LIVES AND WORKS
LIVES AND WORKS
DATE OF BIRTH
I am an Australian artist living and working in Paris, France. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts with the National Art School, Sydney. At the graduation show I was awarded a residency with Queen Street Studios, where I worked for 5 months and finished with a solo show in their exhibition space. I now live in France, and have had several solo and group exhibitions in both France and Australia.
The majority of my artistic practice is painting. I paint in oils on canvas or board and watercolour sketches on paper. On occasions I also include drawing and sculpture in my practice. What I love about painting is the physicality of the colours, the movement of the brush, it is like a dance.
When I paint the ocean I stare at the canvas till I see the waves emerge. I paint the waves from memory so that I can connect to my memory of that place. Capturing the waves is to capture a movement that is formed from formlessness.
My abstract works are more an act of placing myself in the present moment. I feel like I am obliterated and remade again in each moment, they are a reaction to now. They are watery and out of focus, the way our world appears through mist. They could be read like a poem.
All my work plays with the idea of a formless and flowing self. A self and home which intertwine and give meaning to one another. A non-solid somethingness.
The ocean holds specific symbolism in my work. I paint the international waters that my family crossed to reach Australia, I paint the beaches I grew up on that feel like home, I paint the seas of my Irish, English and Welsh ancestors who all lived in coastal villages. I paint the oceans I crossed when I moved to France, and the oceans that now separate me from my birth place and family. I paint the abstract memories and stories that connect these places. I paint myself as the sea, I paint the water that flows between these lands and the water inside us all.
My work is an exploration into how we define the 'self' in relation to the concept of home. Looking at the interaction between the idea of self and the concept of home by drawing on the influences that ancestry, environment and belonging have on the self and its surrounding space. The concepts of Self and home not only interact with one another but also help build and define each other.
The diaspora of my ancestors has given me a sense of ambivalence, which can be expressed through a term that the Welsh call Hiraeth, “a homesickness or the pining for a home, a person, a figure, even a national history that may never have actually existed. To feel hiraeth is to experience a deep sense of incompleteness tinged with longing.” (Smith College: Kahn Liberal Arts Institute) These inquiries into cultural heritage and 'home' land have become particularly important to my work during the past few years, firstly, when the environmental disaster at the end of 2019, and into 2020, saw fires spread across much of Australia burning so much of the land where I was born and grew up. Then, when travel restrictions were put in place due to covid 19, causing me to be cut off from my birth place and family.
I am also researching this subject of self and home, with a focus on how the self can be defined in terms of cultural identity and the history of ones homeland. Being a white Australian the concept of home becomes more complex when looked at through the lens of postcolonial theory. I was born, and grew up in Australia (on Ngunnawal, Yuin and Gadigal country). My mothers family immigrated to Australia from England in the early 60's, and my father's family have been in Australia for 5 generations. Australia is my birth place and where I grew up, however living on land that was stolen from the first nations people has never felt comfortable to me. As with many other Australians, my country's history leaves me with a complicated and ambivalent sense of home. Australia, like so many other countries, has a colonial past, and there is a continual reckoning with that history.
It is researching these subjects that leads me to the ocean, to international waters, where boundaries cross.
There is a fluidity between the self and home, between one's ancestry and the environment, and it becomes difficult to separate the self as a single entity. One is what they take in. One is a part of what surrounds them. We share the air we breath and the water we drink. We swap ideas. Like ripples or waves in water, we are one formless giant moving thing. We are ephemeral and eternal.
WHO I AM
Australian artist living in Paris with a fine arts degree from the national art school, Sydney.
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