New Works for the Art Fair:
‘Shadow Self (Winter Currawong and Ringtail Possum)’ 2016-17. Currawong, ringtail possum, bitumen, oil, aquarelle and rabbit skin glue on canvas. 66 x 165 (h) cm.
‘Death Hatch (Spring Port Jackson Shark)’ 2017. Port Jackson shark, bitumen, oil, delek and rabbit skin glue on canvas.
‘Body Map (Spring Stingray)’ 2017. Stingray, bitumen, oil, delek and rabbit skin glue on canvas. 88 x 73 (h) cm.
Last Sunday Darren and I drove to Worrowing in our old ute to pick up the shroud set featuring the turtle, baby Port Jackson shark, stingray and kookaburra. A horse came to check us out and ran away snorting and shaking its head when I shook out the turtle shroud. Must have got a diabolical whiff of it! At home I put them in a vinegar bath before hanging them out to cure for a few weeks. The only body I kept was the cute little baby shark. The rest I placed under a large eucalyptus tree.
In preparation for the Other Art Fair in Sydney I set up a new Winter Shroud set at Worrowing last weekend. Magically as soon as I thought I needed to create more marine shrouds a baby Port Jackson shark, green turtle and stingray magically appeared on the beach where I jog many mornings. Then on the way to the shroud site directed by Tom I saw something on the track and discovered a recently deceased kookaburra!
On Sunday I completed the Rainbow Lorikeet I had created at Worrowing during my residency. The Lorikeet was found deceased by Alicia Talbot during my residency at Bundanon in 2015. Its shroud on paper is still waiting for a watercolour painting. At Worrowing I had a strong desire to paint on a sturdy linen stretcher with rich oil colours. I remembered a friend (my former primary school teacher) Bruce Malbon had requested a colourful bird, so I felt inspired. I began the ‘paint’-staking but enjoyable process of completing two coats of gesso in the negative space between the nest motif consisting of the raw linen glistening with rabbit-skin glue. I also left raw linen sections inside the Lorikeet too, which made the oil painting a little more challenging. I am very happy with the result. 68(w) x 64(h) cm.
During my PhD I created many ‘shrouds’ using an installation set up on a farm in the Monaro where Tony and his partner the sculptor Steven Holland live. The crested pigeon was found deceased on a road in Canberra and placed on a sprung bed-base to decompose. The eucalypt under which the canvas lay leached its rich brown bark juice on the right hand side while the mesh protecting the body from predators left a rusty imprint. Originally exhibited without further work undertaken as Alone (Spring Pigeon) 2011 in my graduate show, I was suddenly compelled to take the work to Hill End with me in 2016. It was there I added my most common motif, the nest using delek the sacred white ochre from Madjarlngarlkum in Western Arnhem Land. The nest is a cosy home offered to the bird and myself when away from home. I then painted in the post-decomposed body of the pigeon using bitumen and a touch of oils that speak to the bark stain. I lined the bird beaks up like a reflection, a conversation between two forms of representation; one created by the disintegrating subject another the painted signifier. I then located the work in Hill End by painting in an iconic structure found in the town using a very minimal technique in which the main body of the figure consists of the raw canvas ground sized with rabbit skin glue which sparkles under lights and seals the bodily fluids and debris to the surface.