Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bocanegra's Brother

Congratulations to Pru Goward, Liberal Member for Goulburn and the Minister for Community Services and Women, for her purchase of 'Bocanegra's Brother'.Goward has previously served as Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. She was Executive Director of the Office of the Status of Women in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1997–1999. In this position, Goward criticised the business community for the "primitive attitudes" that kept women out of senior executive ranks and boardrooms. It is an honour that Goward has extended her support for female professionals to the careers of Emerging Visual Artists in Australia.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Between making coffee and serving cassoulet

Part of my job description is to make regular chalk drawings on the blackboards at the restaurant Le petite Deux. Between making coffee and serving cassoulet i climb up and down the bent wood chairs to complete a 2.8x1.5m 'scribble'. As Le Petite is a French inspired restaurant the debut work is a Parisian street scene and I have plans for a boulangerie window. I am currently sitting on the forshore at Newcastle baths, between shifts, I have swum a few laps and am waiting elf or my hair to dry before I return for dinner service. With a full house tonight I am nervously rehearsing the food presentation Trout gravlax with bisque jelly, avocado and prawn veil; Duck breast with confit leg and orange glaze or was that lavender jus and cauliflower mousse ? I guess I'll find out in half an hour.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Material Developments

Whilst developing Nightmare on Sugar I experimented with rubber and the colour black. Whilst pastels and plush have been part of my material repertoire for a little while, the Gastro Porn exhibition prompted me to seek something more unsettling and sexually provocative. I felt it necessary to introduce a harsh contrast and a new element that would strip the plushies of their playful innocence and push them into the world of erotica. Rubber has seduced me in its own way as I find myself gritting my teeth in an unusual material pleasure when I twist and contort it, I like how it can strangle the textile so that soft plush oozes out. Images come to mind of hands on a piping bag squeezing out hollandaise sauce onto poached eggs. Like other Plush sculptures and installations Nightmare on Sugar is a hyper real piece, based on life, only this time it is indulging a little more in peculiar guilty pleasures of sensation, aroused by food and who knows what else....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nightmare on Sugar - A new installation

I use my art practice as a means of discovery: To realise wonderful places and harness fleeting memories and sensations. Seductive fusions of landscapes and creatures are made through a sculptural and painting practice that allow for different realities and sensory experiences to unite. In this hyper real world of exploited colour, texture and form I antagonise the boundaries of recognition so as to suggest that identity is fluid and changeable.

Nightmare on Sugar
represents the seductive colours and flavours that are abundant in the candy aisle. It has taken all the calories, all the lard and sugar and waged war upon your healthy conscience ! Dripping with luscious velvet ‘Plush’ sculptures imitate fluffy cake and beg you to give in to your wildest fattening desires. Within this culinary nightmare, all is not what it seems: Strings of Liquorice dangle like a noose and fairy floss threatens to suffocate. This installation is both attractive and unsettling but altogether too good to refuse.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gastro Porn

On Tuesday the 25th of September the exhibition: Gastro Porn opens at NG Gallery Sydney.

I will be exhibiting a plush installation 'Nightmare on Sugar' that exposes some new sexual twists in contorted black rubber with rivulets of buttery yellow velvet. Additionally, there will be paintings inspired by my recent occupation in fine dining - think bio dynamic eggs, soubise and lavender creme brule turned on their head with acrylic paint and sarcasm.

Visit the gallery online at:

Hope to see you at the opening !

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Works on Paper – a parallel journey to my painting and sculpture practice.

Whilst travelling in 2011 I maintained an artistic practice by working on a pocket pad of paper, often just with pencil or pen but at other times with gouache. The immediacy of the marks and colours gathered in these pads were fresh and raw and continue to speak truthfully of my experience of time and place. During my residency at Bundanon I returned to these sketch pads so as to start work on a larger collection that would broaden my interdisciplinary practice.

Life of the Fire revisits my participation in Dias De Los Muertos, one of the most sacred and colourful festivals in the world. The colours and imagery are derived from the public and private spaces in the Mexican towns where Day of The Dead is celebrated and pertains to the devotional practices and energy that is abundant at this time. The rainbow grid format refers to the paper flags that adorn the streets and welcome the communion of the living and the dead. Featuring a combination of printmaking, drawing and ink painting it is a piece of work that could be extended in a number of directions. This possibility excites me and is an expression of the rejuvenation that Mexico offered me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To make a promise

