Friday, 10 March 2023

'Death by cop' series

I took advice from a woman who sometimes comes to Eastern Suburbs Art Group gatherings and stopped putting collage on some of my works. This won’t mean that collage has been banished just that I’ll be more selective about where and when it appears. 

The new series ‘Death by cop’ is also figurative and comes from old photos taken in The Rocks one day. I enjoy the colours, the ways they meld and merge and stay separate, the ways that they create meaning just by sitting on the paper, or at least I hope they do. I enjoy making these things despite the title (which is, admittedly, a bit macabre) and there will be more to follow in the same vein.

I think that ‘Death by cop’ represents a new beginning, as for me this is the start of something that has space for experimentation. By this time I’ve started a number of series, including the ‘CAPitalism’ series and the ‘Kotowaza’ (Japanese sayings) series. Looking back to where all of this artmaking started I see in the placement of framed photos on shelves in my house, and in the hanging of pictures on the walls, an effort to bridge a divide. It’s hard to put it into words even though I’ve spent so many years writing in various ways, including poetry, journalism, and in my journal. If I try to pinpoint the significance of all of this artmaking I feel forced to stumble, just as, when I was a boy racing round a track, I felt the need to tap my toe on the ground – left and right, left, left and right, right – in order to keep the balance.

The balance?

Like I said it’s difficult to explain. I guess the reason why I started using collage is because of the years I spent making magazines and promotional brochures, newsletters and use manuals, reams and reams of “useful” literature that is probably now all pulped and recycled, or thrown into landfill. I remember and you’ll never know the careful effort that went into making those publications, the hours, minutes, weeks, months – scattered shards of time – now almost forgotten. Perhaps it’s in an effort to recycle that time that I now imagine worlds using collage.

The thing about collage is its rapidity, and this is allied to its potential for reuse. If I clip a piece of paper out of a magazine I can just quickly paste it down on top of the painting. The colours on the printed paper – if they remain unfaded – spark off in contrast with what lies on the paper. In the same way thoughts associated with current events or with my surroundings contrast with memories.

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