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…