4 Fowler St Leichhardt NSW 2040
Phone 02 9568 3750
Salon De Refuses (Wynne)- SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
6" x 6" sculpture show - Defiance Gallery, Sydney
Winter Crop - Depot Gallery, Sydney
Salon De Refuses (Wynne)- SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
First Crop - Depot Gallery, Sydney
Side Show - Caffe Sympatico, Sydney
Common Ground - Bondi Pavilion Gallery, Sydney
About my work
Transcript from talk for public program at Salon de Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery / June 12, 2005
I use found materials. I am the person who has stopped and is ratting through the skip bin in front of your house renovation.
If it's on the footpath or in a bin..It is heading for landfill and it's fair game to me.
I only look for painted wood, bleached and weather aged. I don't apply paint. The colour has to be there.
Colour and collection of materials is therefore a completely random exercise. I work with what I find ferrying kids about and doing the domestic errands. I get the the occasional tip off.
I have an old Volvo station wagon and provide a useful lightening rod
for latent road rage candidates, while I'm cruising back streets looking
You can't get away with anything if you drive a Volvo.
I think it's probably a public service owning one.
I am the son of a farmer on the Darling Downs in South east Queensland. This the place of my earliest memories. My family have farmed there for almost 50 years and continue doing so.
I grew up with the idea of open space as a given, of walking miles as a kid...never seeing another person and never lost.
It could be regarded as flat and uninteresting country. There are no easy, green rolling hills, but plenty of cultivation from fence to fence and sporadic scrub paddocks. It's often dry and generally hot.
I worked as a farm labourer on and off until I was 25 doing sheep and tractor work in the main. My life has been in cities since then.
There is a strong imperative to 'make do' on a farm. Shops aren't around the corner....money is often tight...things don't get thrown away....there is always room to dump them somewhere, because it just might be useful sometime down the track.
In practice, this means a steady acumulation of junk and old machinery parts...but on occasion it happens that this stuff can be useful and converted to get you out of a fix....you patch it and keep on working.
So I have a certain repect for junk and have inherited the hoarding gene from my father who is always one to have a look around while dumping at a tip in case there was something handy to take back.
I collect timber for it's potential and because I love it as a material. I never know exactly what it will be used on except to say it will become a memory of landscape or features from that small part of the world. It might sound a bit limited.. but in practice it has never felt that way.
I do so because I know that landscape...can hold a sense of it...it's physical dimensions are a part of my make up. There is the strong emotional connection to good and bad times.
And I do it because as a subject it is harsh and the beauty is real but not easy. That is what I seek to show in my work.
I work on the floor initially putting timber of roughly similar dimensions together to work up a colour palette.
At this time I am looking at how to get into it...how I will cut it up. I tend to use hand tools because it slows me down.
If I have particularly nice wood with say, an exceptional colour...with a hand saw you have to work more so you spend time consider the cutting.
Wih a drop saw you can have it hacked up in no time and opportunities I couldn't see quickly get lost. I do have a drop saw for when I am certain and there is heaps of cutting to be done..it helps the RSI.
But they are a bit scary. With hand tools it's easy to cut yourself...but pretty hard to cut something off.
While pushing this timber around at my feet I am looking for some kind of truth.. some moment of recognition.. some sense of form... it needs to take me to a feature or feeling of that landscape.
There are often hundreds of pieces so in forming up these initial impressions I attempt to allow some randomness to occur.
I don't want to think about every placement. I try to lose myself to some degree...at its best it feels meditative.
It's like ploughing for two weeks. You don't need to look at the plough the whole time to know the job is being done.
It's a a sketch approach. You can refine later but that initial looseness is where I always get the bones of the picture.
The edges I spend alot of time on. I want the viewer to have a sense of the landscape moving out beyond the frame.
I always title my work to give a sense of what has driven the image making.
While my work can be seen as abstract in some cases
that is more an end result than a primary motive.
I don't understand 'Untitled'. It might work for others
but it just doesn't cut it for me.
I do appreciate that many like to come to their own view of what they are seeing. That is one of abstraction's gifts.
In my last exhibition a person was very keen about one of the assemblages and wanted to buy it. She told me she saw a vast city scape...a bit like a sattelite image. Then she asked me what it was called.
It was a little disconcerting to have to say it was titled 'Dead Cow'.
I had utterly ruined it it for her.
So for better or worse, the work selected for the Salon is called 'Swathe".
It is fairly typical of my work in the sense that it can be read as a
It is a narrow strip of land as you might see flying over it...a bit like a stock route either side of a rural road.
There's a curved form running top to bottom that gives the suggestion of a tree trunk or perhaps a memory of trees that have made way to agriculture
...another reason is I just like to do the odd curve.
I am certainly grateful the picture is hanging here in such good company.
This was my third crack at the Wynne.
so this gives me a lot of encouragement to keep at it.
Thanks very much