Homage Mixed media on paper 37 x 27 cm 1991
The female figure has been a constant presence in my work, particularly since 1991 when I had my first baby. Not all my work depicts women, but I have been told, that my work exudes many aspects of the feminine. Regular readers will possibly think of my love of the tree-of-life, an age-old transcultural/relgious symbol of ongoing life in all its many splendours.
The painting above 'Homage' was created when I was pregnant with my first daughter. The pregnant woman is me, but she seems to resonate with shadows of herself. These are the women of my paternal and maternal ancestry. I look at this painting now and chuckle. Why? Because it is prophetic...the three baby figures on the left seem to be telling my much younger self, that I will have three children. And, I have.
I called it 'Homage' because my maternal grandmother died only six weeks before my first daughter was born. I was her only grand-daughter and a very strong link existed between me and Grand-ma-ma [Yes, that's what she insisted on being called!].
The stepping depicted in the painting was a conscious attempt to depict some kind of acsension, progress...birth to death...but also whatever existed beyond them...no end.
This painting 'Life' was created fourteen years after 'Homage'. It depicts a road with figures puctuating the route. This painting 'speaks' of the cycle of life, but belies the notion of a circle! It is actually somewhat 'dark'. In this painting I am reflecting upon the power of insidious expectations placed on women ie: that there is a 'road' or 'map' and deviations are not welcomed or possible. Well. I know that is untrue. My deviation, like that of many other women, was divorce.
Living With Distance Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm [Diptych] 2001-2
The two paintings above, done ten years apart, resonate with a feeling of distance, yet the female figures seem to emerge from the landscape. In 'Am I Mirage?' I believe now, that the younger me was searching for some kind of identity that was not hinged to the identities I played to 'fit in' to societal expectations. In 1991 I lived in a small rural community, in 2000 I divorced after eighteen years of marriage and moved to Brisbane.
I'd like readers to look at the above two paintings and compare them with the next two.
Breath Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2011
Mother Nature Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2011
The two paintings above, painted this year, and nineteen years after 'Am I Mirage?' and ten years after 'Living With Distance', tell me that the feeling of distance is not longer there or if it is, it is not about being lonely. In the recent paintings the female figure seems less agitated, less tethered. She is Mother Nature, so she is me and she is you. She is that impulse for life within us all...that impulse shared with whatever urge it is for all existence.
I have created a 'gallery' called My Women 1991-Present on my website. There are many more paintings in this 'gallery'. On the one hand this 'gallery' is a very personal visual journey, but on the other hand I know other women will resonate with it...and men too. Looking at the paintings, they also fall under the more general label figure in the landscape. Given that I was born in the country, and then spent eighteen years of my adult life living in the country, it is not a surprise that landscape is an essential part of my inspiration. However, I sense that my recent work is untethered from specific place, as if landscape itself is freed from being bound to Earth. This reminds me of another painting [below] called When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly.
When I Was A Child I Dreamt I Could Fly painted in 2003 [when I was certainly no longer anywhere near the age of a child] is a painting directly 'speaking' with my inner child...my inner essence. Even now I can remember the feeling of flying...it was fantastic. AND, this takes me to my book 'For Everyone: Words and Paintings'....a book which calls to your inner child or essence by prodding memory.
'FOR EVERYONE: WORDS AND PAINTINGS'
Click HERE to go to 'FOR EVERYONE'S' own page. All sorts of links including where to buy!
Click HERE to check out Kris Wampler's online interview with me about my book.
Click HERE to go to Jimmy Kopelia's Magazine with a collation of interesting BLOGS, including mine!
Click HERE to see where 'For Everyone' is listed in the SPBRoundup Religious/Spiritual/Inspirational online listing.