Thursday, April 24, 2014


I have just returned from a just over three week trip overseas to Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Munich and Abu Dhabi. Travelling by train between Berlin...Prague...Budapest and Munich to take in the country-side.

I have not been overseas for nearly ten years and this opportunity provided me with a chance to suss out some possibilities for my art practice, such as residencies, exhibition, collaboration and networking.

I have long held a desire to undertake a residency, but due to commitments to children, this has not been something I could pursue...until this year when my youngest child finishes school. Yay! So...from the end of the year I am open to all sorts of new possibilities!


As a result of the trip my mind is full of ideas, not only for such things as residencies, but also for new paintings. In Berlin I visited a number of small commercial galleries plus some large institutional ones. Old East Berlin, in areas such as Mitte, is abuzz with new galleries, coffee shops, restaurants and interesting boutique shops.

I attended the opening of an exhibition of photographs by Australian artist Rex Dupain at the very hip space opened by enterprising Australian art dealer Michael Reid . The gallery is in Mitte, previously part of Easter Berlin. I also visited various other galleries including Gallery Eigan + Art and CWC [Camera Work Gallery]. The latter had a stunning exhibition Before They Pass Away of British photographer Jimmy Nelson's work. Information about this exhibition can be found on CWC's site and at Youtube.

The two photographs above are of me standing next to preserved parts of the Berlin Wall called East Side Gallery. Artists from all over the world have painted sections of this 1.3 km section of the Wall.

The photograph above is me standing with Joseph Beuys's Unschlitt...20 tons of tallow fat exhibited along with other of his works at the large contemporary gallery called The Hamburger Bahnhof...yes an old railway station. You can read more about Unschlitt HERE The gallery was fascinating, with artwork by many contemporary artists, some I knew and many I did not.

Another major institutional gallery highlight was seeing Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's exhibition Evidence at the Martin Gropius Bau. This large and extraordinary exhibition comprising installation, video, sculpture and more was thought provoking. I would have loved to have been able to return to see it again...there was a lot to take in.

I also visited a young Australian/Brisbane artist Karla Marchesi who has a studio in Berlin. It was wonderful to see a Berlin artist's studio...up five floors, in an old building in a suburban part of Berlin that would have been in the walled-off East section. Karla was busy working towards an exhibition in Singapore, plus she had just sent paintings to Brisbane for inclusion in an upcoming exhibition David Malouf And Friends at the Museum of Brisbane [MOB].


I loved Prague! Here's me rubbing the lucky sculpture of St John Of Nepomuk on Carles Bridge. Apparently this brings good luck and return visits to Prague. So, I was keen to line up for my turn to rub!

Prague is a truly beautiful a fairytale. One of many highlights was visiting the Klementinum and its Astronomical Tower and old library. With my interest in cosmology, a visit to a place where scientists from centuries ago studied the Universe, was particularly amazing. The photo below is me after I have climbed to the top of the Astronomical Tower to then be rewarded with terrific views across Prague.

As a result of my visit to Prague I am very keen to pursue a residency in the Czech Republic. I have a young Czech friend, who I hosted in Brisbane when she studied English a few years ago. She suggested then that I should go to the Czech Republic for a residency...and she was right! 
And one more Prague photograph. This time I have the city behind me after I have climbed to see the Castle area. I am on my way down. As you can see the blossoms were out!

Another magical city! I was not sure what to expect in Budapest, but it was fantastic. The sense of a magnificent history permeated every corner. Like Prague the old buildings resonated with elegance and a quiet majesty, despite the communist presence during the Cold War.
I was busy in Budapest with visits to the castle area, a walking tour through the city, bathing at one of the old thermal baths, visiting a few private art galleries, night time river cruise along the Danube and more. The galleries I visited were in old buildings accessed via intercom, into a courtyarded area, up a few flights of stairs and into charming apartments made into very contemporary spaces.
The photograph below is of me gazing over Budapest from the castle area on the Buda side of the Danube.
The photo below is of a public artwork/sculpture I found whilst wandering through the streets of Budapest. It is a fountain of sorts! The water acts as a page of a book being turned. You can find this intriguing piece at Henszlemann Imre Utca...but I cannot find the artist's name anywhere...and rest assured if I could I certainly would acknowledge him/her. It is one of the best public art pieces I have seen.

I had been to Munich for a day in 1986 and had always wanted to return to this elegant and beautiful city. I met up with Dr. Charles Savage a great mentor, teacher and communicator. I've known Charles for a few years and admire his pursuit of community and spiritual depth. I was thrilled a year or so ago to be invited by him to conduct a presentation via Skype to MBA students at the Munich Technical University.

