Since our previous trip in 2015 was cut short, we have been planning to get back to the crazy/sane, beautiful/ugly, elegant/kitschy, techno/rustic conundrum that is Japan. So we finally got back there this winter (hot summer over there) and loved it all over again.
Producing visual art is a satisfying and addictive activity, but sharing it with the world and trying to cut through all the visual noise out there is an exercise in frustration. This inevitably cultivates festering self-doubt – ‘why would people want to see this stuff?’, ‘why should I add to all the visual rubbish in the world?’ and ‘isn’t this just an insanely narcissistic exercise?’. But those times when your work is judged to be included in competitive exhibitions feel like some kind of vindication.
Proposing, designing, producing and hanging an art exhibition is a fraught and lengthy process. It always seems so crazy that the eventual show seems to be over in the blink of an eye. Two weeks is not long to present work that has been over three years in development. But of course it is part of a lifelong process of producing creative work and, occasionally, showing it to others in the brief opportunities that are available.
… well, grand-ish.
In June Chris and I made a journey to England (to visit his brother Bob), Wales (where I spent childhood holidays), France (re-visiting Provence) and Italy (re-visiting Umbria). Of course a thousand photographs ensued, and here is a selection. They have been waiting weeks for me to edit and caption them, and maybe I will do that soon, but in the meantime …
It’s been quite a year, with some life/death experiences that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but … all part of real loving, feeling, hurting life.
Now, at last to my creative life! Some recent work being developed for a proposed exhibition has me hunting through images from travelling done over the last year – see my galleries for the Grampians, Japan and Europe.
The Art on Paper Award at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery is a biennial prize awarded for art created on or with paper. For me it’s a lovely exhibition to be selected for as it’s a beautiful space, and on my ‘home ground’. So happy that one of the works from my series The Timeless Land was selected, along with another piece from the Recovering Roots exhibition: The Futurist’s Dilemma series by Chris Lawrie. It’s opening tonight! The show will be on daily until July 26.
Since my sister Kate died last year, I have been intermittently delving into images of her to develop a series of portraits. It’s slow going, more therapy than creativity perhaps. The first portrait I was happy with is this one, ‘Dear departed’, and it has been selected as a finalist in the Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture, opening today.
Here’s my artist statement about the image:
“My beautiful sister Kate died recently, after losing her fraught 20-year battle with an eating disorder. Kate loved walking in her local national park, finding nature less troublesome than human relationships.
After losing her, it struck me how bereavement plays tricks on your mind, making you believe that you see the object of your grief everywhere around. Although I don’t believe in an ‘after-life’, I do believe that our life energy is absorbed back into the universe in the same way that our body is.
This portrait combines these ideas – an ephemeral vision of Kate emerges from, and represents the dispersal of her spirit into, the natural environment that she loved.”
Here is a link to the Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture 2013 catalogue.