There is nothing better as a painter to make paintings that upon completion are scheduled to be exhibited. Happily I am working on several new interiors; these, in addition to several older interiors will come together for the upcoming show, ‘The Interior of Home’ at May Space Gallery in Sydney opening on 7 August 2019.
For some reason it seems important to take a little time out of painting to reflect upon what I am doing. There is so much more to painting than applying paint on to a canvas or board. That may seem obvious but I find myself surprised at how much time it takes to do all that needs to be done. Sourcing and buying my materials. Buying, transporting and cutting the wood for my boards. Making, plaining and preparing my boards. Packing my work for transport. Taking my work to be photographed. Transporting work to the gallery. Writing artists statements. Applying for art prizes. Keeping my website up to date and running. And then there is all the time spent rectifying mistakes and doing things a second, third or fourth time because they simply do not work. Despite the scattered nature of these seemingly disconnected tasks, there is something mysteriously grounding in attending to all the stages of the work from start to exhibition. In a world that seems obsessed with efficiency and productivity, as a painter I deeply value working to my own rhythm and pace. While it is certainly not the most efficient way to proceed, it allows me to work intuitively and reflectively.
The paintings in my upcoming show are all of my homes, past and present. Home is a theme I return to. Starting with my current home, I am now working on paintings of a family home that my siblings recently sold. This home was a place I loved deeply and it was a house that reminds me of ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Siverstein. ‘The Giving Tree’ is a children’s book about a tree and a little boy. The story tells the tale of the tree giving to the boy throughout his life - initially a place to play, then apples to eat and sell for money, branches to build his house, its trunk to build a boat and finally its stump, as a place for the boy who has become an old man, to rest. The book depicts the relationship of the tree as the giver and the boy as the taker. True to the nature of a giver, the tree was always happiest in giving to the boy. Our family house was like the giving tree.
These paintings span fourteen years and include interiors that resonate with a feeling of security, familiarity, knowing, comfort, safety and connection. The structures we call home literally support and protect us. At home we relax and allow ourselves to be who we are. Home is our most intimate, private space. As I make these paintings, I realise we carry our homes inside us long after we leave. The gifts our homes give us expand with time and experience rather than diminish.
What significance does ‘home’ have for you?