Five things this Friday – 23 February, 2018

After last week’s five works over 20 years, here are five works from the last five years…


Less Use, 2013 acrylic on wooden panels (2 pieces) 400 × 1620 × 80mm

Rejected from a couple of competitions this work sold immediately when shown with PaulNache in Gisbourne (not that sales are the only measure as to whether a work is any good or not). For me, this piece somehow embodied much of what I learnt from my residency at SNO in Sydney. A favourite of mine for sure.


Work #52, 2014 acrylic on canvas 200 × 250mm

The final work from my year long 52 weeks, 52 works, 52 colours project.


The colour of Courtenay Place, 2015 Light boxes, Wellington

My first public art project. Several people commented on how the monochromes changed the nature of the light boxes from places where images are displayed to sculptural objects.


Offset, 2016 acrylic on linen 500 × 500mm

2016 was a comparatively quiet one for me. I started my daily monochrome project to build up some momentum in my practice again. This work, a variation of the monochrome, was one of a pair, the other work however failed due to a blemish.


Bug, 2017 Flasche paint on cardboard 100 × 120mm

Chosen here as a contrast to the quality finish of Offset. Where some works benefit from precision, patience and quality materials others succeed by being made quickly on whatever materials are lying around. This cut up piece of cardboard falls in the later category and it’s sitting on my wall at home, horizontally, as you read this.

Five things this Friday – 16 February

Blasts from the past – five works, one every five years starting from my foundation course in 1989/90 up to 2010.

1 1989/90

A still life painting exercise from my Foundation course. Oil on hardboard. The carved figure is one my Dad made.The other objects are some sort of nut, a plastic toy space gun and piece of grapefruit peel.

2 1994/95

A drawing made a year or two after my finishing my Honours Degree. I was making small plaster objects of geometric house like forms. I used cardboard to make the initial mould and then latex to make a reusable one.

3 1999/2000

acrylic ink and paint on paper

Not too sure when this was made but it’s around this time. I was a living in Devon and working from home. A drawing of sorts. I think it was a one of those pieces of paper where I was cleaning my brush or using up excess paint, a by-product of sorts, but I like it.

4 2004/05

Electric sugar acrylic on mdf approx 1200 × 900mm

Made while house-sitting for friends in London. Fortunately for me, one of the bedrooms was in the process of being decorated so I had a free studio for a month. It’s a decent size woek, and I was still very much into gestural mark making. The title comes from a Tom Waits lyric, “…and over in The burnt yellow tent By the frozen tractor, the Music was like electric sugar”.

5 2009/10

Fissure acrylic on canvas 200 × 250mm

A work from my “One for you, one for me” project, where I asked people on my mailing list to cover my costs to make two works. In return they’d get one of the works and I’d keep the other. I exhibited all the paintings in my studio at Toi Pōneke and randomly selected the works for the supporters of the project.

In looking at these images I’m struck by how different a story would be told if I had chosen five different images. Quite how representative they are of my practice as a whole is really up for question. In fact it’s safe to say they offer momentary snapshots and these are the ones that caught my eye today. Another day and it could be five different images and a totally new story.

And on a different note, it’s quite something to realise I’ve been making art for almost thirty years…

Work in progress

The test piece from the other week. I’m living with the work for now – seeing it at different times of the day, in different states of mind. I’m really liking some of the textures, however the balance of the tones isn’t working for me, but that’s ok. The illusionistic three dimensional nature of the work is something for me to contend with too. How much do I want to manipulate this, or not? For now what’s needed is time, looking and pondering.

Five things this Friday

1. More doodles

2. Influence

I rather liked this short blog post by Austin Kleon - The way we talk about influence is backwards.

Rather than Van Gogh influencing Basquiat (which is kind of impossible if you think about it, and implies passivity on the part of Basquiat), try instead thinking of Baquiat working on Van Gogh…

I particularly like how, in the quoted Michael Baxandall text, this new arrangement opens up the language we use.

3. Eight week blocks

As an experiment, I’ve started the year trying to work in eight week blocks. I got the idea from a couple of different places. Now half way through my first block and I’m thinking of changing tack. I expect I’ll write more on this at a later date.

4. Nakatomi Space

Image from Die Hard

Die Hard meets the essay Lethal Theory, “walking through walls” and “what it means to bend space to your own particular navigational needs”.

Read (approx 10 mins) or listen (approx 14 mins) to this text by Geoff Manaugh.

5. Personas

A couple of conversations about personas (for artists) got me thinking about the Tom Peters book The Brand You 50. (He’s no relation, or at least not that I know of!) I’ve got the book tucked away somewhere along with his book Re-imagine. Both are full of provocative nuggets. It could be time to dig them out for a browse.