2017 YEAR 12 BODY OF WORKS
ALWAYS ON MY MIND
My drawing depicts the universal experience of worrying - worrying that keeps us awake all night.
Mothers worry. Their children are always on their minds.
For my mother Lou, this anxious thought had a particular poignancy. When I started this artwork, mum had successfully completed treatment for breast cancer. I was looking back at her time of worry. Little did we realise that we were also looking into the future.
Now my mum is Always on My Mind.
consumer consumed/a man could be made up of so much of everything, that he is nothing of anything/TOP SHOPPER
The materialism and consumerism that we find in today's society has, in my opinion, extinguished our own individuality.
To visualise this suffocation of freedom, I was photographed with plastic bags taped and wrapped around my face.
I was smothered, confined, and restricted.
The plastic bags are physically covering and consuming my face past the point of recognition. How could I possibly be identified? I am so completely immersed that I can't even be seen, or see.
When looking at my work, I want you to be confronted. Imagine you are the person in this painting and how difficult it would be to see past the bags. It's so easy to get caught up in it, drown in it, and lose sight. Contemplate the possible implications.
Materialism and consumerism are entities with the power and capacity to swallow you; defining what you wear, how you act, what's important to you. Most importantly, ask yourself:
Are you the consumer, or are you being consumed?
For some people, an anchor represents always having a safe place to go home to.
A seatbelt constricts, secures and holds the principal of safety until arrival.
I want out.
Diverge represents an uneasy journey which I have had to endure throughout my rearing.
Surrounding travel lies an uncomfortable anxiety within myself, a catalyst to constant paranoia, and through this series of works I have aimed to present this feeling to the audience, using my personal experiences as inspiration.
Upon travelling, I constantly await the arrival of home; my safe place. This is represented through the use of “security blankets” which I have incorporated in the series; sentimental and metaphoric objects and gestures, which each represent the emotional waves experienced throughout my journeys.
As we embark upon divergent paths throughout our lives, we are vulnerable to our own irrational fears and clasp to personal symbols of comfort.
Artist Inspiration: Michael Zavros
WELCOME TO [THE] COUNTRY
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this artwork may contain images, or names of deceased persons.
It is inspiring to recognise the achievements of my ancestors in embracing the challenges of rural life, acknowledging and appreciating the traditions of those before them.
Australia's thriving rural industry is known today as having overcome a history of grave environmental depression, growth and cultural expansion. As a nation, we have endured the unsustainable conflict of relations between men and between men and the land.
It was this continued destructive approach to development that, for many, sanctioned the observance and reflection of the custodianship mirrored in Aboriginal cultural values. Embracing the beauty and pain brought by isolation and calling upon a necessary display of unity. It formed a bridge between man, through a mutual respect for one another, and a shared experience of the land. A structure of sustainable proportions built with loyalty, passion, and a genuine need for companionship.
Welcome to [the] Country.
A country built by the strength and reliance of stockmen and Aboriginal tribal men alike. It was the inherently spiritual connection with the land that provided a model of existence in times of uncertainty. Considered to some, as a harmonic manifestation of Aboriginal values in an agricultural setting, used in modern agricultural practice still.
When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
Each person has a different reaction to the death of a loved one. Some people cry, some people are frustrated, but everyone feels sadness. The sadness typically diminishes over time, but the feelings of regret, guilt and loneliness will never be completely erased from one’s life.
After Valda aims to depict not only the reaction of my grandfather after losing his wife of 39 years, but his ability to move on from his grief.
Moving on after the death of a loved one is not for us to stop hurting, stop talking about it, stop remembering, stop crying, or to stop grieving. Moving on doesn’t mean a static end. It doesn’t mean suddenly we’re done grieving and will never hurt again. Moving on is more about moving forward.
The two images I have drawn were initially one photograph. I decided to split the two to differentiate the past from the present. The image of my grandfather alone represents his loneliness after losing my grandmother, and the fact that he is not looking directly at his wedding photograph, he is looking slightly away portrays how he has begun to move on from his grief, and he is now able to reflect on his life with my grandma.
The negative space represents the possibility of change, growth and experience after the loss of a loved one.
By showing my grandfather's hands holding his own wedding picture, I have aimed to portray his admiration for my grandma, and his desire to hold on to the treasured memories which he shares with her.
Artist inspiration: Jenny Sages
A SANCTUARY/ A TERROR (OF BEAUTY RICH AND RARE)
Those who have not loved her, will not understand-
of flood, of fire, of famine.
Of awe and sheer wonder-
rich orange, burnt red,
wild beauty, her terror.
The clouds purposelessness.
A sanctuary of stories’
Some different, some same.
A sunburnt land and sweeping plains
Set in the morse code, the poem is created through the layering of works from Australian poets such as Judith Wright and Dorothea Mackeller. It creates exclusive relationships with the landscape, which is distinctive of individual experiences.
