If Turner Had Surfed (20 x 25cm) oil and enamel on canvas
AVAILABLE–FINALIST MOSMAN ART PRIZE 2011
Imagine a great master surfing. British landscape painter William Turner was obsessive about capturing the sea in turbulent or tranquil mood, producing many works of the English Channel. Some were painted in the seaside town of Margate where we spent our family holidays. These days there is even some surfing in Margate.
Turner’s art often focused on those who earned a living from the sea like fisherman or smugglers. Alive today Turner could also chose surfers and with his style and spirit in my mind these pieces were produced.
The remains of the Red House near the town of Bulahdelah is a striking poetic roadside image for motorists traveling north of Highway 1. Initially focusing on the rawness of the buildings colorful walls my thoughts turned to the once house proud owners and the changes in time as this habitation passes into disrepair.
Spatially, I was struck by the flowing scale in shapes and rhythm of angular blocks, pyramid like. The subtle dynamics of materials slightly overlapping each other and the contrasting metallic light of the corrugated porch roof against the dark recess of windows, doorways, nooks, crannies and corridors.
This piece depicts an outbuilding at the rear of a property, close to where I live. For the last year I’ve walked my friend’s dog daily in this neighbourhood, a suburb once labeled ‘Criminal Hill’.
This particular structure now stands tucked in defiantly against the wave of new builds, architectural styles and prosperity, which surround it entirely. It stands lopsided like a sore thumb to a rapidly changing social and economic climate.
Although the building at first appears abandoned, it is unmistakably used and maintained. Plastic chairs, buckets and occasionally even clothing are hung out to dry. The occupant; an old lady, still tends her vegetable garden.
Personally I am drawn towards the buildings dilapidated charm. Reminding me of the makeshift homes and buildings I’d seen in townships near Klerksdorp, South Africa. Nearby to where I once lived and walked.
The working title for this unfinished piece is ‘I Passed You Twice’, a lone shed near the town of Wingham, NSW. Seen when heading into town, it always draws the eye. From the road it appears rather majestic, glinting silvery in the lush green pasture fields. Over a fence for a closer inspection, face to face the structure displays the battle against the elements; dried wooden struts buckle, rust eats the tin roof and the paint is peeling away. Unmistakably abandoned, redundant and blunt.
There’s an ordinariness to this scene, nothing remarkable, everyday. Yet, for me at least the building has a real commanding presence. Enough to paint it. Standing it’s own test, it won’t quite pass into antiquity, gain meaning and respect over time. Most things don’t.
It just remains and I do look forward to seeing it for a third time.
I never actually owned a Scalectrix set as a child but remember them fondly at an early age. They are a British toy that have held popularity worldwide for several generations, across generations and continents.
Initially this piece was destined for a still life competition held by the Australian National Trust. I felt the work should be made as competitive in nature as possible. The competitive drama of two cars race towards a finish line, with only ‘three laps to go’.
The flag placement tells an altogether different story, more personal, of a daily competitiveness one feels and experiences with identity emigrating to another country. Few have the sporting rivalry of England Australia. Alienation. Win. Loss. Australian sporting colours are green and gold, England’s are red and white. Division of loyalties.
On submission the painting was found to be too large for the competition. So I entered another into the race.
Four recent paintings inspired by what occurs when adults play with children’s toys.
The simple narrative of each painting is explained within the title; ‘Insurance Job’, ‘Oil Spill’, ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Party’s Over’. They were not planned scenarios, created with joy, occurring through a playful attitude and the thrill of handling the toys themselves. Add a little chance that ‘something’ might happen along the way.
Each time an idea for a composition would began to formulate. Through a childlike approach too nudging a truck, bringing a figure forward, without fail the scenario would reveal itself. A very adult world. The everyday, the serious, the dangerous, the humorous, the mundane of urban travel, depending on your outlook. I just wanted to play.