As an art student in the 1980s, I often visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see one of my favourite paintings, "Picherit’s Farm "by Max Meldrum. Many years later as I walked into my backyard, I noticed that the view that confronted me constantly reminded me of Meldrum’s painting. Propelled by this image, in 2011 I began to paint a series of backyard paintings which I completed this year. I have painted the same view numerous times on different surfaces, using diverse techniques and sizes, painted on canvas, boards and tea towel material. The paintings also draw attention to a suburban landscape that is constantly changing—large backyards are rapidly disappearing to accommodate smaller, more convenient backyards. A big backyard attached to an average home is now nostalgic. While creating these paintings, I imagined my backyard as a stage. I physically and mentally moved objects around the space to play with their symbolic attachments. For example, the swing evokes childhood, the fence suggests boundaries, and the mass produced garden model windmill alludes to colonialism, the invasion and controlling while shaping the land. The painting titled, “The cosmos in my backyard” is not only inspired by Meldrums painting, but also influenced by the light in Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting, “Dovedale by moonlight". Also dealing with anxiety each painting has a different mood swing depicting that same view of my backyard. I had deliberately chosen to exhibit this series in my home. This came about after I anguished how do I want this work to be seen , in a gallery or somewhere else. One day driving my daughter somewhere, thinking about the work, the song "The real thing" by Russell Morris came on the radio. With the line in the song, "come see the real thing", it hit me that my house was the place for the exhibition. The viewer can see the work and walk straight into the backyard and see for themselves the inspiration.
"Picherit"s Farm" by Max Meldrum "Dovedale by moonlight" by Joseph Wright of Derby
"SWING HIGH SWING LOW" EXHIBITION . First 3 paintings are large formats (click on individual images to view)