So, only a few days in Munich and they were packed, even though it was over Easter. I visited the Pinakothek de Moderne [Gallery] and saw some more Beuys works, plus earlier masters of modernity such as Picasso, Braque, Klee, Miro and more. A exhibition Drawing by British artist David Shrigley was particularly delightful.

I was also taken by the paintings of controversial German artist George Bazelitz's. One gallery space exhibited a number of his works. Baselitz is the artist who famously announced that women cannot's link to an article by Nicholas Wroe in The Guardian that will introduce you to Baselitz, if you have not already heard of him.

As well as the art...there are the cakes in Munich too...see the photo below. I discovered this cake shop on my way to see the Nymphenburg Palace...a lovely palace too [see the photo belwo the cake one]


And after the Spring lushness and colour of Europe I landed in Abu Dhabi, a place I had wanted to return to since 2005 when I held a solo exhibition at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. The contrasting landscape really hit me. Sand, dust, massive V8 cars everywhere, architecture gone wild and people in their flowing robes, women in black and men in white.
I had two days of meetings with various people from different organisations. I am keen to see if I can return to the UAE for a residency and/or exhibition plus to give presentations and workshops.
My meetings went really well, with positive responses from everyone.
And, now I have to work out and strategise what I want to do! I only got home yesterday and I have already sent emails off, looked up grant and residency applications and so on. My thoughts are forming into a 12 to 18 month long project...shall keep you posted!
It was a wonderful and stimulating trip, which paves the way for the next period of my art practice!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


                                                              'Planet $' Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm

I've been travelling...and have had a fabulous time. However...

I personally think that the ubiquity of fashion is the demise of identity. The so-called high fashion shops such as Prada, YSL, Ferragamo, Gucci, Armani etc line the better avenues of cities all over the world. In my mind creating a blandness that spoils local identity. It also engenders disappointment in the visitor to that city...well that's how my daughter and I felt. Then there are the not-so-high fashion shops that also spread their insidious sameness eg: Zara, Mango, H&M etc.

Walking into these shops...actually just passing by them...suspends you from locality. You could be anywhere...even in a kind of suspended world that is not about a unique locale...but about a recognition of sameness...the possibility of conformity to so much more than just style. Obviously the seepage of fashion into, what seems like, the four corners of the world is all about money. Why else would one dilute one's affective 'personality'?

But, it is not all depressing news. In Berlin, Prague and Budapest I saw some fabulous designs, but normally by accident. These boutiques are ones you discover around the corner from the main boulevards and squares. Dressed in one's tourist gear (ie: the same jumper worn for days, running shoes because your other shoes hurt with all the walking, camera around your neck etc) you feel like a goose wherever you are!

But, the insidious spread of certain types of fashion got me thinking about my painting...a small one...called 'Planet $'. It was inspired by the $ value placed on resources...questioning notions of 'value'.

But fashion is also a culprit...and in a sense a victim as well.


Monday, April 07, 2014


Feel The Energy Gouache on paper 40 x 110 cm 2003

 As promised in my last post, here are some more paintings from my map drawers.

This post exhibits a few of my older landscapes, ones that seem to delve inside the landscape. But, upon reflection I now see that each one reveals a cosmos within. Each one could be an imagined depiction of the vast landscape of the Universe, and maybe the Multiverse.

 Hovering Gouache on paper 52 x 114 cm 2003
As you can see from the dates, these paintings are around ten years old. At that time I explored landscape with an interest in the macro and micro, but I had not consciously launched my perspective into space. Yet, maybe my subconscious was already there?
Certainly, as a child, I used to lie in my bed and wonder about how far space went, where was the beginning, was there an end, how did it all start? These questions even kept me awake some nights.
My Heart Sings Gouache on paper 56 x 115 cm 2005

The five works on paper are either stored in my map drawer or have been sold. Thus, I don't get to see them much. But, recently I went through my map drawer...tidying it up...and I spent time with works on paper I had not seen for ages.

The impact of seeing new perspectives in these older paintings is both startling and greatly satisfying. It certainly does make me think about the influence of the subconscious.

And, maybe it is a mixture of my individual subconscious and also that of the collective subconscious, where all history perhaps resides!? 

