From the Exhibition Life after NYC

Life after NYC , Umbrella Studio, Townsville, was a collaborative exhibition with artist Robert Douma following our participation in a Winter Drawing Marathon at New York Studio School in 2016.


New York Studio School provided me with an excellent experience of intense life drawing to hone out-of-practice skills.  Further, and importantly, the critique sessions highlighted the importance of drawing the figure in art history and the value of transcribing from the masters to better understand composition, perceive edges and observe figure and ground. 


Considered by some as objectification of the model, the contextualisation of the nude in art is a matter of debate, consequently,  participation in the practice of life drawing is thus for me, an ambivalent experience; not the actual drawing of the figure, rather the potential exploitation of the model for one’s own gratification.  That said, the figure in art provides the narratives of our history, the metaphors by which we understand our existence and recount our own beliefs and expectations. Thus the drawing marathon renewed and reinvigorated my interest in drawing as a means to explore historic myths in the context of current theories and the political and social realm.

The three  themes pursued in this exhibition, Conflict, Control, and Contemplation, are for me elemental to existence.

Conflict is the millstone which both drags on and drives motivation. Be it inner conflict or global issues, each of us deals with conflict in different ways.  In Ancient Greek mythology narratives framed around their gods and heroes attempt to reconcile the nature and dramas of human conflict – War and Peace, Love and Hate, Philanthropy and Greed, gratitude and the list goes on.

Control is the means by which we manage conflict. Rotational symmetry – a process I have now pursued for over a decade – is the means of exploring control – imposing the static over the dynamic or vice  versa depending on what and how you perceive.

Contemplation - the deep reflective thought we engage in privately to consider the state of 'things' is commonly or famously represented by Rodin's The Thinker.  However, the piece was originally known as The Poet representing Dante at Rodin's larger commissioned work The Gates of Hell referencing Dante's Inferno.  If ideas of Heaven and Hell seem somewhat outmoded,the bigger questions of existence remain  the same.