My work Day and Night is a finalist in the NOW prize.
Day and Night (Autumn Cockatoo and Flying Fox) 2011/2019. Cockatoo, flying fox, silk stitch, bitumen, oil, caput mortuum, pipeclay and rabbit skin glue on canvas. 101 x 162 cm. $2045.
Road boundaries kill animals, like this flying fox and white cockatoo in Canberra 2011. I dissolve the boundary between animal subject and art object by placing decomposing animals on canvas to infest the weave. After documenting their disintegrated remains, I steep the rancid cloth in vinegar and hang it in the elements to cure before stretching onto a wooden frame. I seal the evocative bodily stain or shroud with hot rabbit skin glue and spend weeks, months, or years, in its presence. In 2019, I felt drawn to this shroud and its accompanying photographs of decayed subjects, my two younger children running in a field, their loyal father in his cowboy hat, and two white cockatoos watching from dead trees in the dry Monaro. I apply the bitumen and oil of Europeans to depict the dead creatures, and sacred pipeclay given by a recently deceased Aboriginal mentor negotiates the ground.
Darren and I were only able to collect Shroud set 2 on Sunday as I had made the mistake of moving the sets into a shady area of the property. Shroud set 2 was not dried out enough to successfully remove the bodies. I made another mistake attempting to remove the flying fox and ringtail while moist. The imprint was not sufficiently revealed as the body was melted onto the canvas. I decided to leave shroud 2 at Worrowing in the sun to dry out further. I collected it in a few days and it was nicely dried. Vinegar processing went well, the stains nice and strong.
The first Worrowing Autumn Shroud Set features two ringtail possums, what looks to be a Swift, a cane toad and two geckos from Danny’s collection and a flying fox (they are currently in Vincentia and both me and my mum have them feeding and roosting at our homes).
Today Darren and I packed the car with another set of frozen animal bodies and went to the Worrowing Shroud site to collect the Summer set and set up the first Autumn set. We remembered to protect ourselves from the mozzies this time.
When we got home I bathed the two stained canvases in vinegar and hung them out to dry
The final of the twelve painted panels completed in the new year featuring a spotted pardalote in front of its muddy bank home and the silvereye in the wattle. Both photos referenced were taken by Chris Grounds. Today I joined the other Bherwerre wetland artists on a wetland walk guided by Plant specialist Rebecca and bird specialist/photographer Chris. It was lovely and inspiring.
Darren and I set up an array of creatures this morning amidst the mozzies and heat, some of which were given to me by a friend Danny who was taught taxidermy by my father years ago. There were lots of surprises, a micro bat and what looks to be a Cuckoo amid my collection of ringtail, mouse, leather jacket, starfish, wonga pigeon and the crowning glory, a Southern Boobook owl with wings outstretched.
Finally finished panel 12 featuring superb and variegated fairy wren couples with tiny sun orchid and horned orchid. Still working on panel 11