still liFe wiTh crOoked Tea pOt, chlorOphyl aNd OchRe
I have been having lots of fun painting and drawing. (I feel like my poems are drawings because i use the sense of sight and they read very visual/descriptive). I have been recovering a lot of the pigments i have collected and playing around with chlorophyl. It is nice to work with greens again. It might seem strange, but i have been playing with still life. But it’s not so still! There are phsycic resonances in these things: After conversation: the left behind objects like teapot and cups carry a story: a potent narrative: Vase with Banksia pod and brushturkey feather sticking out: the feeling of spirited handprints reaching across and out of the table, the life of ideas and plans: simple things, who is going to run the bath for the children: big things… How can any sane human being cut down the old growth forests of Australia? The deep love of ourselves and each other that we find when we really connect: the presence of shadows, hurt and the dead: possibility… when we talk about good ideas and begin the journey of nurturing them into life.
My daughters six year old feet
covered in yellow clay
and crystal sand shards: She made faces and looked deep
hundreds of meters below.
A creek line cool feeding a forest of vines,
we are looking at old sassafras trees,
they have leaves
the same colour as her eyes.
-Flat rock caves spring 2011
I started working with natural pigments as a teenager. A close friend taught me how to collect and use tree sap, you put it into a jar with a little water and leave it in the sun for a few days: (thanks to that special person). That set me off on a decade of painting with clays, ochre’s, chlorophyl, charcoal and tree sap: at the time i didn’t think about what it meant, i didn’t have much money and these materials were freely available. As i worked with these natural pigments i became interested in environmental activism and politics. To collect and use natural pigments is not only an attempt to liberate myself from industrial capatlyst control over creativity: it has been a journey into belonging to place: spiritual belonging: and the politics of colonisation that exists there. Recently i have enjoyed learning about others who also work in this way, especially Blue Mts artist Scott Marr: Have a look at his work… it’s really interesting.
spotted gum iron bark
star valley vessels
cup of tea
smoke from the campfire
Suzi Gablik in her essay, ‘Connective Aesthetics’ talks about a move away from the modernist mythologies in art making. The individualist artist working at making their own vision of the world. Gablik criticizises the modernist approach and suggests its growing redundancy. We don’t need more artists making individualised products, but artists that work to “affirm our radical relatedness” (Gablik, p2). Artists who seek aesthetics based in, “less monocentric mythologies” (p2) are redefining cultural myths. Gablik writes, “Art that is grounded in the realization of our interconnectedness and intersubjectivity – the intertwining of self and others – has a quality of relatedness that cannot be fully realised through monologue: it can only come into its own dialogue, as open conversation (Gablik, p4). Viewing art is no longer about artist/spectator binary, it is not just about the individual author.
I like Suzi Gabliks ideas. I am sure there is more to it than i can understand and probably heaps of critique. When i first read her book ‘The re-enchantment of Art’ i changed my way of making art work. I no longer just make paintings/drawings alone. Most of these works have been in collaboration with my partner and children. I have an easel set up in our main living space, where the Tv would normally be, we often make art together and its fun: we learn about each other and create the visual narratives of our home and the journeys that converge there.
down the track past boulders and tall turpentine trees
seed pod space ships: nettles overhanging the path: climbed up naked to stand in the falling water: then: collected some nettles: to make tea at home with my lover.
+Royal National Park
holes in green
smell of resin smoke
wild flute melodie
Beauty, wonder and good energy for the earth.