 Memory Traces of The Land Gouache on paper  52 x 114 cm 2003 [sold]

The Mirage Gouache on paper 52 x 114 cm 2003 [sold]

The painting below Traces Of Spirit is the only oil on linen painting in this small online exhibition. I actually have it hanging on a bedroom wall. So, I do see it regularly. Yet, it was not until I reflected upon the works on paper, after their long dark 'sleep' in my map drawer, that I looked at Traces Of Spirit with new eyes. Yes, it is much more than a landscape, but at the time of painting it, I was thinking about spirit in the land, the Earth. Now I see more Universal/Multiversal forces!

Traces Of Spirit Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm 2003

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Together And Apart Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2005
Today I sold Together And Apart [above]. It will have a new home in the USA!
Needless to say I am very happy, particularly because it was an out-of-the blue sale. And, because I had such a lovely time with the buyer and his friend...a mutual friend actually.
I had the opportunity to bring out works on paper that have not seen the light of day for quite some time. And, this is always a slightly unusual experience. Why? Because I see them with new eyes...I see them from the perspective of my current work. But, so often the clues to my current work are clearly visible in the older paintings. 
So I thought I'd upload a couple of the other works on paper we looked at today. They have been lying in my map drawers or stacked behind other paintings for a few years.
                           Alternate Universe Gouache on paper30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2005

I had forgotten about Alternate Universe but I was very pleased to be reminded of it today, especially considering my interest in cosmology. The seeds were obviously there nearly 10 years ago. Please check out my COSMOLOGY page.

Rain Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2011
And Rain...I was happy that my buyer of Together And Apart liked Rain too. When I painted it a few years ago, I remember being at peace with it, because it sort of finished itself. I was really pleased to have had the opportunity to bring it out from its dark home in my map drawers.  
My next post will also have images of paintings that have been in the darkness of my map drawers for awhile. So, keep posted!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Shared Landscape Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2014
Recent cosmological discoveries such as the signature of gravitational waves generated in the nanoseconds after the Big Bang tell me one thing...we are all in this together. We share the Universe, if not the Multiverse! We are star dust just like everything else. I have previously written that this makes me feel very grateful and comfortable. Why? Because upon death we don't just disappear to nothing...we return to dust.

Please check out my previous post, which is actually a small online exhibition,  COSMOLOGY, BIG BANG AND THE MULTIVERSE for more!
I read an interesting article this morning, Neil deGrasse Tyson on Your Ego and the Cosmic Perspective by Maria Popova on Maria's great site called Brain Pickings. Neil de Grasse, an astrophysicist and 'cosmic sage' explains that for some people the enormity of a cosmic perspective strikes fear, whereas others feel a sense of awe that embraces rather than alienates them. Ego seems to have a bearing on how one might view the vastly expanding knowledge of our Universal/Multiversal environment. Those with an inflated ego may feel depressed, as if diminished. This is what de Grasse says,
So those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I’m small, but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me.

Cosmic perspective is something regular readers know is dear to my heart. It's a way of viewing our planet, our Universal/Multiversal environment and ourselves differently [this may help issues of ego!]. But it is more complex than that, because a cosmic perspective, for me at least, is the ability to see multi-perspectives [literal and metaphoric], possibly even simultaneously. In a era where cosmology is revealing more and more about the close and far distances of our Universe/Multiverse I suggest that it is really important to practise seeing multi perspectives. But first we have to look up from our iPhones and computers! Maybe we need to be like a bug that can see all around itself at once....imagine where we might see new questions...and new answers never dreamed of!

SHARED LANDSCAPE: Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm
My new painting Shared Landscape plays with the ideas of...landscape and perspective. As regular readers know I am keen to untether concepts of landscape from Earth-bound horizons, because whilst Earth maybe our home, the Universe [which maybe a Multiverse] is our environment.

The landscape genre is as old as painting itself. It has helped orientate people to the land and their immediate environments. It has helped generate identity, a sense of belonging; visually describing pain of separation, concern and awe. Depictions of landscape, traditional and contemporary, can elicit a plethora of feelings, emotions, memories and intellectual curiosity. But, I suggest we need to think about how cosmology is inviting, if not demanding, us to engage with broader concepts of landscape. Landscape can help us connect to our cosmic environment, just as it helped connect people over eons to their known environments.

So, to my painting. The background is an indeterminate sky, land and/or sea...somewhere. The three planet-like shapes hover above this indeterminate 'landscape', yet they also reveal it. The planets' own landscapes promise potential land and water areas. The direction of light from the right, suggests a star/sun, thus day and night, potential seasons...time. Yet, the planetary landscapes are not complete...without acknowledging their broader environment...the one beyond their planetary horizons. This is why I have painted the planets as if incomplete. This incompleteness disrupts near-sighted horizons forcing a line of view beyond, into and around...multi-perspectives all at once, demanding our attention, our connection. A cosmic landscape!

