I was born and raised in New Zealand. I studied graphic design for a year and later won the New Zealand Stamp Design Awards. However, my desire to become a better drawer motivated me to study art further rather than... Read More
I was born and raised in New Zealand. I studied graphic design for a year and later won the New Zealand Stamp Design Awards. However, my desire to become a better drawer motivated me to study art further rather than to continue with graphics. In the early 1980‘s I came to Australia and studied fine art for four years; this included drawing, painting and design. I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Victoria College, Melbourne, in 1986, majoring in sculpture. These mixed disciplines continue to feed off each other to this day.
Although studying art in the Southern Hemisphere, the study of European and American art movements comprised much of our curriculum. As well as understanding and learning from western art traditions (both historical and contemporary movements) I have a natural desire to find my own authentic voice and to make meaningful work. Since completing studies I’ve been constant in my arts practice, ambitious to make the best work (sculpture, painting, drawing) I felt I could.
In 1991 I won first prize for my painting Bridal Chamber in a Melbourne award. The pivotal advice of one of the judges was to follow my own path and make work that was “true to myself” even if other people didn’t understand it. This gave me the confidence to explore painterliness while there was a trend towards multimedia.
I was artist in residence at a Melbourne Secondary School in the mid 90’s and while there designed a prize-winning tea towel. I taught myself to design fabric as a financial project and completed a business arts course for artists to help this venture. As it turned out, my designs were not suitable for the commercial market. However one design, Fresh Air Vase, was selected for a Japanese design award in 2001.
Around this time a portrait of my father was stolen from the family home in New Zealand. I had painted both of my parents before my formal art studies. (The painting hasn't been found and sadly my father passed away in September this year). In considering subject matter I often draw on some aspect of figuration in my work - from these early portraits of my parents, to modelled heads and figures while studying sculpture, to current paintings and sculptures which often have figurative content in faces, bodies and animals. I remember during sculpture studies much discussion about form/content/figuration/abstraction, and a tutor commenting that my work floated naturally in some in-between ground (between figuration and abstraction).
In 2002 I did further studies in public art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. This awakened me to possibilities of art outside the gallery setting. For example, a few years ago I did a painting on a traffic signal box situated at a busy urban intersection.
As listed on my CV I’ve been in 30 group shows and 12 solo shows. Some highlights are: winning the Royal Overseas League Contemporary Art Prize in 1991 (Melbourne, winning painting Bridal Chamber also exhibited in London), being selected for the Grand Competition of the Japan Designers Association in 2001 (Tokyo) and being a finalist in the Robert Jacks Drawing Prize, 2008 (Bendigo, Australia).
Ten years ago I moved to Geelong, a city about an hour out of Melbourne. Since living here I have had commissions from the Council and local Community Centre for public artworks. I also work part time as an arts facilitator at an art studio for disabled people. Current projects include drawing, painting and sculpture.