The Kilgour Art Prize

The Kilgour Art Prize

I am very happy to be a part of this innovative figurative Art Prize with my work “Freelance”. In this painting my subject is poised on the edge of the rest of his life, shoes off, briefcase discarded, shoulders back and staring to the horizon. freedom at last to be his own boss and to write his own future. The Kilgour Art prize is held at The Newcastle regional gallery. New South Wales. Australia. The exhibition runs from 1 August to the 15th November 2020.

Freelance 112 x 112 cm Acrylic on canvas
Work life’s a beach… if you just ignore the artist

Work life’s a beach… if you just ignore the artist

Recently Jonathan Rivett wrote a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald/ The age, this story is his own, inspired by my work “ Plausible deniability” and a conversation we had…..

A New South Wales artist’s experience selling work to high-flying corporates gives a small but meaningful insight into why the world is the way it is.

Over her distinguished career, the artist Tracy Dods has returned again and again to New South Wales beachscapes. Sometimes her sea is pacific, sometimes it’s foreboding and, very often, besuited men are walking alongside – or into – it. 

When I was working with her recently, I asked whether she could tell me about her paintings. Here’s what she said about one called ‘Plausible deniability’:

“This guy… he’s smart and suave. He’s in charge of some big corporation. And yet he has no idea that his takeaway coffee and plastic bag, which will no doubt end up in the ocean, is causing the seas to rise and the end of life on earth. Also, maybe his mum packed his lunch.”

I looked closer and marvelled at what Tracy was doing: so many of her subjects were clearly lost. They appeared forlorn or gormless or hopelessly unsure of how they’d got where they were. 

Her work was subtly scathing and yet the people she was commenting on, she told me, were her biggest buyers. 

Was this cause for optimism? Were there that many self-aware lawyers, bankers and executives kicking around? 

Well, they certainly exist. “You have a knack of showing us up” one barrister told her in an email. But mostly, Tracy said, they see what they want to see. 

“If I discuss my work with a buyer, I let them prattle on about what it means to them. If I get a word in I’ll tell them the message I was trying to get across. Their eyes usually glaze over and they will continue to believe what they want,” Tracy told me.

A glazed look I know Tracy commits to memory and puts to good use. 

Read Jonathan’s full article here.

See more of my corporate monoliths here…
Paper Cuts

Paper Cuts

Although I no longer grind my own ink these teachings have informed my works on paper since learning the fundamentals of Sumi-e The Japanese way of the brush. As a teenager, I was so lucky to have a well known Sumi-e artist in Kuranda who taught me these techniques. Similar to the taoist calligraphy paintings it was all about balancing the yin and yang, using the whole arm and shoulder to make marks, loading the brush and achieving the right gradation of ink to water. I have since modified these techniques, making them into my own style, mixing black ink with acrylic carbon black and Prussian blue paint at just the right consistency to work with.

I love drawing, paper is an unforgiving medium to work on…there’s no cover ups..what you see is what you get, and it’s kind of like a direct line into the artists mind. I use a lot of water in my work…( yep one day I’ll share a photo of my studio floor )  controlling the drips and blowing the water+ paint in the right direction. I work on hot pressed 300 gsm, traditional white, Italian Fabriano paper in the 10 meter roll with Derwent drawing pencils. You can check out more works on paper on my social media pages.