This site began as a personal exploration complementing my formal study and practice in visual arts. I have always been a writer, writing for a living as an academic for many years, and now writing fiction and memoirs (visit my companion site here). I have also written and published about art – drawing, painting, photography.
The Void has been a powerful meme in recent philosophy. I have described some of the ways in which the Void can be explored through contemporary art in my prize-winning essay on the work of Anne Judell here.
Although I published several academic studies and reviews on art – especially my paper on Neo Rauch* which was published in Germany and is widely cited – see below – I wanted to have an experiential knowledge of painting, and not just to write about painting. In 2014 and 2015 I undertook formal study in the Advanced Diploma in Visual Art at the Nepean Art and Design Centre. As part of my studio work I began an extended meditation on the role of time, memory and history based around my family’s house on the Hawkesbury River. I started a series of monochromes which I called The Drift. Where the Void implies an invisible depth from which creativity emerges, the Drift invites a meditation on movement through space and time, from generation to generation. I finished up angry with most of these paintings because they did not support my vision. I have never shown them outside the student context and recently destroyed many of them. It was a major mistake to paint in 20 x 20 inch square format. Squares are awful. I intend now to start the series again, still in monochrome but using other media in different formats and maybe on different supports.
Since 2013 I have lived mostly in the Blue Mountains, and of course I want to paint this amazing environment, but I do not aspire to the tried and tested landscape route. There are brilliant local landscape artists who capture the mountains in oils far better than I could ever do – most notably John Wilson and Warwick Fuller. Stunning realist work, brilliant in colour and tonality. I admire their work enormously, but I want to keep my focus on art as it intersects with history and ethnography. However the technical elements involved in painting realist Australian landscapes in oils have been compelling me more and more I’ve decided to take one of John Wilson’s workshops at the end of January 2019. Will report on that in a Post soon.
* NEO RAUCH is usually identified with the Leipzig School. Rauch present an astonishing body of semi-realist highly technically detailed large-scale paintings unlike anything else in recent Western art. I have written a long essay on Neo Rauch, published in a book on Collective Creativity, available on Academia.com at