Hidden deep in the bush behind the pristine pasture of Bundanon is the Amphitheatre. It is a natural rock formation that towers into the sky and is framed by the thin trunks of spotted gums. At the forefront is a shady dell that welcomes picnics, conversation and music. This is where Arthur Boyd would often relax with friends or play music with the local people. A painting of this place is currently in Arthur’s studio at Bundanon and it made a lasting impression on me whilst I was an artist in residence at the Bundanon property. Pledge at the Amphitheatre is created after this work, as my response to the landscape but also to the community and creativity that is inspires.Just as Arthur painted with his wife Yvonne, I have taken loved ones to this special place. The robust brush marks and intensity of colour suggest the powerful beauty of the environment; whilst the immediacy of the pastel marks are connotative of the energy of people enlivening place. If you creep through the brush at the base of the rock you will find a little passage way that leads up onto a stage like platform. Once standing on top, looking out at the surrounding bush there is an overwhelming vibration in the air, everything and nothing exists between you and the natural world, no longer looking up at the towering surrounds you are part of the place. It was in this moment that I was compelled to make a pledge....

Monday, April 9, 2012


During my time at Bundanon I became impressed by the resident bull, who resided in a magnificent green pasture next to my studio. In the solitude of this residency I came to appreciate the reliable companionship of this animal, whose soft contemplative gaze often met my own. As my observation developed, I became intrigued by his conflicting behaviour. At dusk he would parade his fierce weighted body about and bellow until his rival would engage in a fight. However come morning, both bulls would be curled beneath a tree, endearingly licking the ears of one another.

Coincidently I had been reading Hemmingway’s novel Fiesta, whose imagery of Spanish bull fights and analogies of the tradition fuelled my intrigue into the cultural relevance of the bull. I began investigating the nature of its relationship with man and the power struggle between the two. There is a mutual respect for one another and yet an underlying power struggle. This tension captivated my attention as I attempted to paint the complex identity of the Bull. I used Hemmingway’s description of the artful interactions between the matador and the bull as a basis to paint a beautifully ferocious portrait. With bold colour and lavish brush strokes I am engaging with Hemmingway's subject of the spectacle and appealing to the bravado and beauty of the Bull. In a painterly language that appeals to human tactility Bocanegra appeals to the sentiment that the bull is not unlike the matador, mesmerised by the fury of the ring, the assertion of control and the passion of the dance. Both are captivated by delusions and frustrated with unfulfilled desire, but maintain each other in a furious energy. Like a true comrad the knowing gaze of Bocanegra shares with us the reality that just as the bull is commanded to fall under the matador we too can our own red flag.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In March 2012 I was an artist in residence at Bundanon, the homestead of the late Arthur Boyd. The life force of the property is the magnificent Shoalhaven river that sweeps its way through the pasture and bush land. Upon my arrival at Bundanon, NSW was amidst heavy rain and the Shoalhaven was in flood. As I drove into Bundanon the river lapped at the edges of the road and threatened to take me as its prisoner. As the levels rose the current rushed with intensity and swallowed the trees, taking many branches out to sea. The fever of the weather lasted a week where I did not see any sun. Contained in my studio, the solitude and unrelenting rain lead my brushes to canvas. Swallowed River Banks, charts the flow of water from sky to earth, from the patterning of raindrops to the rushing tributaries. It features a tangle of lines awash with layers of colour that reflect Bundanon caught within the tumultuous grip of the flood.

'Swallowed Riverbanks' is part of a new series of Paintings which is presented at the bottom of this blog as a new album.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Off the Wall

'I'm being eaten alive'
The last words spoken by Veronica before be aborted a picnic in the bush.
However the mossies weren't the only ones who made marks that day. Upon return to the studio the day's adventure was given an everlasting life as I took to cardboard, a long table and a wheely chair. Cutting up old boxes and setting up an assembly line on the table, I used the pens, ink and scraps laying about to pump out a recollection of the day. Using speed as my only rule, I started on one line only to let my immediate after thought dictate the next move. Through a process of cause and effect I put all trust in my memory and wandering hand to guide the work. Rolling up and down the table on my chair I scribbled here and dabbed there. It was wonderfully fresh and unrestrained so much so that I thought I must be onto something.

I recalled a place that I had been longing to visit and had braved the bush and mossies earlier that day. A unique mid land, between a storybook Forrest and the pastures of farmland on the Bundanon property. Here, the bark of the trees peeled off to reveal a glimmering red beneath. There were seed pods too, banksias, brush and bracken - coarse textures that are hard to love but get you in the end. Eucalyptus hung low and damp in the air - tempting you into the Forrest with its sweetness and uncertainty. Clusters of sap bejewelled the trees and made for a soft contrast to the rocky sand underfoot. It was a peculiar place.

