In 2001 I was greatly impressed by the exhibition Monet & Japan at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, especially by the Japanese works and in particular by the huge screen-painting Rough Seas attributed to the 17thC painter Tawaraya Sotatsu. In this Sublime work, ' stylized waves are set off against a shimmering field of gold', writes Gary Hickey in his catalogue-essay 'Waves of Influence'.
my own point of view his essay-title has proved highly appropriate,
as this particular work lies directly behind the twenty-four 'Wave'
images which I worked on in the following months.
'solid' opaque acrylic paints on canvas proved disappointingly heavy
and inert, most of these images have been painted using an airbrush
and a stencil; except for four made up entirely of collaged pastel-papers.
Though they are minute compared with Sotatsu's enormous screen, and
calm where his is stormy, I hope that they will have an understated
Japanese 'feel' to them, as well as a movement and a spatial depth despite
the apparently simple organization.
can well imagine that Sotatsu's work is informed by Zen mysticism. The
'Lunch-Bar' images are urban and everyday, but likewise carry a reminder
of 'eternal' time in being photographed at the seven Canonical Hours
of prayer (the 'Divine Office') appointed for each day in Christian
institutions. We tend to overlook such humdrum premises as our innumerable
deli's and lunch-bars, but each is different and unique and repays loving
and detailed attention.
Much of my work has been intended as a celebration of everyday West Australian life, not without its mystical aspects. Just as waves (the beach, the surf, etc.) and lunch-bars are part of our everyday experience, so too is our Australian National Flag: which is perhaps also like them visually over-familiar. My ten small 'Flags' and the three large ones are intended as a celebration of the joie-de-vivre which on the whole characterizes everyday Australian life, also as an evocation of the brilliant and unsurpassable West Australian light.
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