This exhibition was inspired by two converging events in my life that resulted in a concept, a body of research and this series of works.
In early 2017 I was invited to submit paintings that would be used on the Royal Mail 2018 commemorative postage stamp. I failed to produce acceptable works because it is impossible for a poured paint artist to deliberately reproduce or replicate a work and the three months during which time I dreamt of world fame and riches, I tortured myself with on-going failure. Never the less, i found that I had actually produced some works that were fresh, beautiful and conceptually sound.
The concept I worked with was the“the last poppy standing” as a symbol of the young men who were wounded and died in those world wars. I was not intending to produce realistic representations of poppies but to express a broader idea that embraces a triumph of spirit despite damage and carnage. Whilst the works have an undeniable floral theme, they are damaged or wounded as if by schrapnel or gunshot. It was for this reason that the works were rejected by the Royal Mail.
Then on January 20th news started coming through about a rogue driver who had careened up Bourke Street Melbourne causing death and injury as he went. My daughter had been on her way to a job interview in Bourke Street and was bumped out of the way by another pedestrian just in time, rescuing a small child as she fell. She and I went back a couple of days later to lay flowers on the footpath outside the GPO building, an experience we both found intensely moving.
The resultant wall of floral tributes was a tangible representation of emotion; an expression of love, grief, shock and empathy. It was spontaneous and almost immediate. There was no planning or strategy involved, they evolved and grew without government intervention, planning permits or permission given. There were no rules or instructions it was a direct expression of the voice of the masses with more emotional power than any other means of mass communication.
This series seeks to express the power of the flower through a series of imagined works that appear suspended as if specimens in a museum display case. These are not gentle, pretty works but rather through colour and dramatic movement, they express the power of the flower to communicate the range of human emotions.