North Gallery, Melbourne
Dec 1-15, 2023
I called out, I called out
Right across the sea
But the echo comes back in, dear
And nothing is for free¹
Afterthought, Aftershock, Aftereffects, Aftershave, Aftertaste, Afternoon, Afterbirth, Afterworld, Afterlife, Afterglow, Afterward, Afterwords, After time, Aftermath, After painting, After AI.
I made this suite of paintings in 2016 during a studio residency in Berlin. They were from analogue photographs that I collected from a flea market. There is a subtle beauty to making paintings in a foreign city from discarded personal images from strangers that had never been digitised. Like the act of painting itself, images standing out of and alongside time.
Seven years later, I retrieved the works from storage in North Queensland where I grew up. Excavating a time capsule, exhuming a flood of images.
When I close my eyes I see luminescent lines and fields of colour, the outline of your smile, the fields where we rest our heads, the trace of sunflowers, the booming bass lines in dark rooms, the scent of your cologne smudged with sweat, the cathedral in the background turning a smeared ash colour through tears, the acid tang of pickles, cycling home while sunbeams dance through conifers.
The three new paintings in the adjacent room are works painted digitally in response to these works. Time shifts sideways. History paintings for now.
To love gained and loves lost.
I fell to pieces.
And it’s alright now.
And it’s alright now.¹
1. Nick Cave, Skeleton Tree, Released Sept 9, 2016.