Return to Dipping the Toes in Blog

Given I'm appalingly bad at self-promotion and doing out-in-the-world type things, I don't consider it too late to begin to blog about my work; my painting in particular.


I've received a few awards over the last 4 yrs., so I'll start with them, as they form 'art career' type punctuation marks:


At the Mahara Arts Review show 2017, I was fortunate to receive the 2D Award for my work, "Still Life With Modernist Leanings 3".


I was even more fortunate to sell this baby on opening night.


'Still Life With Modernist Leanings 3'  

Acrylic and graphite on Arches paper.

Just starting to become interested in the relationship between still life and landscape.



In Mahara Arts Review 2019 it was a nice surprise to receive the Highly Commended Award for the painted drawing, 'Late Afternoon Still Life'. Acrylic and graphite on paper - very difficult to photgraph this one.




This year, in 2020, I was invited to be an elected member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. I have been showing there regularly over the last several years. 10 practising artists became elected members and were each asked to present 3 works for an 'Elected Member's Exhibition'. 


Below are the works I exhibited:


'How to Imagine (Revisited)'

Acrylic & mixed media on board.


'Still Life and the Alchemy of Uncertainty' 

Acrylic & collage on board.


'The Busy Alchemist' 

Acrylic & mixed media on board.



Currently exploring alchemic imagery and where necessary, bending it to my will, in an attempt to wring difficult meaning from it.




At the 'Autumn Exhibition',  NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, NZ, my painting was chosen to receive the 'Curator's Award':


'Larger Than (Still) Life'

Acrylic and collage on canvas.



A big work, to see how large scale still lives look. I was happy with this. 1000mm x 1400mm.



This brings me up to date - pretty much.


Except for a show I'm currently exhibiting 12 works in, Solo 48, along with 9 other artists.


Managed to sell 1 piece on opening night (3 nights back). Show runs through 'til 11 October at NZAFA, Wellington. Let's hope there are an abundance of red dots for all artists - everywhere! 


Covidity has hit the arts hard.


Here is the artist statement for the show:


A clever art person once said, “Writing about art is like dancing about architecture, or knitting about music”, implying their mutual exclusivity, and the impossibility of adequate translation/interpretation of one disipline by another.


This could be true, but I think it probably isn’t.


Particularly when writing about one’s own work, using one medium to explain another could potentially be useful... here, let me knit some music:


In 2000 I made a series of tabletop paintings. A tabletop was a useful device; an object rich in symbolic and actual use potentially, as well as a formal way to break up the regular symmetry of the square or rectangular canvas to begin a composition.


I have continued using a tabletop in most of my current work. I have added emphasis to objects on the table; objects more or less recognisable, often ambiguous, shifting toward abstraction, toward non-meaning.


While this takes place in the foreground, the middle and backgrounds (with a few additions) remain mostly constant, reminders that the landscape; the natural world, is dependably consistent, unlike the upheavals and uncertainties of the human milieu.


It has been said that in works involving both still life and landscape, the foreground or still life can be seen to represent the interior life of the the artist, while the mid/background represents the outer  world that the artist inhabits.


As the artist, the maker, who works primarily intuitively, how am I to interpret this material?


Given the unconscious deals in symbol and metaphor, I contemplate the images formed, especially repetitive elements, to see what they may evoke; to see what “comes up”. The results are private; an interior alchemy, done secretly and in darkness.


To this end my paintings are personal tools; instruments of navigation, employed as an aid to an unfolding understanding of what could be called an ethnography of the soul.


If the works evoke, suggest, or otherwise encourage the viewer to some form of self-reflexive act; even the simple enjoyment of beholding the unusual; the unknown, then that is all to the good. In the contemporary world we need to be able to encounter and positively negotiate the strange and the unexpected, even if, at times, it is only to experience the joy of not knowing.


Knit one, pearl one...


Here is a selection from 'Solo 48'


'Life of Clouds and Still',
Acrylic & mixed media on board.


'Preparation as Still Life'

Acrylic and mixed media on board.


'Still Life as Ingredients'


Acrylic & collage on board


SOLD. Yes!




I added 5 smaller works that were not about tabletops and landscape/backgrounds. These are places I used to live in, or have travelled through - shamanically speaking that is.


Here are a couple:


'Ethnographic Atavism'

Acrylic and graphite on canvas


'I Was Certainly Ready For a Cuppa'

Acrylic & graphite on canvas.


Although I haven't visited these places in my physical corpus, I am very familiar with them; distant memories that becomes clearer upon painting...