My work has consistently been about visually communicating stories or trying to express ideas. In some ways I have sought to explain the world to myself and thereby eventually to others. When an artist makes work in landscape that person is affected by that landscape, and when time passes in the physical process of making the piece events happen and different kinds of understanding present and imprint themselves...
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Entanglement was made in a fishing village on the East Coast of Korea as part of a group of images concerning the culture and activities surrounding the harvest of sea creatures.
This group of drawings and prints, also including 'Repeating Patterns,' 'Kajami,' 'Zen Arrows,' and 'Kiss of the Lotus' were used to allegorically discuss aspects of life that seem to occur repeatedly...
Postcards from Seoul (TRYPTyCH)
This well travelled large triptych was begun during the wet season in Mossman, North Queensland, Australia, and then taken by sailing ship for completion and exhibition in South Korea and finally New York. There are three large panels with the interconnected titles that read “...don't have to answer that.”, “Almost finished.”, and “Sleep.”
It was created on a studio table made from a recycled storm door and then cut into three sections. Within the image are letters from an adopted Grandmother whom I was lucky enough to befriend in Kellerberrin, Western Australia, also, calendars, stamps and other paraphernalia associated with passages and transitions that I carried with me up and then off that coastline.
The image concerns communication in the form of written and drawn correspondence and the sharing of visual understandings, but also deals with the fragmented nature of knowing anything at all.
This large triptych was a further experiment in the squaring off of forms and the attempt to achieve a really profound depth of mark making within those forms. Theres a focus on juxtaposing opaque and translucent elements that was drawn from the observation of the windows and surfaces of modern high rise buildings, and also references to the various minutiae that inform studio practice, such as polaroid photographs and correspondences.
Theres a fairly high degree of deletion that goes with this methodology. That leaves behind elements that are connected less formally that other more graphic works, where the image is often the principally linking aspect. In this case there are large softer coloured places for the eye to rest and occasional indications of the images I was using as textural references.
I made this and the other related Triptych on doors rescued from a skip bin with leg trusses made from discarded pine pallets, so the size was dictated by that invention then sliced into three. Later, after wet season passed and I had travelled through South East Asia and up to Seoul I was able to continue working and eventually exhibit them in Solo shows in South Korea and New York.
I mention this because I believe good studio practice to be the most important tool in a creative persons' arsenal, and that it is important to do what you can to persevere and honour your work's voice. In truth you'll probably rarely be lucky enough to be supported, and the best place to look for a helping hand seems to be on the end of your own arm.
Providence [Jeollanam Buk-Do, Korea]
Jeollanam Buk-Do is a region in the Mid South West of South Korea renowned for delicious foods and produce.
This drawing came from a series of studies I made there during a self funded journey I took making artworks to celebrate the end of a period of teaching communication in the capital, Seoul...
One of the really great things about a solitary travel is that there is little need for negotiation, except of the path forward.
Coming down these mountains in Korea the world suddenly struck me as quite an arranged space. First and most obviously in the case of the flood irrigation pattern of the rice fields, but as I looked closer even the light falling upon the water, the arrangement of branches, the descent of colours, all of the elements in that Universe.
I paused and made this sketch in pencils and watercolours. It came together in an easy and natural way as a small celebration of logic and that passage.
Cradle River Valley near Bulguksa
As indicated in the title, this image was created onsite in a river valley near Bulguksa, (in South Korea). It began as an ink drawing in a semi-traditional style, which took about 8 hours and then later was affixed and sealed on to a backing to receive treatments that were finalized with oil washes...
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Sim Su Jeong
Sim Su Jeong is a large Pavillion style traditional house overlooking a portion of Yangdong Folk Village in Gyeongju, South Korea. The UNESCO World Heritage listed village of Yangdong was founded in the 15th Century and preserves fascinating folk customs and traditional Joseon Dynasty Architecture. It was built following the traditions of Geomancy and balance within the natural world.
This view back down over the Village through the trees was a Field Sketch made in charcoal upon a low collapsing traditional table. As I worked I was approached and befriended by a gallery owner and later, after living and working there for some months, exhibited a series of works in the village in a solo show called “How Soon is Now?”
This image was purchased by the Village is held in that permanent collection.
