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...
The work “Translation” is essentially a bird’s eye view landscape painting of the world itself. It depicts a jungle scene with cloud patterns and a river coiling it’s way to the sea. This recognisable overall format becomes the place for interpretation of separate elements in an abstract way. For example, here we see a series of marks that simulate the influence and flow of wind energy – tumbling breeze eddies or forceful winds. We can also see the idea of opposites expressed in the cloud formations, some turning themselves inside out and providing a view, like windows, to alternate times and seasons, especially where the storm meets the calm.
When I am working I am also always writing, so the image becomes an extension of that, or even becomes considered itself as script or notepaper. In the case of “Translation” the viewer can see text written upon the image itself during processing – to be later obscured.
Frankly, I can no longer remember what I was writing about, working there in Borneo near Fire Mountain, [Gunung Mulu].
Inspection reveals the disjointed words “smot…, just to, no-one, afraid”. I know I had written a pretty energetic poem there and I have the idea it was about really taking life by the horns.
I did find some notes from my diary made somewhere in the middle of creating the piece. It was a sketch breaking the construction into sections and included colour notes and suggested improvements and the following text;
“Wether it was vainglorious to want to be respected for an ability to create and record moments of beauty, with due consideration to the things I gave up in order to be able to achieve those ends. ”
Close inspection reveals minutiae, such as the portrait of an Iban tribesman I met represented within one of the raindrops. This is an example of artistic playfulness really, or a kind of concealment and reward game for the long-term viewer.
I wanted to create a birds’ eye view too, allowing the viewer to float above the image and to be able to perceive the curve of the globe itself from a distance.
As a final comment I would like to point out the construction of the image, which is based on the Yin/Yang principle. On the left we can see fine weather and on the right we se a storm approaching and precipitation, just as in life, there is a continuous and necessary cycle and balance between the two.