Blood Connection Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm
Regular readers of this BLOG will know there are a few subthemes to my work. However, hopefully you have detected that the overarching premise is to help make the world a better place for us all. I deliberately try not to be didactic, because didacticism is very rarely open ended. It attempts to give answers rather than stimulate questions which may lead to answers, and even more questions, we did not know existed. Didacticism can also be the disguise of more insidious agendas designed to herd opinion in certain prescribed ways. Didacticism can be mistaken as political, but its lack of open-endedness renders it impotent. Its potential agency dies because it is tethered to prescription.
One of the subthemes in my work is identifiably political and hopefully potently charged ie: my paintings dealing with water, soil, mining and the coal seam gas industry. Yet, I hope viewers feel that rather than being told, I am inviting them to become more inquisitive about the various potential social, economic and environmental impacts of these issues. Once informed, by their own research, they can make up their own minds.
$oils Ain't $oils Anymore! Oil on linen 70 x 100 cm
My paintings do not 'scream' their political agency. They are not attention seeking, in the fashionable sense. From a distance the viewer does not see the small $ signs I use to question 'value'. From a distance the viewer cannot read the small words/quotes I use to create my images. However, when up close, the viewer discerns and sees those things he/she could not see from a distance. I have watched people's reactions when they see the $ signs and words. Many immediately get even closer to check that they are seeing properly. Many walk back to a distance again, and then up closer, and then back again...and so on. Many chuckle and most stay in front of the painting for awhile to contemplate. If I am there they will turn around and ask me questions. Often a long conversation ensues.
Regular readers of this BLOG will know that the movement back and forth to view my paintings delights me! Why? Because, I 'see' this movement as the metaphoric 'dance steps' we need to learn if we are to live peacefully, sustainably and productively, in this increasingly globalised world in which we live locally. Simply, the distance viewing is the 'global view'; the close up viewing is the 'local view'. In order to see multiple perspectives simultaneously we need to know the 'dance steps' that allow us to graciously and easily traverse the local/global stage.
The movement back and forth also replicates the kind of movement an artist makes as they create. For example, I will paint up close and then move to a distance to ascertain a number of things, from the practical, to the aesthetic, to the esoteric. As I paint I am in a constant process of moving back and forth. If we all engage in, and with, our world in a way where we metaphorically move back and forth to see, hear and feel different perspectives, then we are all potentially sharing in the act of ongoing creation.
Earth For Sale! Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
Beauty also has a powerful political agency...because it offers hope. Beauty is not superficial prettiness enslaved to the transcience of fashion. It cannot be enlisted by attention seeking sensationalism or gimmacky spectacle, also fashion's exhausting attendants. Neither are spectacular or senstational. Beauty does not deny ugliness and sadness, and this is its potent secret...its pathos. I have written about beauty before :
Can We Eat Coal For Breakfast? No! Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm
Phantom Water Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm
Regular readers know I am concerned about issues surrounding the coal seam gas industry, which is burgeoning in S.E and S.W Queensland, as well as other parts of Australia and the world. I am not anti mining per se, but I am anti any kind of activity which puts food producing farmlands and precious water [aquifer and above ground] at risk. From my perception there are enough worrying incidents, in Australia and overseas [particularly the US] to warrant concern. There are also concerned voices calling for caution from the scientific community. I have attended two public forums where these voices have been clearly articulated. The question marks are there and it seems unscientific to proceed, especially with haste, without further research.
I am reading a brilliant, but scarey book called 'The Coming Famine' by Julian Cribb. http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/6447.htm This book coupled with another book I read recently 'Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, and Civilization' by Steven Solomon http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Water-Steven-Solomon/?isbn=9780060548308 compel me to believe the upmost caution must be taken to preserve water and food producing soils. As a farmer's daughter, and having lived most of my life in rural Australia, I have witnessed farmers embrace more environmentally sustainable practices in ways which enhance productivity. As a student of history I also know that it is both morally and politically dangerous to risk degradation of food producing farmlands. I have written about risk previously. Please see the painting below and the link to my previous post.
Risk Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm