2005 Garden of Eden Series 1
This series of paintings began with the working title of "Garden of Eden" and evolved over many months to encompass other creation myths and legends such as the Greek Prometheus and a life force developing onto my own iconic trees of life and of knowledge.
Looking back over my works from the past I can see that my current symbols had their genesis even as long as 20 years ago. My star-jump figure (My daughter then aged 4 silhouetted against a window) and my jumping son celebrating their own exuberance, are powerful, once in a lifetime images that have been filtered and refined to reach their current iconic and symbolic form. These and my yearning and arching birds (from a magical memory of a darter's head appearing in the Brisbane river) have obsessed me through their many incarnations in my work and have developed layers of both personal and universal symbolism. Birds have always represented the human soul, the exaltation of thought and imagination and freedom from earthly limitations. My signature bird has represented both enlightenment and spirit companion.
Another preoccupation has been the history of painting and sculpture. The consistent use of mythological and biblical archetypes to express broader issues and conditions has been a conscious aim. The depiction of birds, animals and figures, the "creatures" or the "created" will always reference earlier images at least to me and probably to most art lovers. Medieval carvings of plants and animals, and Islamic plant forms have been stimulating sources for me. The pulsing life force of anything from Ruben's hand continues to bowl me over and leave me dead on the road. Artistic roadkill that gets up continues the walk.
We are part of the continuum of art histroy and it is vital that we know our place in it, but the masters of the past were once struggling daily in their studios as we are.They used the Greek myths as a narrative hook on which to hang their own interpretations of accepted traditions and to develop new ones. I am also doing this so the "continuum" becomes more of a loop than a line. The walk can go round in circles.
I hope that serious and discerning observers of my work will detect or sense these multiple layers of meaning. The use of clean colour and the layering of washes of colour is intended to aid a meditative prayer-like state. In colour symbolism cobalt blue represents a connection to a higher purpose, yellow clarifies and orange inspires fusion. The images and the colours themselves are drawn from the life of a woman, living in the paradise of semi-tropical Brisbane after a childhood spent on the dry flat plains of rural Queensland. The dramatic shock of this contrast has always stayed with me.
This fertility, abundance and joie de vivre is undoubledly the hallmark of my current work.
I aspire to depicting what George Eliot described as
"keen vision and feeling...like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heartbeat" and "we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence"