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1. Introduction

2. Depot Boxes

3. Tracks

4. Art Battery

5. Puma Search

6. Astronaut Figures

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2.03 - Deliverance

Depot—Animal Magician’s Hut: Introduction

In 1990 I produced a vast body of work that encompassed many visual forms and a diverse range of media. This work was exhibited at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art in 1990, and installed throughout all three galleries.

 

The work explored the nature of creativity as an elemental energy. I became awe-struck in my understanding that anyone could easily extract an image from the storm of thought within the mind, and present it in the form of chaotic, fluctuating materials. 

It occurred to me that the shaping of ephemeral thought into material forms was an act of literal magic, an astonishing gift that distinguishes us from our animalistic origins. At this time, I had become spellbound by the potency of this simple act, and I have used it as the subject of my work ever since.

Depot—Animal Magician’s Hut examined the ideal of a primal state of ‘wilderness’ at the core of all nature, and how this has been manipulated and transformed into the visionary structures of our civilised world. I imagined a similar metamorphosis occurring as images are dredged from the turmoil of the mind and given solid form in the outside world.

      


The work gave recognition to the ‘divine’ aspects of a shared human vision, but pictured this as an absurd type of triumphant kingdom, tilting perilously upon an animal’s back.

An animal magician’s hut, as I imagined it, was a precarious makeshift temple, assembled from the same rough stuff that surrounds it, yet containing a slightly altered space of magical function—a haven for creative industry amidst the untamed environment.

 

  

 

Although I was entranced by the miraculous ability of the human being to transform chaos into art, I was aware of the ever-present state of decay imbuing all matter, like a sad longing to return to its amorphous origins. An image might strive for sanctity, but it would always be resonant with the same materiality of the artist and the earth beneath his feet. 

 

    

I produced drawings from a very small scale to extremely large. I used delicate pencils and ink, as well as large brushes and sloppy house paints. 

 

I imagined every image as if spirited from the earth or the head: dripping with mind-mud, freshly emerged from some subterranean place, as if still clad in the afterbirth of the imagination.

Many of the drawings depicted raw material undergoing processes of transformation, like some slight shift in shape and form might provide a different function.

I painted batteries, radiating energy, yet barely distinguished from the fluctuating material from which they are assembled. The paint itself seemed like unformed fluid thought, which could be shaped into whatever idea that moved me.

 

 

 

The body of work incorporated hundreds of small drawings, as well as very large woodcuts and paintings on paper, describing processes of thought materialisation. There were also photographs produced with a homemade camera, sculpture and found objects.

 

 

 

 

 

Many narratives and themes informed the development of the imagery. The productive energy behind my own creative output helped me to imagine the creative process as a kind of engine that provides its own fuel.

I also drew from my experiences in the Victorian countryside on the trail of an elusive puma that was rumoured to exist. I gave consideration to the various endeavours of humankind, and used allegories of early exploration to heighten awareness of how a human may need to be equipped in order to re-enter a wild state.

These themes and materials may be explored further by clicking below.

 

Explore this theme

1. Introduction (You Are Here)

2. Depot Boxes

3. Tracks

4. Art Battery

5. Puma Search

6. Astronaut Figures