|11 Nov 2003
My hometown Melbourne has lured me back once again. It is spring and
the traditional four seasons in one day type of weather has me a tad
confused about what to wear. Preparations are underway for my UNMAPPING
exhibition at William Mora Gallery in Richmond. Before the formal
opening on the 20th November a small preview is planned for the dozen
Antarctic patrons that have helped me over the past few years in an
variety of ways. Antarctic homebrew beer will flow that evening while
on another night at the LOOP bar in central Melbourne those interested
can watch the rough footage of the Antarctic documentary that Matthew
Rooke filmed last summer. Tony Press the director of the Australian
Antarctic Division will open the major show and formally present the
large scale works which were begun in the Davis station Helipad studio
some months ago in East Antarctica. All are welcome.
Photo: Min SimanKeVicius
I have been offered a studio residency in Taipei, Taiwan for three
months next year so it will not be very long before I pack the bags and
head off once again, this time northwards.The Australia China Council
studio in the rather new Taipei Artists Village will be my next base.
Packing is in fact the working title of the painting I am currently
battling with. New Travailogue works on bandage are also appearing in
the current Melbourne studio. These works will possibly travel with me
early next year where I hope to reconnect with many faces and places in
8 Sep 2003
This month I find myself in a charming guest room underneath a house on
stilts. I am in Brisbane for an exhibition at Bellas Gallery which
opens on the 23rd September and runs until the 11th October. My
three-month studio residency stint at the Gunnery/Artspace complex in
Sydney ended a few weeks ago so northwards I have moved. As hoped I
completed the large body of paintings I began some time ago in the
Davis station studio. Now totally thawed out from that Antarctic summer
it surely is time to frolic on a warm beach.
First I must prepare for this exhibition entitled TRAVAILOGUE which
like all my exhibitions is in fact a distorted travelogue. The word
travel is derived from travail meaning a bodily or mentally laborious
effort. Travelogue of course is a monologue often accompanied by images
of ones journey. Travailogue therefore plays with my travel addiction
and acknowledges the unpleasant aspects of moving about the planet. As
someone who has chosen a nomadic lifestyle I have met hundreds of
uprooted people who have shown me the nasty elements of migration and
Compared to the plight of refugees my travails are rather pathetic.
Gluttony for kilometres and new experiences, a taste for anonymity,
boredom with stability and a dis-taste for possessions fuel my travels.
Wanderlust keeps me on tour not survival. In the animal world to stray
from ones home terrain is suicide but in my world the risks and dangers
of strange lands is assimilated into the paintings along with the
positive experiences of my self inflicted dislocation.
The 200 small works to be exhibited have been made over the past two
years while wandering about Australia, Asia and Antarctica. I have used
bandage as a support for all these works. This fabric to me with its
function of helping to repair the body hints at the travail of travel.
Hopes of healing damage are also wrapt up in this material. Many people
see art itself as a mild form of medicine.
This Travailogue theme will grow as it accompanies me on future travels
so a Travailogue 2 exhibition is already being planned. I am not sure
which location it will be shown but will definitely let you know when I
25 Jun 2003
I find myself one month into a three month residential studio stint
here at the excellent Gunnery Studio complex in Woolloomooloo Sydney. A
dozen large paintings were begun last summer in the Antarctic studio at
Davis station and here I hope to complete them surrounded by this
vibrant city rather than a rocky outcrop and a massive icecap. All goes
well in the studio but I unfortunately have not managed to use much of
Sydney which is a fine city. It is winter here which means it is sunny
and not very cold at all! Most of June was +20 C with beautiful dry
I prepare for exhibitions in Brisbane (September) and Melbourne
(November) as well as a small group show on a Russian icebreaker
somewhere in the icy Southern Ocean at the end of the year. It looks
like I shall be located on the east coast of Australia for 2003 which I
cannot complain about at all.
Each evening at dusk I watch thousands of fruit bats fly over the
nearby park simultaneously I hear a few emergency sirens rushing to the
aid of someone in need. It's a busy excitable city of over four million
people so someone is often in trouble...to balance this thought, you
can always find someone else gushing joy and celebrating life
occasionally with a lychee, vodka and basil cocktail in their hands.
29 Apr 2003
Returning to reality is still the feeling I have even after being back
in Australia for over a month now. The first few weeks were spent in
Hobart acclimatising to moisture in the form of rain and humidity. To
see and smell vegetation again was also an odd treat. A temporary
studio was set up in 'the Chalet' located in a Hobart back garden
bungalow. There I sorted slides, photos, artwork and thoughts as well
as speaking as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian University Art
schools weekly forum. Hobart's small but active art world was a
pleasure to explore as I thawed out from my four months in the
A flight to Melbourne landed me back with family and friends but as
usual I am busy being here as well as preparing to exit. The Gunnery
studio awaits me in Sydney.
I have just been informed by the station leader at Davis station that
the four small outdoor sculptures I planted on the outskirts of the
station have been officially accepted by the Australian Antarctic
Division as a sculpture garden. Probably the first of its kind on the
entire continent. My hope is that future expeditioners will add self
made works to the garden as an ongoing project. This will precariously
tack visual culture onto this wind-blasted human outpost in East
Antarctica. If anyone is keen to visit the sculpture garden is located
68. 34 deg. south 77. 58 deg. east.
