After more than 10 years of collecting beach found objects and subsequently making art out of them, I’ve naturally come now to a new form of expression, which was brought on significantly as a result of the decrease in litter either washing up or being left behind on our beaches, as well as a result of my purge painting series and exploration.
Many artists are now highlighting environmental concerns in their work, such as climate change. I am always hopeful that art can help shift awareness in a positive direction. I am also hopeful that the viewing public embraces these messages and is moved to act, for I firmly believe that at present we need all the help we can get to address the current ecological needs of our planet.
In many ways because there is much less plastics on the beaches around where I live these days, I have also naturally moved on. I began working with recycled plastic bags, painting seascapes of the beaches I walked so many years collecting rubbish off and lately, working with recycled dead trees.
So in one sense yes, in my case consumption has encouraged artistic expression. I am not the only one, there are many more like me who are making successful comments on today’s consumerist society in various ways and mediums.
Exposure to international art in London and Europe, in the early eighties, encouraged me to pursue my career as an artist. One defining moment was experienced at the Tate Gallery in London, 1981. In a gallery space devoted to Mark Rothko, the American abstract expressionist, I experienced the depth of and commitment in his work. The exhibition moved me to tears, and provided a level of inspiration that I had not experienced until that point. Another Rothko piece (from a different period), seen several years later while visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, filled me with the same feeling of understanding.
I think it’s a great journey and I’ve been immensely nourished and continue to be nourished through my own practice as a meditator and one who is involved in my own sense of personal growth. This is also as I mentioned supported by my art practice, where I see the necessity to create art that is essentially silent at its core, suggesting a certain meditative quality in its very being. Not all artworks are capable of having this essence, however the intention is there with every work that I create.
From those early days of making these wall based assemblages, the whole process orientation took shape which was to guide me through many twists and turns in my creativity, which had me exploring many mediums in the found object genre including sculpture, installation, public art, digital printing and a return to painting.
This also has correlation with mankind today on some levels, as we see that those people who live reasonably affluent lives, are generally more inclined to appreciate art and are more likely the kind of people who do not wish to live without art. It seems all through history it has been like this, with the more wealthy elements in our society appreciating and fostering artistic endeavours.