2.14 - Painting 2011
2.03 - Deliverance

Organs of Special Sense: The Final Bloom of the Ice Rose

This image portrays the artist’s body as a conductor of psychic energies that rise from the earth and escape to the sky. It is among works that attempt to describe the mechanics of a story or myth that inspired them.

This is a large work, measuring 210x270cm. It exists in two layers of information—an underlying charcoal drawing and a three-dimensional overlay.

The charcoal drawing depicts my body in real scale, holding the same board the work is drawn on. The superimposed information attempts to outline in diagrammatic form what might actually be happening over the top of a mundane reality. This references the flat surface as a type of door or partition—a picture plane that denies physical entry while inviting access of the imagination.


The work describes the feeling of the panic attacks I experienced for a short while around the time of making. At these times I became bewildered by the sensation of a movement of physicality upwards through my body.

I used this disturbing experience as a model to invent the method by which ’spirits’ might release an unruly internal energy within the body. Tall figures conduct the ceremonial plucking and release of a bone white flower that springs from the ground.

Within the heart of this bloom resides the model of a fevered ‘imp’, the embodiment of the uncontrollable nervous energy that is centred in the chest.

The spirits in this work are playful depictions of imagined entities that reside on the ‘other side’ of a picture. The work attempts to address the otherworldly domain that exists behind a two-dimensional field and inside the body; it does so in a more elaborate, playful way than Dealing the Death of Me

I imagined the bloom of the icy flower as a significant occasion, like seeing my own death played out in comic theatre. The figures who attend the ritual separation of flower from stalk are like dignitaries cutting a ribbon. They are witness to the bright shock of awakening as if caught unawares.

I held in memory the historic photo of the momentous occasion in 1869 when the east and west coasts of the USA were linked by rail, and leading members shook hands at the meeting of each railroad. My image reverses the ceremonial function to that of epic detachment and isolation.

Sometimes an image is a useful way to process difficult feelings. My priority is not always to achieve successful outcomes in terms of the visual appearance of an image. Although this picture was disassembled at a later stage, the experience of producing it was invaluable, and the imagery was developed further in works such as 'Shining Harvest' and Vault.


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