As I work towards the upcoming exhibition in May 2020, (details to follow so stay tuned), it occurred to me that I had a couple of paintings that I did many years ago. They were in response to an equally devastating fire and I felt they should be included in this exhibition too. In a way, to show that my concern about how humans have impacted on the natural world has been an enduring thread of my work. That's because I genuinely feel this way. So the hunt began, to track down these two paintings that I realised I had not set eyes on for nearly 15 years. Since then I had moved perhaps four or five times. I called these works, they belong together, Parallel Universe I and Parallel Universe II. The scene is time based, as a man drops a live match into the forest, the animal spirits look on, unable to stop him. The other painting shows the same scene, scorched. The match, is burnt and is all that remains of that shortsighted action.
So, after some clever sleuthing, they were found safely stored in a cellar in a house in North Adelaide. A friend, who happened to be driving up to Rainbow Beach, kindly offered to collect them and will drop them off at my studio in Tewantin. In time for the exhibition.
Meanwhile, in the studio I have been painting works that are a response to our current upheaval. The fires are like a potent expression of the consequences of our situation. That they were so catastrophic, widespread and unrelenting has shaken people to the core. It was as if we were experiencing a war, but never having been in a war, I can only imagine this was similar. But my works are exploring this impact on us, on me. I chose not to just describe fire, paint the fires but to express the 'journey' of the event on how it affected our relationships, our sense of power and loss, our connection to land, our hope and joy when it rains again and how people responded to each other. I'll share some of the works I have done so far. The show will have about 20 new paintings and it is so great that I can include the older works as well.
I am interested to hear from anyone who was also impacted by the fires and how you are feeling now about it. It's important for us to remember.