely bananas with the colours.

The second one is one of my favourite paintings, and probably the best I've done. (sigh). It's of stormy seas near Sarah Bernard's old house at Le Poulains and the rocks feature in some big panorama photograph that you can always see at framing shops. The colours are wild - but I stuck in a goose shit sky which gives a tonal structure so the brighter colours don't go floating off into space. the goose shit also adds an air of gravitas - which deepens the expressive complexity. (Hell, I know it's vintage, but I'm a fauvist at heart).

I put this one in - to show the effect of having a too keyed up tonal range. The colours are alll yummy and delicious and bright and the texture is like gelato - but then that's the problem. It's a painting of a ROCK so the sickly sweet thing is a bit incongruous, even though it matches my hallway really well.

This one was an attempt to repeat what I'd done with my favourite: a wild sky and choppy sea almost abstracted to mix with the rocks. It doesn't quite work because the marks aren't controlled enough - there are too many repetitive blobby things and not enough composition in what marks and colours go where - so it's a bit of a screaming cacophany, albeit an interesting one.

2001 Paintings from Belle Ile en Mer

I was so inspired by looking at rocks that I decided to learn how to do oil painting. Surprisingly enough, this was something that I had almost entirely managed to avoid while doing a painting major at NAS. It's not that I took any ideological position against oil painting - it's just that it's bloody slow, and I wanted to do and learn as much as I could while I was at art school.

I know the one below looks pretty crappy - but it is a little testament to my tentative attempts at plen aire painting under a blustery Breton wind. clad in parka, balaclava and ski pants I wedged myself into a cliff crevice and tried to resist the gale force winds belting around while I scratched out this image. I did 10 oil skethces on sight and used none of them - and realised that painting needs to be fluid product of the moment where it is being created, and I need to be moving while I'm doing it, not frozen solid trying to grip onto my brush and canvas so they don't go sailing over some cliff.