So, like de Grasse says, So those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. 

And, to my recent painting and post: Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective
Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective Oil on linen 91 x 137 cm 2014
My painting Super Earths Discovered is a finalist in the award.
The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been selected to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post
The exhibition continues until April 13.
Super Earths Discovered Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where? Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2013
In the last couple of days big news has hit the media. Big news about the BIG BANG! Scientists have detected evidence of the signature of gravitational waves generated in the nano-seconds after the BIG BANG. These waves support the theory of cosmological inflation. They also give strength to the theory that we do not exist in a Universe, but a Multiverse!
Here are a couple of articles about this momentous discovery for you to read:
And here's a link to a video showing the reaction of the physicist Andrei Linde, who first came up with the theory of the inflationary Universe, when he was told that recent data and observation confirmed his theory as likely. Physicist Rejoices As He Learns His Big Bang Theory Is Correct
In light of this recent announcement I thought I'd 'curate' an online exhibition of some of my paintings that have been inspired by cosmology, the BIG BANG and particularly ideas of a Multiverse:
I first uploaded  Where? [above] in a post titled Looking In The Rear Vision Mirror - Cosmically Speaking In this post I wrote about the rear vision mirror metaphorically as, 'The rear vision mirror presents us with the fascinating potential for keeping an eye on the past, as we live in the present and look to the future.' I also wrote,  'Where? implies a question about a physical position, but it can also ask about a position in time. The image could be the birth of the Universe, as if seen in a rear vision mirror, which is kind of what happens when cosmologists and astronomers examine images of newly discovered cosmic entities. Light reaching us now started its journey eons ago; the past licks at our heels, and sends light and shadows into the future. But, if we don't look out the windows or look into the rear vision mirror we might miss the light and be caught in the shadows.'
The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multidimensional Horizon [above] was inspired by many things but also Australian author Tim Winton's marvellous speech at the Royal Academy in London, November 2013. In my previous post about this painting I wrote, 'So...yes...perspective invites us to also consider horizons, both literal and metaphoric. Indeed, contemporary cosmological research is pushing our horizons in all directions. For example, the Universe maybe a that's a huge shift in horizon don't you think!'
After the release of the discovery of the signature for gravitational waves generated at the BIG BANG I'd say horizons have dramatically shifted. In fact, are there any really?
Dizzying Perspective Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2014
In my earlier post for Dizzying Perspective [above] I wrote, 'Dizzying Perspective is similar to an earlier painting which I called Where? This painting asks questions too, indeed its title is a question. It asks about time and space. Both paintings, I sense, move beyond their physical limits of size ie: 50 x 50 cm. There is something quite satisfying about painting an image of Universal vastness on a 50 x 50 cm canvas! A bit like the size differential of Dr. Who's marvellous Tardis.'
Surrendering Horizon Oil on linen 100 x 150 cm 2014

In Surrendering Horizon I have...surrendered the horizon! What does this mean? In my earlier post for Surrendering Horizon I wrote, 'In Surrendering Horizon I have 'torn' the horizon line away from the landscape. It now seems to draw the landscape towards new perspectives, as it enjoys relinquishing its tethered state. It almost playfully entices the landscape to reach out, and in this process, lifts its 'eyes' towards Universal [possibly even Multiversal] distance.'
Multiverse Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2011

Now to my painting actually called Multiverse. I was so inspired by the idea of a Multiverse, that I had to paint the image that sprang into my head. I first read about the idea in Astrophysicist/Royal Astronomer Lord Martin Rees's fascinating book Just Six Numbers. I wrote this in my earlier post, 'The image that sprang to my mind is a tree with small portal-like 'windows' or 'eyes' dotted amongst the branches, each created by a kind of swirling or vortex action. These portals are more obvious from a distance, because they interrupt the pattern of the tree. Up close, they are still visible, but the interruption to the pattern is not as obvious. I suppose it is a bit like seeing a peacock proudly unfold its plumage, compared with looking at only one feather. The magnificence of the fanned plumage is breathtaking and patterns are discernible, yet one feather, still beautiful, only whispers.'

