Exhibitions

Selected works from solo exhibitions of the past decade, in reverse chronological order:

I Am Not Dead

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 I Am Not Dead opened on 21 June 2013 at Salmagundi Studios, 49 Bonar St Arncliffe. The exhibition ended on 5 July 2013.

 

I Am Not Dead was a victory lap. It marked 30 years to the day since the events described in Midnight Resurrection. Much of it was a retrospective exhibition, but it included a significant new body of work called Conversations With The World.

 

Conversations With The World came out of my work on a tarot-like deck of cards called The Kitchen Sink Oracle. The idea behind the Oracle is simple: using small objects as ideograms, ask a question, draw five cards, and consider what they are trying to tell you about your problem. The cards can mean anything – the pictured object could derive meaning from what it is, or from something it faintly resembles, or from something in your personal associations of colour or texure – think of it as a cross between word association and Rorschach blots. It reliably tells the present.

 

Gomi wabi sabi (the nostalgic spiritual life of rubbish?); die Unheimlichkeit der Müll; trashomancy: The Kitchen Sink Oracle is a set of training wheels for this knack. Learning to read random objects as symbols and making the sentences they form available to your mind as metaphors for possibilities distracts your emotional attachments and allows you to surf the waves of emergent probabilities. Basically the cards are an attempt to train other people to be able to draw the same sorts of random connections between things as I do. It’s a boat on the river of unfiltered perceptions that runs from art through religion into schizophrenia.

 

The Oracle is as yet unpublished. Conversations With The World is a set of sequences that I drew from a mock-up deck of the Oracle. For I Am Not Dead the images were installed into MDF boxes with rice-grain sized halogen lamps rough-wired into the tops of them.

 

Conversations With the World is available in a number of different formats: unframed Epson prints on Photo Rag are available for $75 in editions of 10. Individual images in hand made light boxes as seen in the above slideshow are $150. An entire sequence of light boxes is $500. Light box works are unique and available only in an edition of 1, with light and power supply.

 

AVAILABLE: contact me to order

Somewhere Else, Someplace Good

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Somewhere Else, Someplace Good was opened by poet and songwriter Kate Fagan on 7 June 2007 at Blender Gallery, 16 Elizabeth St, Paddington. The exhibition ended on 21 June 2007.

 

Somewhere Else, Someplace Good was, for me, about stepping away from the tag of photographer. The show was made exclusively from found negatives in two sequences: Incinerator Holiday and Golden Age.

 

Incinerator Holiday

Is this your idea?
Is this your idea of a holiday?
I want it anyway.

– Underground Lovers

In 2003 Lou and I explored the abandoned Waterloo Incinerator (now demolished to make way for the Green Square town center) with legendary architect and housing activist Col James and a group of young artists. In a puddle on the floor of a destroyed upstairs office I picked up a set of ruined negatives.

 

I was working in the digital print lab at CoFA at the time, so I took them back there and raised a few anxious eyebrows by running them through a very expensive drum scanner. The photographs seemed to be holiday snaps of Port Stephens taken in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

 

They were wobbly landscapes, seemingly shot with one hand holding a cheap point-and-shoot camera, horizons tilting crazily. Some featured distant figures with sunglasses shadowing their eyes into blank sockets. They’re the aides-memoire of a total stranger, dissociated and degraded by time and weather. They were badly shot, cheaply processed, discarded and then vandalised, but insistent beauty pushes through them like a flowering weed through a pavement.

 

7 images, editions of 3, Colorspan Giclée print on uncoated whole-sheet Hanemühle 300 paper with hand-dyed deckle, 106 x 85.5 cm.

 

Golden Age

 

Ain’t nothing gonna harm me in my golden years
Every day, I search for more shrapnel in my flesh
Didn’t they tell you I was OK?
Did anyone tell you that I’m fine
I’m fine

– Paradise Motel

 

After Gran died, Mum came back from Africa with a suitcase full of family photographs spanning a century and a quarter, some dating back as far as the 1880s. The images are full of emotion, energy and drama but there is no-one left alive who remembers when they were taken or why. I spent several months poring over them like Umberto Eco’s amnesiac book dealer in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. They kept seeming to form relationships to one another but these were probably just in my head. After scanning, I hand coloured each one, sometimes painting in my own imaginary textures.

 

9 images, editions of 3, Colorspan Giclée print on uncoated whole-sheet Hanemühle 300 paper with hand-dyed deckle, 106 x 85.5 cm.

 

Slideshow

 

Acknowlegements

Somewhere Else, Someplace Good was named after a track on the EP A Strange Holiday by The Dirty Three. I listened to it a lot that year. It kept me afloat from time to time. Thanks guys.

 

Atopia

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Atopia was opened by poets Dorothy Porter and David Brooks on 2 February 2006 at Blender Gallery. It closed on 21 February 2006.

 

Artist’s statement
 

Nowhere is a place.
– Paul Theroux

 

Atopias are literally nowheres – artificial lacunae in the landscape where space has been abandoned, forgotten, or set aside. Some are poisoned and unusable; some are transitional, contested or under construction; some are corridors of transit in which one is not supposed to linger; some merely await the glorious hour of their appointed purpose.

 

I spent years invading these empty places with a camera, looking for a particular stillness.

 

Atopia is a series of 30 colour photographic Giclée prints on uncoated Hanemuhle etching paper at 78.5cm2. They were shot on various kinds of chemical 120 roll film using a Soviet student camera, the Lubitel 166, scanned on a Flextight Precision III and printed on a Colorspan Giclée Printmaker FA. I chose the printing technique for its vivid colour and hallucinatory dot gain effects – the denser areas of dye ink bleed and run like watercolours and the soft heavy cotton paper brings a gentle tactile quality to the printed objects I made from these harsh places.

 

Slideshow

 

Acknowledgements:

Giclée prints were made with the generous assistance of Richard Crampton at Digital Print and Copy, College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Richard can now be found at Darkstar Digital in Rushcutters Bay. Slide show JavaScript Copyright 2005 Bernie Maier (code) and Kay Orchison (specification).