It’s Gonna Be (Alright)
26 July to 21 August 2012
Despard Gallery, Hobart Tasmania
Names are funny things. We give names to everything. We can’t stop ourselves. It seems intrinsic to being human that we name things.
It’s strangely comforting that to not give a name to a child gets you fined. Yet I struggle to give names to my paintings. In the end, with my recent paintings, I chose the restriction of giving them titles from Ween songs that have some tenuous link to the ideas behind the paintings. I like connecting them with Ween because the temptation with art (and me) is to get a bit serious and pretentious. The playfulness of Ween appeals to me.
Painters are keen observers and these paintings arose out of some of my observations about life and human experience. There are several references to death in my paintings, albeit indirectly. To me, though, death is not a final thing. So the things to do with death and temporality – skulls, death masks, tents and temporary shelters – are not morbid but rather a playful acknowledgement of death in the tradition of the vanitas as a reminder live well. In these paintings I have also persisted with three-legged dogs, a metaphor used previously in my work. Three-legged dogs are a gentle image to me of the comfort it is to be broken and yet cared for. And the idea of the stage – an overtly constructed scene – has continued to appeal to me with its parallels between an actor’s part within a greater play and the individual's narrative within the metanarrative; and the way that the space of a play and the space of a painting are fictional things that speak of something real.