A biography of painting - part 6

Return to painting

My interest in digital multimedia had been channeled into photographic based work. The idea of a photo as a part of a series was well known (See my references to Ruscha and Rooney). Generally these images were presented as a published book or as a matrix or line of images on the wall of a gallery. Occasionally you would have slide projections in galleries but like videos these were not very successful at the time. There was something weak about a video machine and television set sitting in the middle of an otherwise empty gallery.

Digital reproduction was something entirely different - Walter Benjamin's mechanical reproduction come of age. The computer allowed photos to be naturally seen in series.

[ Photos of the Thames at low tide. ]

[ The Edge of the Sky ]

Eventually I came to miss the art object, the tangible thing that you could put on your wall and encounter on a daily basis. It occured to me that meaningful art had lost its domesticity and had become captive to the spectacle of the public gallery or locked away in some superannuation fund vault as an investment.

What do normal people put on their walls?

So I thought I would make paintings that could sit well in people's homes without being soley decorative. So, with the help of a friend, we set up a shop/gallery space on High Street in Northcote and I made paintings I thought would serve this purpose and sell at a price that people could afford.

Between the decorative and the high art painting there is an enormous chasm. On the one hand the paintings are colourful but meaningless and on the other they are often simply too large and always very expensive. Artists know well that their careers are predicated on the curated public gallery exhibitions rather than pictures displayed on the walls behind sofas. It is a chasm that proved too difficult to bridge - for me at least.

[ Click here for art exhibited in 2009 ]


the pop up gallery in Northcote.The gallery shop in Northcote.

cubist lamp
Art object as domestic item.


A series of images that document the tourist kiosks in London made into a video. [ Click here to open YouTube]

When travelling on the London underground you often wonder where you are in relation to the above ground world. So I made this video juxtaposing images with the distinctive audio of the train.
[ Click here to open YouTube]