And here's a link to another Multiverse post called Multiverse Possibilities
The Beginning of Everything Oil on linen 90 x 180cm 2010
And, now to EVERYTHING! Yes, EVERYTHING. My painting The Beginning of Everything certainly took some persistence to paint, as you can see from the detailed line work. In my earlier post I wrote, 'I had this idea that I wanted to paint an mage which 'spoke' about the beginning, those nano seconds after the Big Bang. What would the 'landscape' be like? I wanted to paint an image which gave an impression of those nano instances, but also the presence of whatever it is/was that set it ALL in motion.'
I think The Beginning of Everything is a multifaceted painting! It gives an impression of expansion, inflation...waves even! I am very fond of this painting. to a Landscape Of Everything
Landscape of Everything Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
In Landscape of Everything I imagined lots of things...well one could suggest 'everything'...including that the coloured balls are each a Universe! So the painting is another inspired by ideas of a Multiverse.
Other Worlds Ahoy! Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013
In my previous post I wrote, 'Other Worlds, Ahoy! also continues my thoughts on untethering notions of landscape from being Earth-bound. In an age where cosmological research is discovering more and more about the close and far distances of the Universe, even suggesting a Multiverse, I believe we have a great opportunity to re-interpret 'landscape' with new perspectives. And...that this may provide new insights for all kinds of sustainability and even new ways of being.

With Other Worlds, Ahoy! a dominant landscape provides an horizon, yet is the viewer in this landscape or hovering above it? Is it Earth? Other planets...even Universes...worlds...hover too. Is the viewer on another of these? Or is the viewer in some kind of spacecraft madly negotiating a safe pathway to another Earth-like planet, a new 'home'? '
I am not a scientist and I am not a science illustrator. However, I am very interested in harnessing science in a way that communicates awe, wonder and imagination. I attempt to link this within an art historical framework eg: discussing notions of landscape.


Monday, March 10, 2014


Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective Oil on linen 91 x 137 cm 2014
If the entire history of the Universe were rescaled to one year, humans wouldn’t appear until 14 seconds before midnight on December 31. Big History Project
This certainly puts things into perspective!
Regular readers will know I have written about the Big History Project before. It is an education program designed to stretch our understanding of the Universe and humanity's place within it. Such a broad perspective lifts our gaze so that we see all the close and far distances of the micro and macro. My previous posts are Time Travelling  and Complexity
Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective
In this new painting I have imagined life, represented by the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, taking a journey. It weaves its way into Space, travelling around a planet before seemingly turning back to reflect upon where it has come from. The tree is firmly grounded on a Mother planet. Will it release itself once it knows more about itself and the 'environment' it has explored? Will it return with new knowledge, insight and wisdom? Is the Mother planet Earth? Or is the green planet Earth? Maybe neither is Earth? Maybe both are Earth? One representing a denuded landscape, a result of an apocalyptic event and the other Earth's past fertile glory. There are many alternative interpretations. Just the way I like it! Playing with perspective!
So, as you imagine life taking a cosmic perspective what do you see?
My reactions to imagining a cosmic perspective are a mixture of comfort, frustration and hope. Comfort that I am part of something much bigger than me and that one day I will return to its source. Frustration that contemporary society seems to be developing habitual responsiveness to the short distance between computer or phone, thus very often missing the opportunity to appreciate a broader perspective on issues. The short distance between a person and a phone, according to an optometrist I spoke with, is causing myopia at younger ages. As a metaphor for myopic understanding its pretty frightening! But, I am hopeful too. Hopeful that contemporary cosmology, the study of the close and far spatial and temporal distances of the Universe [maybe even Multiverse], will catapult perspective, in its multiplicity of dimensions, into everyday thinking and experience. It is far too fascinating and inviting to not look up, out and beyond our phones. Crossing fingers!
The tree in Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective not only explores new perspectives of its original environment and its wider Universal environment, but in turning back on itself it also sees itself differently...or maybe its the first time it has reflected upon itself? Perspective is not just about seeing our world and our universal environment differently, but also ourselves.
Regular readers will know of my fascination with the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol. I believe age-old symbols hold truths that are meaningful across ages. The tree's symbolism of life transcends time. I attempt to unleash the tree-of-life from traditional visual interpretations to extract and reveal meaning that is relevant in the 21st century. I see the tree's branches as representative of systems of all kinds both natural and man-made...but all promoting and sustaining life....revelling in the awe...shifting our perspective...dancing across the Universe. The tree helps me create what I call cosmic landscapes...acknowledging that concepts of landscape need to be untethered from Earth-bound help shift our horizons and add to our understanding of perspective.
The tree is both a conduit and a connector, to past and future history, to our Earth and to the energy forces of the Universe. As a symbol of the urge for life it goes way beyond the 14 seconds before midnight on December 31.
Detail of Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective - Work in process
My painting Super Earths Discovered is a finalist in the award.
The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been chosen to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post