BAM KAPOW SWICH CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE 2012
In “BAMM KAPOW”” I have decided to explore the concept of duality once again by marrying images of superheroes and medication for mental illness. I see the hero as an introverted personality shying away from the attention of the world but with a deep seeded desire for recognition. This is manifested in an altar ego, the super hero. The superhero is the person the world admires and wants to be like. They have strength and the ability to rise above their fears but return to anonymity when they choose. Suffers of mental illness have strong parallels to that of the superhero. They live in a world of fear, of misunderstanding and of isolation. They are not yet accepted into the “normal” world almost ignored for being different. They are the Peter Parkers and Clarke Kent’s of the world, passed by and rarely considered. It’s a constant battle for those suffering, seeing the world they want to be a part of moving by unable to join it. The medication is their way out, it transforms the thought patterns and allows the “superhero” to let loose. For a brief period of time they can rise above fear and be important. Unfortunately they are not a cure, not a way to change forever only a means to escape into the fantasy of normality before returning to their anonymous selves.
The works in “Bam Kapow” aim to address impact of mental illness on an individual. The works embrace the Pop styling of comic book art with the bold type of medication packaging. The images of superheroes have been selected not for their power or strength but for their vulnerability. No matter how badly they desire to be normal, they never quite realize their dream. This concept is reflected in my approach to media and colour. The superheroes are depicted in colours that reflect the medication packaging they are painted over and created in oil paint to avoid the perfection of aerosol or enamel. This reinforces the idea that no matter how much a sufferer of mental illness tries to rise above their disease and be accepted, they never quite get there.
FLIGHT COMMUNITY ART ON GOONDOON GALLERY 2011
After exploring darker concepts with my “Anxiety Series” and the “Aisle 10” exhibition I found myself searching for an idea with simplicity at its heart. Initially inspired by my son, Joshua, and his constant companion, a small cockatiel named “Cheesecake”, I became increasingly aware of the subtle impact birds play in our daily lives. Living in a pole home amongst the tree tops in Gladstone, birds would briefly enter our view and just as quickly disappear into the sky. I became inspired by the simplicity of their existence and found them a perfect symbol for my own existence.
“Flight” is not a study of the species but a metaphor for the freedom of life. It is a reflection of the decision that often confronts a person at the mid-point in their life: Does one remain in the security of the nest; or sacrifice that safety for the risk of flight into the unknown. My aim was for the paintings in the exhibition to work in two ways, the first as simply beautiful images, and the second to be read as a narrative of the direction my life has taken in recent years.
The works in the exhibition embrace the new medium of aerosol paint to create the patterned lace that fills the background of each image. Each pattern reflects the curtains that obscure our view into the outdoors. These are combined with a traditional use of oil paint to create the delicate details of each bird, itself a further exploration of the idea of the old and the new.
The viewer can simply enjoy the beauty in each image or they can take the risk and use the titles to decipher a story of change, of risk, and of a “Flight” into the unknown
AISLE 10 GLADSTONE, GYMPIE AND MONTO REGIONAL GALLERIES
Over the years beauty has always fascinated me, and has become a source of inspiration for my work. Recently the deceptive nature of beauty has intrigued me and I decided to explore the duality of beautiful things for a series of art works.
The manipulation of beauty by a consumer-obsessed society has played with our natural attraction to sell us something more sinister. The honesty of the beautiful object has been replaced with hidden danger, carefully packaged to deceive us.
We have been conditioned to believe and as a result we accept the information of an “expert” as truth and so we are easily led into accepting this harm as long as it’s packaged in an attractive, beautiful manner.
Aisle 10 is an exploration of the deceitful way in which harm is sold to us disguised by beauty. The local supermarket with its aisle of cleaning products was an immediate source of inspiration. There appeared to be a connection between the increase in our use of these products and deterioration in our health.
My research into the medical conditions that prolonged exposure to certain chemicals can cause was alarming and these same chemicals appeared regularly in the products in “Aisle 10”.
What I found intriguing is that as long as they are packaged using beautiful colour, we believe that they can only make our lives healthier. Harm carefully hidden by lush, exciting beauty, a beauty that we will always believe in.
The products in “Aisle 10” have been a source of inspiration the works in this exhibition.
My aim was for the artworks to reflect the duality of Aisle 10, images that would deceive the viewer by hiding harm in beautiful imagery. The paintings were developed to attract with a bold approach to colour, which would draw the audience in only to discover hidden amongst the beauty was something more dangerous. Each painting is primarily a beautiful image based on the colour of a particular cleaning product, but hidden, within the image, is the name of the chemical found in that product. And as the colour of the chemical disguises the harm in the cleaning product, the text is ignored as you become immersed in the colour of the painting.