NZ Calendar Art

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I think that I shall make this the image of the series. So much about tactility and surface and the layers of connectivity the image evokes. I was very moved by these series of boulders at Moeraki just north of Dunedin, and went back twice just to reinforce the connection.

July 18th 2020

I felt so alive within these boulders and it really brought to the fore my thinking and reflecting on John O’Donoghue about how we are extensions through our clay body; the rocks and stones of place. We don’t come from somewhere else, but come out of the soil we stand on. he was talking as a native Irishman, but the sentiment stands wherever one roams. the soil that spurned you speaks with a particular voice and recognises its own.

I walked the pathways and then off them when meandering round these huge monolithic formations, and the grass memory came rushing back. There is a texture about grass in NZ that is luscuious, fecund and so green. There was a gentle breeze on both occasions I came here, and the Mountain Daisy’s seemed to wait and then put on a colourful display all for myself as I paraded by.  I felt most comfortable being here even though it was a 25 year break since I last stepped on these shores.

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July 16th, 2020

On my arrival in New Zealand, just after Christmas 2019, I drove straight up from Christchurch airport into the hills at the base of the Southern Alps, and took in Castle Hill, which I have dreamed of going to for many years. It was a journey well worth while the wait.

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The other aspect of the journey was a trip to the deep south to see both my parents’ graves, and in particular, my mother’s country in Deep Southland, on the far deep Southern Coast. I travelled with my brother and believe me, it was a trip full of laughs. We are very different in temperament and outlet, and yet the commonality of our experience was enough for active and fertile communication.

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May 12th.

You will see a lot more of these as I update this site, and they were based on a recent trip to New Zealand, the land of my birth. I came away from this journey, after 25 years’ absence, with a profound sense of being acknowledged and reclaimed, even though I am an Australian now, and have been for 30 odd years.

I am primarily a sculptor and this frames so much that I do. Being a photographer has also shaped the way that I look at the world, yet I realize the single image is not enough. I want more narrative with pictures and hence have gone to collage through photoshop. I enjoy this as the image becomes more layered (pardon the pun) and nuanced. I don’t find a single photos helps here at all, even though it might be clever and stunning, and believe me, there are plenty of stunning images around and clever compositioners.

For me, I wanted something more plastic, and the soil spoke to me. I started collapsing and scrunching my photocopied images (and I look forward to what happens with good quality images and good tough photographic paper that tears well), and all of a sudden, certain features could be, and were, accentuated and I could manipulate the gaze if you will with featuring certain aspects of the image so they projected out like the below image. it would have been pointless to obscure the face but the roots, although alluded to, did not need too much feature in the composition.

For me, the experiment was exciting and I embarked on a whole calendar of images where I produced a yearly calendar with these images all scrunched up and painted with PVA to hold their shape. I will place these here soon as I want others to be able to download from this site easily. If they want better quality I can send them also probably using Dropbox for example.

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Here you can see that I have fused the scrumpled up paper image and photoshopped it straight back onto a rock face, grafting in a sense a connective tissue, tenously bound.

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Adding the the beginning of this blog, I am excited at the plasticity of the images that afford more expressive abilities than just the image. I love the way with something like photoshop, you can link elements together in a seamless quite natural way. Look at the way those roots precariously hang onto the rock surface. We know it’s not true, yet we suspend belief as the image entices us to see beyond the stitch to the connections inherent and possibilities of the image.

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