01 September, 2014

The Artist statement as art form in itself.

When entering art exhibitions, competitions or holding exhibitions, one is often asked to supply an artist's statement. It seems to be a standard thing and I abhor the practise.

Now, I get why some people have artist statements.  Perhaps their work is very conceptual or abstract and needs some explanation of some kind, but if you read the majority of modern artist's statements, they are just goddamn awful: Verbose, pandering, non-sensical and fluffed up like peacock on the pull.
You read it .
Then read it again because somewhere in between " The Artist..." and the final punctuation mark, your ears start to ring and you suffer a sudden loss of will to live. I swear I have read statements that have questioned whether english is my first language, as I understood not a word. NOTHING. I wander off , dazed and confused, looking for a dictionary and a lobotomy, not always in that order. No wonder there is wine at openings.

As an artist, if you are going to write something, please know that Jo Public  did not study art and therefore your allusions to artistic themes of the middle century, radical left politics of the 1930's and verbal wanking is totally lost on Them. Know that, if you want to keep them engaged, use small words. Paint a mental picture. Educate and enlighten them, but do not alienate or belittle them with your opening parle.

If you are a critic or an "art expert" , I understand you might want their references to understand the pieces, but why encourage  the tradition of mumbo-jumbo . I have seen artists win prizes for their rather ordinary, ill constructed works  with mind-numbingly bullshit statements. I swear the judges were stupefied by the methane wafting off the surface of the statement in waves of self indulgence and mistook it for cleverness.

If I was any good at writing, I would be a writer. But I am a painter, so I paint. My story is in paint.  However, I am not that illiterate that I cannot tell you a bit about why I paint like I do and what it means.
I paint landscapes because they mean something to me and represent connectivity and place. By that I mean landscape mean things to me such as : The place of my childhood, the people I love are here, this place fills me with wonder, I have memories of my life under these mountains, I am happy here, I am sad here, I used to live there and now I don't belong, I want to belong here, I wish this place stayed like this, I am lost, I am found..All of the above voices are attached to images and I need to paint them to express them. So I paint. I invite you into my landscape to see what those feelings look like to me. I don't tell you which ones are which, I just  invite you to fly over, walk around, dream and contemplate that world.

This is my statement. I hope it gives you a sense of who I am and what my paintings represent.

My landscapes come from a place where reality, imagination and memory all have equal tenancy.
Whilst I am particularly moved and influenced by the landscape, I seek a personal interpretation of it rather than a replication of it.

I am interested in the abstract within the landscape and focus on painting it through as many perspectives as I can, being inventive with my application of paint and experimenting with my materials.
The painting process has to be fresh and interesting for my own sanity. I let paint drip, build up layers, scape back, flick paint around and use my tools to create marks that remain in the finished product. The paintings are atmospheric, evocative and invite the viewer to use their own imagination to explore fly over, walk through or stand and observe those worlds.

My recent inspiration comes from flying in a small aircraft, piloted by a friend, across the manicured landscape of rural Waikato farmlands, mountain ranges, bush and forest.

As an immigrant, I have felt the loss of familiar landscape keenly. Painting has helped me connect with New Zealand through the landscape in a manner profound to me.

Now, entertain yourself by going to the following site and reading the hysterically funny and completely non-sensical artists statements , the very kind I rant and rave about, and look carefully at the next exhibition you happen to stumble upon...perhaps you find a gem!


I need a drink, now.


  1. I always think that if the art needs explaining that badly that the artist has really missed the point of expressing themselves through their art...I NEVER feel that when I see your paintings - keep up the good work! :)

    1. Thanks! I think I was a little hard on those who WANT to explain their work. That's cool. My beef lies with the bullshitters and verbal grandstanders and those who promote that nonsense.I am glad you enjoy my work!


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