Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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HomeVolume 28Chronicle of time on canvas

Chronicle of time on canvas


Responding to my immediate environment, a chronicle of my time, is the intention of this series about my paintings.

They are mostly reconstructions of events, poised between fact and fiction and presented chronologically like excerpts from a large format visual journal.

Of the 300 or more works, One History Rolling (first version, 1987, pictuerd at top) is one of my favourites.

“Gotta keep history rolling, young fella.”

With those words senior man, Edward Arranye Johnson encouraged me to make paintings and drawings that might reach a broader public.

“Keep the welcome line open,” he mused, as well he might as his camp and country were hidden from mainstream and in urgent need of attention.

I set the painting at the Telegraph Station, knowing that a century earlier, Frank Gillen had attended ceremonies there when in charge. Having befriended Melbourne-based anthropologist, Baldwin Spencer, during the 1894 Horn Expedition, he later helped facilitate ceremonies for Spencer’s camera.

Arranye Johnson stands midpoint. Xavier Neal, Robert Ryder and Jude Johnson are to his right. Noelly Johnson alerts us to something off screen. Some young kids, in ceremonial formation (quoted from a Charles Mountford’s 1948, Brown Men and Red Sand) are barely visible on the right.

This was my first work using pointillism’s atomistic brushing to amplify the light.


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