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1. Introduction

2. Luminous Night

3. Hungry Spirits

4. Husk

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2.14 - Painting 2011
2.03 - Deliverance

Awake - Husk

The images in this series may have had their genesis on a field drawing trip many years previously, when I made sketches of insects that bombarded the lamplight at the campsite. They seemed like small alien beings visiting from the eternal blackness beyond my lantern.

I produced the three paintings below over the summer of 2002. They are relatively large pictures, measuring approximately 2x1.5m.

The many floating face forms printed upon the surface of these paintings relate to the monoprint images I had previously made over my own reflection upon a mirror, within the body of work Out of Our Heads.

These are the ‘husk’ forms referred to in the series title, from which thought forms emerge like gaping flowers and are in turn tended by winged sentient beings. The wings are projected and decorated to coincide with the form of a larger face, designed perhaps to frighten any other form of consciousness that might interrupt the proceedings.

The form of the winged beings was intended to have a rigid, doll-like presence, as if carved and presented to us by some unknown hand. In this sense they refer to handmade fly-fishing bait that I had observed on the field drawing trip mentioned above.

The central figures in the paintings seem to hang suspended in the atmosphere like a lure on a line.

The works were an allegory for the way vision unfolds; how one perceptive state might open up into another and another. This perceptive state begins with the outburst of visual growth from the hollow eyes of the skull forms at the bottom of the pictures. Everything that emanates from that point is an imagined world with its own natural order. The plant forms are like an unfolding sequence of eyes, each sprout opening up a new sense of awakening. 

The shape of the eye has always reminded me of a leaf or a wing. The paintings describe how nature sometimes repeats these forms in series to attract or repel our attention. Many of the plant forms are similar to those in the area where I lived throughout my teenage years, in the Southern rainforests of the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia.


These works were made without any clear idea of what I was trying to arrive at. More often than not I will begin painting without any preconceived notions, allowing the fluid movements of material to inform me of some new insight. In this case, about all I knew is that I wanted the paintings to 'look back' at me. The facial forms seemed to keep repeating on small and large scales as if camouflaging and revealing themselves at the same time.

The later stages of development within the pictures involved close study, a contrast to some of the paint application within Luminous Night, which was produced around the same time. At various stages, I have felt the need to lose myself in a concentrated involvement with work that may be meticulously rendered, in order to more fully experience the sense of release in spontaneous, directly produced works. 

I also produced groups of smaller paintings exploring similar themes with various techniques. In some of these works I became fascinated with the extreme applications of oil paint, from thick impastos to fine glazes. Having always admired painting throughout the history of art, I felt that this was a way of schooling myself in how the medium performs.



Explore this theme

1. Introduction

2. Luminous Night

3. Hungry Spirits

4. Husk (You Are Here)