I always say that my work is not autobiographical in so much as I’m not exploring my own existential angst. What I am trying to represent, in the only way I know how, is the complete impotence I feel when governments make decisions on my behalf to benefit big businesses. The frustration I feel in the knowledge that governments are just the puppets of their wealthy financial backers.
Much of my work depicts the lushness of the human form alongside the exciting colours of Australia’s beaches. The sea has such a strong calling for me in that it can be a frightening thing, vast, unknown and destructive. Yet, conversely, it can be a meditative thing with its constant motion, its horizon, while its expansiveness stimulates the senses. I feel that it has a big role in the Australian psyche.
Australian beaches reflect joy, hedonism, fun and of course the sun. Beneath this shimmering surface lies much more: confessor, critic, soul mate, and stranger. The beach, the expansive ocean and the motion of the waves begs the question – is it friend or foe? It can just as easily take and, then bestow its bounty on us. The seascape with its strength and rhythm may not have all the answers, but it will always be there for us, listening and healing, delivering answers drawn from an ancient, collective memory of deep power and knowledge.
There’s an affinity we feel for the sea, why we are drawn to the beach, both for frivolity and fun and in times of introspection. And then there is the indifference with which we treat the oceans and each other.
My paintings take the viewer on a journey to the inner life of my subjects. The men in suits symbolise the power of governments, big business and the media. The neutrality of the sea allows us to envisage what truly is.
My work has always been about social observation, seeing the humour and the hidden desperation of those business men who scurry to and from their offices. I spend a lot of time in Sydney’s Martin Place, watching people, the flow of humanity, noticing their body language. I was inspired by the beautiful and dynamic movement of a flock of bewigged and gowned barristers; the gait of a man in a suit, nearing his retirement. They represent to me the desperation and unhappiness I see in men of a certain age, and that moment when they realise that their working lives, their striving to succeed has amounted to nothing. The sea washes away all the fussiness of the city so that you can see what is really going on – the machinations of big business, the political manoeuvring and the lack of responsibility.
The juxtaposition of the man in the suit with the ocean is not about death but about introspection, about the goals we set ourselves, the quest for individualism and thence the loss of social interaction. The men in my paintings have spent a lifetime earning money, keeping up with technology, which in return isolates them – from their families, society, and their feelings.
41 Military Rd, Neutral Bay, Sydney NSW Australia 2089
Tue – Sat 10am – 5pm
Sun – Mon open by appointment
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