Monday, January 24, 2011

At Herring Island

"Frankly, My Dear" from the back
Well at last the work was finished and taken to Herring island. It was a bit hilarious setting up in the rain - there was a wiping brigade to dry the work before it was placed in the gallery - then the weather cheered up and the opening was fine and sunny. The people in Queensland haven't been so lucky - and luck it is - we have no way of knowing if the rain will fall on Melbourne's catchments next.

Well I polished the work and polished the words to go with her - this time the woman is handing out the famous line. But we all know it's a construct and nothing is ever that easy:
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"
So I wrote: 
"Frankly, My Dear"
As Rhett Butler's famous words mark the denouement of his obsession with Scarlett O'Hara and the Southern Belle, so "Gone with the Wind" describes the end of that era of flawed beauty built on slavery. I wonder what images will be created, in fifty or a hundred years time, to reflect on the end of this era of extravagance built on the myth of cheap, plentiful oil.
John waiting for the punt at Herring Island
My dad came and visited the show - we had a good discussion about the support work for the figure - a difference of opinion or interpretation? - all good. And am I lucky to have parents who can disagree with me on the intellectual and artistic level? Most definitely yes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Rant

Instead of making New Year's resolutions that I won't keep, I'm telling the world of humans a few of my home truths - knowing that no one is listening - right!

I reckon so called free trade agreements should be negotiated in an international court of law with independent arbitration. There is too much power/economic imbalance and most of what I understand of these agreements is that they look remarkably like protection rackets operated by stand over merchants. Even if it's just an appearance this needs to be amended.

Barnevelder chicks settling into their new home
The priority of all nations is first to have people involved in communal activity for mutual benefit - we call it "work" - but I think the concept needs to encompass what we do within our families - growing vegetables and raising children as well as the voluntary work that holds the community together - the running of sporting clubs, the scouts, the choral societies.... there used to be enough spare capacity in society for these things to be well run - now it isn't just the climate of litigation that is killing these groups but the emphasis on productivity and efficiency (and consumption) that has taken away our initiative and our spare time - after all that, then add in the economic "keeping the wheels of industry turning". Trade is a communal activity whether it's between individuals or nations: there is not only the benefit of the exchange of goods and services but the cultural interaction that permits trade to happen. If people believe that there is exploitation by one side or the other the cultural "infrastructure" is damaged and the exchange is flawed.

work in progress
Then the next thing I want to fix on this little rant is the "war on drugs" - what did the drugs ever do to deserve this effort? We have a medical problem - it needs to be sorted out and the victims given back their lives. Why not address it in the same manners that eliminated small pox or reduced the black death to a mythological memory? What is a war but boys playing with their sparklers and causing a lot of death and destruction? We can do better than that.

Now it's time to go back to the studio and get on with the work - the piece for the Herring Island exhibition is slowly taking shape - the thoughts materialising in the form. Sometimes I get lost in the process - sometimes I watch myself working - sometimes I use the more mechanical aspects to have some thinking time.