work / COMPLETE JOURNALS 1990 - 2008
I developed the framework for my first 'Journal' traveling through the USA in 1990. As I traveled I encouraged myself to engage with the local environment on various levels depending on what was presented and observed, an attempt to process information and make sense of the world around me. This way of working offered me enormous freedom to explore different possibilities, to work quickly through concepts and ideas. As a result each work was essentially different from the last, while at the same time relating to each other through the shared commonality of the overall experience. Some images were painted while others were assemblages or collages of collected/found material, others were collaborations with people met along the way. The common denominator is that every panel is a standard 30cm x 30cm. It was my first attempt at an experiential recording of my actions - an archive of experiences as well as a chronological diary or journal located specifically within time and place, works that could only have been made while travelling through or living in these various locations. These 'Journals' were originally developed from my earlier travel diaries which often contained drawings and tiny collages of found material as well as notes and ideas for future works. The 'Journals' are intended to be displayed in a single linear format, each work titled and dated in chronological order as though pages from a diary. Started as a side project to my painting practice the two are now so interwoven that they often inform each other. The French term 'Flanuer' described by the writer Charles Bauldelaire as -- 'a person who walks the city in order to experience it' seems an appropiate one when describing my practice. Over the years the idea of the Flaneur has accumulated significant meaning as a referent for understanding urban phenomena and modernity. Bauldelaire saw the Flaneur as having a key role in understanding, participating and portraying the city. A Flaneur thus displayed a double role in city life and in theory, that is, while remaining a detached observer. This stance, simultaneously part and apart from, combines sociological, anthropological, literay and historical notions of the relationship between the individual and the greater populace. Bauldelaire asserted that the artist immerse himself in the metropolis and become, "a botanist of the sidewalk" a man of the people who enters into the life of his subjects with passion. 'World Journal' is the largest and most ambitious of the series. Made over a period of 40 weeks in 1992 while travelling throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North, Central and South America. It went on to represent Australia at the 1994 VIII Indian Triennale in New Delhi where is was awarded a gold medal. Many of the images in this Journal deal with memory, death, grief, loss, religion as well as observations concerning cultural transitions and cultural imperialism. The early nineties were marked by a series of deaths including my first art dealer in Sydney, Garry Anderson, Georg Mora from Tolarno galleries and my own father. Some of these images are an attempt to process these emotional states as I travelled. Other images display an optimism for the future while most celebrate the curious, wonderfully prosaic and often hidden moments of our day to day experiences.