Heaven and Earth
My current body of work is entitled Heaven and Earth, and while the occasional cloudscape and landscape will make an appearance, the project’s focus will extend beyond these realms and genres courtesy of my decision to see Heaven as a metaphor for abstraction, and Earth as a metaphor for reality.
In the west, the popular perception of life is that it is anchored and lived in the real world – a perspective that encourages the illusion of a known quantity that we largely control. But just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction, reality also has a flipside, and accordingly, this project’s position is that our experience of life is informed not only by reality, but also by abstraction. In fact, the project goes so far as to suggest that embracing the abstract nature of life is akin to turning a key.
Crucially, Heaven and Earth will also ask questions about photography. In refreshing my own eye, my camera is obliged to follow suit, and in this instance, it will be encouraged beyond its traditional role of documenting reality and asked to engage with abstraction. A dialogue will thereby be forged between the project’s conceptual core and the medium that is enlivening it – a move that will bind the project and propel it forward, in definitive style.
Time and PlaceE3 art space, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery February 2017
The first photographs I made for this project were a response to where I live, with their content and aesthetic signalling an individualistic relationship with my surroundings. But in looking at ‘place’, I quickly became aware of another presence – a presence that once identified, simply refused to go away. It was thus that the work opened itself to the question of time, propelling me, in the process, into an exploration of the time/place nexus and its capacity to shape our experience of life.
On a purely pragmatic level, we all need to live somewhere, and the neighbourhoods, communities and environments in which we do so satisfy our need to belong and nourish our sense of self. But a connection with place can also enrich us spiritually, and one thereby wonders about its potential to anchor us against elements of ‘the big picture’ into which we are born – the abstract and relentless nature of time being a case in point.
The MakersThe Window Gallery, Eastern Riverina Arts September 2016
These portraits acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by local artists to our community.
The arts constitute one of the pillars of society as we know it, and I have always believed that those living in ‘the bush’ need the arts as much as those living in ‘the big smoke’. Encouragingly, Wagga Wagga – like many regional centres – is now home to a core of passionate and committed artists: some have studied here and stayed; others have forsaken the city in favour of what the country offers; and some even move between the two.
While The Makers focuses on four of these artists, I see the series as an acknowledgement of ALL the artists who enrich our lives in a plethora of ways courtesy of the contribution that they make to our community’s core.
The QuestE3 art space, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery September 2014
While we all presumably strive to lead meaningful lives, this body of work – which was made for my Master of Arts Practice in Photomedia at Charles Sturt University from 2013-14 – attempts to determine what actually constitutes a meaningful life.
At the beginning of the project I challenged myself to list the ten primary sources of meaning in my life, and the list that emerged not only afforded the project a specific structure, but it also gave rise to specific photographs and sequences of photographs. Because of the personal nature of the material, no doubt, what also emerged was something of a self-portrait.
But while the photographs are personal statements that relate to my own quest for meaning, I trust that they will speak to you as well and encourage you to reflect on what constitutes meaning in your life. Engaging an audience to the point where its perception of life is challenged – however gently – is, after all, one of art’s primary responsibilities.