Human ideals of memory and ownership can overtake these experiences, as we compartmentalise paddocks, create maps and take rectangular photographs -aiming to find, share and gain profit from these spectacular places.
The separated tiles of the image allow every aspect of the landscape to hold its own microscopic world. By placing the macro world back together, the duality of nature’s imposing presence, prideful beauty and natural splendour is revealed.
In consequence, despite attempts, the sheer size and presence of the Australian landscape can only be justly replicated through the real experience.
UNTITLED (FOR A FRIEND)
The events over the last year have left me scarred and emotionally drained, to the point of me being unable process and grieve over these events. I have had a lot of time to contemplate and mourn but I always find a way to push it to the back of my mind.
Creating this artwork has given me a personal mourning process, and has allowed me to produce a work of art that not only holds extreme sentimental value to me, but also to fellow students at St John’s College. Hopefully this work can help maintain permanence throughout our community, and create a focal point for personal reflections.
EN POINTE/ FOUND IN TRANSLATION (BLISTERS UPON BLISTERS)
Dance as an art form is far more complex than just leaping around and twirling on stage. It requires structure, technique and your own interpretation and passion in order to truly express the art form of dance.
En Pointe refers to the level of precision that dancers aim to achieve in trying to accomplish the “perfect line”. This alone however is not art. A dancer must then layer this perfect technique with their own individual interpretation in order to make the movement meaningful.
Found in Translation refers to the new individualised movement that dancers create by layering together their exquisite technique and their own individual interpretation.
Feet and multiple pointe shoes are repeated throughout my work in order to represent the years of pain, blood, sweat and tears that are put into trying to attain this combination resulting in blisters upon blisters. I chose feet as my central focus because to dancers, they are regarded as painstakingly beautiful because they reveal years of hard work and dedication, however they also complete the perfect line of perfection.
JERKS OF ALL TRADES
“You're being such a tool right now.”
Jerks of all Trades is a tongue-in-cheek “tribute” to the “tools” I am surrounded by every day in my place of work.
Have you ever been told, that you look sexy?
It's a confidence booster, yes?
Now, have you ever been told that you look sexy, by someone three times your age?
Slightly uncomfortable, yes?
But, have you ever been told that you look sexy, by a complete stranger, in your place of work?
I am regularly subjected to boring and often uncomfortable double entendres. It’s become a part of my everyday. But it shouldn’t be.
I hope that the audience is drawn in by the images and the contrast of the drawing style with the objects. But in reading this and the titles, I hope that an uncomfortable atmosphere is created. The titles of each work, place the viewer in an awkward position, being made to feel uncertain and disturbed.
Almost mimicking the situation I am placed in.
Each occupation has its strains and difficulties, but for me nothing is more physically and emotionally strenuous than a job as a first responder.
I wanted to capture the heartache and loss that first responders, in this case Fire Fighters, go through when they're off duty, or their shift is done. PTSD plays a hidden role in the mind of each fire fighter even after the mask is off and the BA is hung up, the trucks are parked and the hoses are re-rolled.
Being a hero continues for these people when they leave the station. I wanted to portray the identity of first responders; that they're the same person when their uniform is off and the effects of their job are still carried into the next day.
HOME SWEET HOME
The inspiration for my artwork stems from my childhood and the progression that I had to go through from being in a loveless and emotionally deprived home to being in a loving, devoted and affectionate home.
My birth parents, symbolized by the silhouettes that turn away, were incapable of providing a nurturing environment and this left me with few opportunities in life.
However, when I was finally rescued from that situation and gained a caring and doting family. I now have all the opportunities that I could possibly ask for, and most importantly, a Mum and Dad.
PERMANENT REFLECTIONS AND SHIFTING WATERS
It could be argued that identity is fluid and subject to a myriad of influences. That past, present and future experiences are interwoven in a single person to create their character. We are all a combination of family and personal values, physical attributes, past experiences and culture.
Personally, I have found that my own sense of self is derived from my childhood memories and everyday experiences that seemed unremarkable in their genesis, but have gone on to become the foundation for my entire character.
My childhood memories of my family and the property where I grew up are permanent and as much a part of me as a tattoo on my skin, hence my attempts to immortalise these moments as a physical feature in my work.
Over time, the memories will fade and details will be forgotten, but the core impact will remain with me as the bedrock of my personality and attitudes.
I have become a permanent reflection of my past, despite the turmoil and change which surrounds me as I age. My work is a celebration of these ordinary moments and their extraordinary influence.
Cross-modal: perception that involves interactions between two or more sensory modalities
Euphoria: a feeling or state of intense excitement or happiness
Music evokes emotions, through sadness, tranquillity, happiness and anger. It enables an individual to shift their mood through the structural elements of melody, tone, tempo and key. Feelings that are evoked through music are experienced universally, whether they are appreciated through different genres or songs, they enable individuals to connect with each other through this state of euphoria. We are all a lot closer together through music.
