The initial collection of thee objects, consisted of approximately 80 jumbo garden bags full of beach found litter. I first piled this collection up in my studio and soon realized the potential of a giant palate. Then I began the selections of yellow coloured plastics to make up it’s own pile in the studio, then the red, then the blues, the rope & strings, the plastic coke bottles, the thongs etc. Soon the floor of the studio did resemble a giant painters palate.
Seeing all this develop had the effect of sewing the seed, for I later had the notion of making assemblages of each of these objects once it was all sorted.
This occurred to me as a natural extension of the process I was undergoing in the studio as a painter. A whole new palette of colour and shape revealing itself to me immediately affected me; I had never seen such hues and forms before, all which enabled me to make new environmental art.
Since then – for approximately 10 years, I scoured Australian beaches for found objects, much of which I found as washed up ‘ocean litter’. I have since discovered this is a worldwide phenomenon, affecting beaches on a global level.
I bought these plastics back to my studio to sift, sort, and colour-code for my assemblages, sculptures and installations. As I worked with these objects, I became even more fascinated by the way they had been modified and weathered by the ocean and nature’s elements. My challenge as an artist was to take these found objects, which might on first meeting have no apparent dialogue, and to work with them until they spoke and told their story, which included those underlying environmental messages inherent in the use of this kind of medium.
My work is in a constant state of evolution. I see this largely as alchemical. It is the process of nature’s elements redefining the man-made that created the initial alchemy in working with these found objects, taking the objects beyond the mundane. The second step was achieved through the transportation of these plastics to my studio and the process of sorting and assembling. A further and more vital transformation took place as I assembled them. These found objects then started to tell their story and become transformed into artworks.
The central concerns of my work are with contemporary environmental art practice. I have for many years been working with found and recycled objects, most hand-picked by myself from somewhere along the Australian Coastline. In fact it literally amazes me to think how many times I have bent over to pick up the many thousands of pieces of plastic debris that made up that aspect of my art, each piece jostled around for who knows how long by sand, sun and ocean, their form faded and rounded by the elements.