Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mural Progress

I have been rather tied up the last few weeks with the N4C mural...the intermittant rain of recent times has prolonged the time frame of the work, but all in all its been a wonderful experience and a great learning curve.
The three artists involved are Regina Dolan, Sophie Munns, and Michelle Goodchild.
Each of these artists are highly talented and very capable individuals who are self determined in their art practice making it a joy to work alongside them.

Regina is an amazing figurative artist and I asked her to paint the theme "Sports and Recreation" along the largest wall which is directly in view of sports fields and bikeways. Regina has been a powerhouse of energy and wonderful creative ideas throughout the whole project, and has great vision in seeing the totality of the work whilst still working within the parameters of her brief. Her artistic collaboration in the project has ensured that the themes and individual artistic styles synthesize and merge whilst still maintaining the individual integrity of each artist.

Sophie's section of the mural is at the entrance of the building and beside an unused seed nursery facility. Her mural section is a wonderful array of colours bursting through from a dark amorphous background..gradually the fecund circles burst into tiny geometric seed heads which float over the other walls as if drifting in the wind. Her work is a fabulous painterly rendition of the eruption of life.
Sophie has written about her involvement with the mural here and you can see some more of her gorgeous work.

Michelle's art practice is steeped in humanitarian values and pertaining to those are her concerns for the environment which is why she so enthusiastically accepted to portray the theme of "Connected communities" for the mural. Michelle's figurative work is strong and dynamic within an urban framework..great style for murals. Whislt painting, she was asked by a groovy looking passerby if she would paint his face on her wall..wonderful recommendation for any artist. Michelle's faces and figures are real people and as such exemplify "community" transcending race, age and individual differences.

I have included some photos taken in progress but first...the inevitable "before" photos!!
Front of building

Side wall

Rear wall

The N4C asked for the motif of a drop..precious water begins with a single drop.

Myself underpainting the base colours and contours which
wrap the building and connect the motifs.

Regina at work

Sophie with Spike lending support in the doorway.

Sophie's work in  progress


Michelle working on her portraits...including my dog Dudley

Regina in front of her art


Sport and Recreation
The mural is not yet finished but as you can see, nearly there..just a few more motifs and a bit more "tweaking". We have had a wonderful response from passers by and some of their comments have been truly uplifting. Art can be a solitary business but this project has been based on, and aimed at community, and in that regard the endeavour has been a lovely social exercise.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Community Mural

The idea of a mural for the hq of the environmental group N4C (Norman creek catchment coordinating committee) was mooted over a year ago...but by the time funding was through, artists were free, plans drawn up, time  had flown.
A "rough" was drawn up and taken to an N4C meeting to discuss the parameters of the mural. Landscape architect, Ashley Nicholson,  then montaged it into a professional format which brought the whole concept to life..Thanks Ash!! Click photo to enlarge to read proposal.
Last week paint was finally put to brick with a working bee conducted by members of the N4C. The base of the building was underpainted in white to cover the dark charcoal that was originally there...the white will act as a clean base for the vibrant colours chosen for the mural.
N4C members of the working bee.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Walk softly, Look deeply.

In mid 2011, I completed a Master of Contemporary Art and my project for this course focused on my local waterway, Coorparoo Creek.
Every day I went for walks beside it and I sketched, gleaned, gathered, observed and wondered. It was a very rewarding project and I continue to be involved with the seasons and cycles of that little waterway.

" Walk softly, Look deeply"

Artist statement for mca work              

The cornerstones for my completed works are the mangrove fruit and the pneumatophores - the two most extant motifs for renewal  and regeneration within the mangrove habitat. I juxtaposed these against  society's detritus.

 The mangrove fruit are the fleshy almond shape seed  pods of the large grey mangrove and when in season they fall from the trees and  thickly dot the ground waiting for germination. Their shape is round and bulbous and  exemplary of fecundity.

By contrast the pneumatophores are tall long cylindrical structures and their function is to aerate the silty mud. They act  as a snorkelling device sent up by the root system, and in a  word they are the "breath"  of the habitat..the basis on which everything else survives.

Rubbish permeates the entire creek system, and after months of gleaning and cleaning I reached a stage where I had to specialize in the sort of rubbish I was going to use. The most prevalent forms of garbage were the ubiquitous plastic bags and bottles, but I decided to choose children's playthings, in particular the large number of, golf, basketball, etc. They were playthings, colourful, discarded, and relevant only for society's entertainment.  I felt they reflected many people's attitude towards urban waterways.

I experimented with many forms of media not only as a way to dialogue with the habitat, but also as a means of finding eventual synthesis between the three focal points of my investigation. The media I utilized  were graphite, ink, oil, wax, mud, digital imaging, photography, plaster, bird mesh to name a few. However, I was finding it difficult to arrive at an artistic synthesis when to my mind, there was no ecological parallel. Most of the plastics there took anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to biodegrade and this fact was the premise for a mindset that was impacting on my art practice. I was headed on a course of collision  not convergence.

The solution to my problem laid in  breaking down the two things that I kept separate and  I  adopted an inversion process for my work by reconfiguring the visual attributes of the organic with the inorganic.  The organic became the gaudy and colourful, and the rubbish was encapsulated with the mud. 

The culmination of this process was a 2d  work, "Fallen Fruit" supported by a 3d installation, "Balance".    "Fallen Fruit" appears to be a painterly work with an overlay of colourful fruit laid out in a grid pattern representing order, constancy, the rhythm and beat of the habitat.  However on closer inspection  the silhouetted shapes of rubbish emerge insidiously from the mud. Colour is the enticement for the viewer to engage with garbage.

The supporting work "Balance"  is an installation featuring bird mesh pneumatophores filled with brightly coloured balls. The wire mesh recalls the  wire fences surrounding much of the habitat and signifies  capture and curtailment, whilst also alluding to the transparency of breath, and the near invisibility of a mangrove habitat to urban society.  The gaudy balls  housed by the structures reiterate the spheres in the canvas work.

To depict fruit, pneumatophore, and garbage with  wire, colour and mud has been an artistic search for synthesis, yet my journey has become so much more on a personal level. My involvement with my " habitat" has been one of   discovery and sublime joy.