The subject in this painting experiences euphoria in a multi-sensory way. She hears the music, it washes over her, and the environment around her dissolves into pixels of colour. She is transported to another place. The audience connects with this feeling and reminisces about their own states of euphoria recalling a particular song or lyric that transfers them, psychologically to this tranquil state.
It’s as if the continuous beat can suspend an individual’s perception of reality to 3-4 minutes of euphoria. Every problem or discomfort that surrounds one’s life is dissolved. For when those lyrics electrify an individual’s mind, that experience is the only one that matters.
HERE’S TO AMY, SHE’S TRUE BLUE
"Can I have a Sip?"A Drink with the Flies
Hit the Turps
Like many children who grow up exposed to the influence of alcohol, I’ve gone from asking "can I have a sip?”, to cleaning up the aftermath.
In Australia, alcohol is a consistent influence on the young. In our heads, we've come to see it as a substance that allows for a good time and confidence when going out with our mates.
Later in our lives we might experience or witness the implications of alcohol abuse. What starts as Dutch courage, prevents us from seeing straight and can have an effect on family, relationships, health and most importantly, life itself.
In my drawings, I wanted to create a sense of disturbance and fear. I've depicted my fear of how I imagine it ending for someone I love and what this loss will mean for me.
OUT OF SYNC
Patterns and cycles are the basis of ecosystems. Webs chains and connections give purpose to every organism allowing the natural evolution of flora and fauna.
European settlement turned these ecosystems into land, altering and putting these landscapes "out of sync". Increased agriculture and industrialisation divides these ecosystems into properties, with the creation of dams, changing the natural course of water and introduction of species. These human impacts have drastically altered and changed the severity of flooding and the impacts it has on the natural environment, along with the dependency on rain and the fear surrounding drought.
My work depicts the ever changing aspects of the physical environment and the inner workings of species, as well as the dependency on rain and the impacts of drought.
John Wolseley inspired my works with his intricate detail and differing mediums. Exploring the human utilisation of ecosystems and the vastness of the Australian landscape in particular surrounding my family property in central west New South Wales.
AN AUSTRALIAN ANXIETY (LOST AFTER MCCUBBIN)
The theme of the lost child has been an obsession within Australian art and literature since European settlement. Although children go missing in countries all around the world, the ‘lost child’ has uniquely ingrained itself into the Australian identity.
The indifferent Australian bush once swallowed up curious children that wandered too far into its centre, but overtime this anxiety has evolved into something much more sinister. The urban predator now replaces the source of fear in Australian parents.
The early years of European settlement in inland Australia saw the establishment and growth of thriving towns that came to shape the west. As society developed and changed, however, many of these towns fell victim to decay and desolation as a consequence of abandonment by the communities who built them.
Now rural communities are under pressure from many different directions. Agribusiness on an industrial scale and the increasingly marginal nature of working the land has led to the decline of many rural communities.
A visual symbol of this is the decay of public buildings and local businesses. The crumbling of these iconic symbols of community in outback Australia reflects the shift in the world-view, increasing urbanisation, the drift to the coast and the shift in focus from inland Australia to the sea.
Humans are obsessed with purpose. A drive that makes us want to live more. It gives us meaning for our existence in this world of ours, even if the world pushes back.
As challenges dwarf your success, a maze develops around you as you question every move you take. This loss of direction and purpose is symbolised in the erased detail; the blur of the canvas, dark gloomy buildings conveying a sense of claustrophobia. Thick paint spreads across as if it highlights the decay of one’s self view, and its harshness represents the challenges facing the individual. As we start to steer off course we are no longer aligned for the path ahead of us.
I represented the impression that individuals wish to fulfil their lives with a strong purpose but the challenges are tougher than what they wish to obtain.
Behaviour theorists think of learning as the acquisition of new behaviour based on environmental conditions, or rewards and punishments.
In circus’, marine parks and other animal based entertainments, animals’ natural behaviours are thwarted. The tricks enjoyed by visitors are learnt through weeks of intensive training, often through deprivation and abuse. Elephants, lions, apes, dolphins, seals, killer whales and other animals that are used to entertain audiences do not stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals because they want to.
Captive animals are known to suffer from psychological torment due to confinement, solitude and forced pairing. Animals have been known to rebel against their treatment, causing injury or death to those around them as they respond instinctually, according to their nature. In well documented and reported cases animals have paid the ultimate price for breaking from their behavioural training.
In the creation of my work, which explores all facets of my interest in animal welfare, I became fascinated by the expressions, skin, hair, behaviours and psychology of these animals. Fascinated by how human they are, and how little separates us. Yet we still claim dominion over them.
OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
Whilst flourishing into themselves and defining who they are, children adopt many guises along the way. The sifting and sorting amongst these characteristics leads to an endless array of unlimited possibilities.
The sky is the limit.