The process of recalling this day happened so impulsively, so instantaneously, so honestly. Once completed it was reminiscent of a film strip, a narrative structure tied the loose ends, the brazen marks, the thickets of pencil. It became neither distinctly abstract or bereft of figuration. The culmination of gestures and images somehow hovered between the two disciplines, playfully alluding to a story or place far off in your imagination.

Not sure what to do with the card board pieces, which were at this stage strips approximately 50cm long by 10cm wide, I started scoring them with a knife. Unable to cut all the way through I unintentionally created folds so that the pieces could stand three dimensionally. Putting them up on the wall they wove their way on and off the wall, inviting one's eye into a space and around. Displayed in the same film strip sequence they invited you on a journey - along, inside, around and beyond the wall and its marks.

This is an exciting piece for it poses new possibilities. Its structure suggests solutions so as to create more dynamic visual environments. The close interaction that it welcomes and sequence of observation encourages me to work within some sort of narrative structure. I am interested in How I can weave my stories with those of others through the shared experience of an artwork.

Off the wall will be coming to a blog post soon !

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking through the White gums

Work in Process at Bundanon Trust

Friday, March 16, 2012

Walking with Boyd

‘Namaste’, Veronica and I bow down in gratitude for the day that is going to be at Bundanon.

Returning to the veranda the mist has lifted leaving a damp dew on the paddocks and an added sweetness to the breakfast of the bulls. Hot coffee, substance, strength, we enter our respective studios for a morning of work.

Purple, no grey, cadmium red or alizarin ? What did I have in mind for this canvas? Better still, I’ll just erect my easel in front of the window. With a view of the bush I look and put, scratch at the surface with charcoal and smear it with paint. This is much better I think, as I work responsively. A damp rag doubles as a painting tool and a cooling neck bandana as the sun continues to rise.

By Lunchtime I have worked up a sweat and three new paintings sit propped up against the wall, humble in their size but not of the place in which they come from.
‘I have to show something’ Veronica is at my door, eyes wide, toes wiggling in excitement. I follow her into her studio; new paper works lay draped on the floor as extensions of space, with fresh marks locating them in the energy of the day.

We convene in the kitchen and compose a picnic basket, time to reward our efforts.

Sticks in hand we march across the fields, Veronica leads the way, through warrens of wombat holes and thickets of decaying thistles. A welcome breeze picks up the pollen and carries my gaze across the cobalt sky and onto the blades of grass, iridescent in the sunlight. Leaving spiked mountains behind we pursue the river as respite from the afternoon heat.

Our picnic rug paints a pink square on the green paddock. We sit together and fork a rainbow of salad into our mouths, marvelling at the red and green peppers and polka dots of olives.

Now fed, it is time to be watered. Having slipped into the river I Hover on the surface, arms outstretched, I admire the transformation of my skin, glistening under an amber film. With eyes at water level I am one with the landscape, watching as ripples disappear into the distance to meet with the sweeping current. I let it take me to a beach downstream that is sheltered by the shadow of pulpit rock, fierce and majestic. Welcomed by a chorus of insects, I Rise from the water and join the lone footprints of the birds. Beads of water trickle down my arm and evaporate in the steam of midday; I take to the bush for shade, wildly seduced.

Licking Sweet Kiwi juice of our fingertips we finish lunch. Enormous blue clouds are building behind us and are inching toward the sun. It promises a storm, a reprieve for the heat of the day. We pack our goods and set back across the fields.

Unable to paint in my studio that is blanketed in heat from the setting sun, I recline in the cool of my bedroom, reading about Karel Appel’s fantastic animals, eyes soaking up the rich images. Tired from the adventure of the day my eye lids start to flicker and fall, soon I am no longer reading, but dreaming.

A crackling of the clouds gives seconds of warning before an enormous thunder clap splinters the sky overhead, sending vibrations into my bed. I sit upright to a view of a transformed sky, grey and turbulent that is engulfing pulpit rock at a distance. Within minutes Sheets of rainfall, engulf the studio in a fierce storm, Battening down the hatches, Veronica and I wind in our windows and slide close the doors – taking refuge in the centre of the house we are safe from the water that seems to be thundering on every surface.

Just as inspiration strikes in a powerful instant, the storm has passed through in a moment, leaving the landscape and course of the day utterly exulted: cool, calm and collected. Pulpit rock is no longer the eye of the storm but sits knowingly on the horizon, sharing the reminiscence of a day with a young writer in her studio at Bundanon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Whining Cats

mongolian coasts shining in light,
I listen to the pulse of the sun,
the tiger is the same to all of us
and high, oh
so high on the branch
our oriole


Karel Apell

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

'Don't take my life away'

'Bizness' IS the Business