During my travels I lived and exhibited for a period at the Yangdong Traditional Village, first established in the 15th Century, in Gyeongju, South Korea.
I made a series of studies of extremely aged trees in the courtyards of fine wooden and clay built Pavilions with their distinctive flying arches. These ancient carefully tended trees are living treasures which fascinated my mind, eyes, and hands.
Family Yun's House
I made a series of quite traditionally orientated ink drawings on hand made paper upon the bonnet of an old car I had acquired during my Journey through South Korea. This surviving image, though only reasonable quality, provides an example of those works, which were often gifted or exchanged for accomodation or other generosities of interaction.
At Family Yun's House I was approached as I worked and invited to attend an evening concert of traditional Korean music focussing on the slim waisted Janggu Drum, formerly used in Shamanistic rituals.
In making these images I was particularly concerned with the flowing tumble of trees finding the ancient examples of Architecture specific to the historical alignment practices of that region. A mountain to the rear and water at the front being considered particularly auspicious. As a general theme I was working with the mantra “the future happens slowly” and looking carefully at foreign ideas of balance, harmony, and homeliness.
Vessel – Celadon (work in progress)
During an extended period of more than seven years in South Korea I was heartened to discover common and cultural items that specifically distinguished that Nation and celebrated those differences.
I began a series of same size works on the theme of 'Vessels' after encountering and being intrigued by various kinds of them during my travels.
Goryo Celadon is a ceramic technique reportedly invented and refined by master potters in Korea during the Goryo and Joseon Dynasties from the 10th to 13th centuries. The skill fascinated the other fine ceramic producing Asian Nations. In brief it involves scoring carefully into the semi dried surface of ceramic vessels and later filling that imprint with a different kind and colour of clay to produce fine designs in the clay itself rather than a focus on painted glazes. Of course the refined glazing techniques are also important and the distinctive green of fine Celadon Ware is instantly recognizable.
I recommend reading part of the story of Celadon in the Newberry Award winning novel “A Single Shard” by Korean American Author Linda Sue Park and also viewing the collection in the National Museum of Korea, Seoul.
Vessels have contributed to the civilization of our species because they allow us to harvest and store what it is we wish to keep.
In the markets and back alleys of Seoul, South Korea, I often encountered small storefronts like one might find in a sideshow alley. Those duckboards were lined with these large glass vessels containing the increasingly rare 'Wild Mountain Ginseng.'
The Korean Ginseng itself is highly prized for its' medicinal qualities and I heard stories from my students and friends of plant hunters who made their fortunes after seeking out the large slow growing specimens in seldom visited areas of the Mountains, much the same way as Australians may prospect for gold in the back country.
To me the plants suspended in steeping fluid took on an obvious human quality, or at least seemed to each be an entity in itself. Looking more closely they all appeared to be wanting to communicate something.
I also found the elaborate shapes of the containers, designed to magnify the contents within, and reflecting and warping the without, to be visually fascinating in their own right.
Hongdae University Gate
‘Inspiration comes not while you wait but while you work’
This is one of a smaller series of abstract works in a loosely referred to as ‘post’.
There is a play on words in that they reference letters but also images that are born from or inspired whilst in the process of creating other images, so post as in ‘afterwards’.
Other works in this set to be seen here might be the smaller Postcard or even the largest of the three versions of "Bois De Bologne."
Usually the images are inspired by grids in the form of windows, doorways, or interesting architectural elements of buildings. Sometimes there is also an element of time lapse and always some experimental combinations of quite disparate mark making.
In this specific case I was looking at the one of my favourite buildings in Seoul, Korea, at Hongdae University Gate. It is a wonderful square span that seems to have its’ very own atmosphere and there is a wonderful spray of a strange orange on the periphery of vision.
Autumn Leaves #1 and #2 (Kajami)
I made a series of prints and drawings whilst travelling down the East coast of Korea.
This one was made after looking at mid size fish being dried and stored for winter soups, and is a companion piece to Repeating Patterns, and Zen Arrows.
In this series there is an allusion to things that happen in your life over and over again.
These Autumn Leaves are how I protect myself…In classic style, with an overcoat,
..and drawn in.
Not seeing hopeless,