9 Mar 2003
The last month at Davis station saw me constructing a small sculpture
garden overlooking the Bay. I planted three 'headhome' works to
compliment a mysterious carved wooden pole already on site that sadly
The final summer event was a 120 km helicopter trip over to the Chinese
Zhong Shan station and the Russian Progress Two station. We flew over
six gorgeous glaciers and were treated with steamed dumplings, vodka
and plenty of hospitality. It was a brilliant Antarctic summer day with
views of the shimmering sterile white void. I bowed with respect to the
icecap's beauty or was I just nodding off due to the excellent vodka?
Early on Sunday morning I was plucked from Davis station and allocated
a berth on the Aurora Australis as it was time to move. First stop was
the spectacular Mawson station where we picked up the summerers and
waved farewell to Antarctica via a man dressed as a yellow flower. Now
it's the long voyage back to Australia. Onboard this icebreaker
sleeping, eating, reading, watching videos, emergency muster drills,
writing and drawing keep me busy. The Southern Ocean is looking large
deep and dark, currently we are 3810 km away from Hobart and the sea is
being rather pleasant.
As the last Iceberg floated out of view I knew that my most unusual and
coldest summer had ended. It has been a productive, inspiring and
special season in and around my cosy heli-pad studio but now I have
many large paintings to complete, exhibitions to arrange, family and
friends to see and a studio awaiting me in Sydney. If possible I would
have stayed at Davis station for the southern winter. Obviously I did
not get enough astonishing beauty, delirious blizzards, chilling
silence nor outlandish views. I was very much intoxicated by this
exotically frigid continent. Strong, abundant and addictive experiences
I take away with me to translate into paintings.
Quality dislocation with lashings of alien beauty made Antarctica
almost a home away from home. That is if I did have a home and wanted
to indulge in a second one. This is highly unlikely as my travel bug
once again moves me rapidly over the sea to everysomewherever. . .
More information regarding my time in Antarctica can be found on - www.abc.net.au/arts/visual.
8 Feb 2003
Last week in the studio 60-knot winds (149 kph) swayed the building as
I worked on the small Travailogue paintings. The wind screamed, the hut
groaned, squeaked and shuddered. I felt like I was in a moving train
carriage on my way to some where ever but was actually only rocking a
centimetre or two in all directions. Katabatic winds down here can be
three times this velocity so the old Antarctic hands said it was simply
"a bit blowy". The past weeks have been brilliant weather wise and
basically all good. Field trips out to Brookes hut, Bandits hut and
some zodiac boating trips out to Prydz Bay to perv at bergs have all
been visually stunning experiences. The summer season now begins to
'wind' down as the Polar Bird ship has arrived and will soon whisk away
one third of the people on station. Twilight has also arrived after
weeks of daylight so a full-blown nighttime must be less than a month
On the 31st January I exhibited some of my work in the ANARE satellite
dome building. Almost the entire base population of eighty folks turned
up dressed in dinner suits, overalls or Antarctic foul weather gear. A
number of scientists and support crew who recently returned from a
major ten week German/Australian expedition to the Prince Charles
Mountain region also made it to the opening.
The exhibition title was SITREP referring to the situation reports that
are simple codes used by field parties to inform the base via radio as
to what is going on. My exhibition did just that, displayed to all on
base what I have been up to over the summer in the heli-pad studio.
The next few weeks remaining for me on the Base will be spent finishing
work, sorting ideas and perhaps another field trip to the icecap.
- Alpha = Position.
- Bravo = Health.
- Charlie = Condition (of vehicle.)
- Delta = Intention (for the next day.)
- Echo = Weather.
- Foxtrot = State (of the track.)
- Golf = Other.
Much has been experienced down here in this pretty and brutal place and
many fantastic people I have got to know so the changeover from summer
to winter means strong farewells and fluffy thoughts for some about
returning to "home in the real world." My real world is looking like
indecipherable longitude and latitude coordinates scrawled on a box of
travel sickness pills, stuffed into a dirty bag with thermal underwear
and a pair of thongs. I am still rather shy of any form of geographical
stability so I shall navigate along this anti-domestic route until the
8 Jan 2003
Recently returned from a field trip to Platcha Hut which sits by the
Ice plateau on the eastern finger of Long Fjord. A week of strolling
about the rocky Vestfold Hills was a productive time. Beautiful lakes
both frozen and hyper saline tarns that refuse to freeze were sketched
and walked over, excursions about the edge of the icecap, trips over
the frozen fjord with instep crampons and ice axes all keep us busy and
mesmerized. Fine Antarctic summer weather made it all the more
brilliant. Drawing and absorbing the landscape was my task with a small
new years eve celebration thrown into the weeks activities to ward off
the possible hut fever madness.
Sitting on a black dolorite volcanic rock one sunny but windy afternoon
watching the ice plateau shimmer like titanium metal was as relaxing as
sun baking on a tropical island beach. The dress code was rather
different and the refreshing sea breeze was replaced with painful gusts
flung directly off the icecap which looked like a frozen ocean. It
pleased me somehow to be weathered by this deadly wind on my face and
exposed to a gorgeous icy glare. All too strange and grand.
Now back in the Heli-pad studio working on the smaller paintings.
Building, sorting and preparing the larger works on linen. Much of the
sea ice has melted in the bay so we were able yesterday to make a
Zodiac boat trip out to Iceberg Alley where we hunted for a jade berg
amongst the thousands of huge white gems floating about in the dark