How to begin an indoor mist

Cathy was right - this place is so different from Hong Kong. On my first day I realized I was scared of leaving my apartment. I'm not used to that feeling. I think I'm scared because there's so much I am unable to define, so much I can't categorize.

studio window

Summer Palace

It is a truly unique city. I could love it here, if I could speak and if I could work I could be happy. On my second day things changed and I began to remember how travel alone. So I rode my bike to the station and caught a train to the Summer Palace and it was beautiful and sacred and tacky and vile all at once. What a difference it makes to catch a train, the city opens up and you  begin to find your rhythm. The beginnings of a rhythm only for you, between yourself and the city.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

This is like nowhere I've ever been, people seldom smile and I suck at Chinese. I live in a dusty village with tiny shops, convenience stores and wet markets, I ride my bike around and I love being scared on the road, learning to adapt. I love the Chinese music carried on a breeze from tinny shop-side speakers and I love the shop that plays Backstreet Boys back-to-back.

Fei Jia Cun

I have never been in a new place without a fellow explorer. That scares me more than I thought it would. I miss my companion so much.

But I will find my bearings. I will make the work. I know I can do it - now all that's left to do is do it.

Morning Mist 2

Model Citizens and the Importance of Exhibiting

Where to begin after a painting stasis? My friend Helani recently put together a zine - funny and sad in parts. "Stuck for an idea". That really rang true!

I have been concentrating on two activities in the past month. Painting and packing, which don't really go hand in hand. Packing is melancholic and comforting but I like my studio (my bedroom) to be properly organized. Not clean, but tidy, everything should sit comfortably in its place. Now, though,  there are boxes everywhere. To begin work in this environment is overwhelming, but it is so good to be painting again. I have been making work here and there for this show and that, but I realised the other day that I haven't actually painted since Nooks and Crannies. I have missed it. And I am rediscovering that feeling of being lost on a blank canvas. Every time you begin a new painting you re-learn how to paint. The act of painting is not simply an execution of learned skills, it's a dynamic and ongoing response to the subject and materials. You fight, resolve problems, enjoy the moments when the material seems to work on its own, you penetrate the object as it penetrates you. It is deeply personal, it is hurtful, it is ecstasy.

In other words it has been nice to remember this process. It has also reminded me of the process - the event - of the gallery. I am glad whenever I can show. Over coffee a friend of mine told me she didn't want to take part in shmoozing, the self aggrandising  that is so much a part of exhibiting, and so apart from anything meaningful or artful. This is an inevitable part of exhibiting. But to exhibit is also part of the process of art making. The event doesn't cease when the production of work stops but continues into the gallery space - a space for viewing and experiencing. This interaction is not between the artist and the work, it's between the viewer and the work. I have experienced real clarity when viewing exhibited work. Like Suzanne Moss' paintings, which shimmer and shift optically and spatially - it's important that they be seen, it is vital, a part of the process. That experience travels with me now, just as the mountains and the mists of Canberra do.

This work was for a show called Model Citizens. It is a lot of fun making again, and showing. Ahh, the shenanigans. I will be starting an ongoing project soon, and I'll use this space to tease out thoughts and ideas. Shortly I will be leaving crossroadz and leaving Australia to spend some time in Hong Kong! There will be a blog about all the comings and goings which will be set up soon. I will link to it when it is ready.

The winding little rivers of Hong Kong.

A Place to Rest, A Place to Run

Why This Blog? A place to illustrate early thoughts, and a place to rest.

When I started Surface Objects I had no real intention for what it would be. As it went on, its function changed again and again. At the best of times Surface Objects was my second visual diary. A place to air ideas - out in the open -  without the demand of presenting finished work. I really believe  you can do that with a blog, as opposed to a professional website. It's what the medium is built for! (sometimes).  That's what I want Surface Objects to be again. So I am relaunching it as a blog that will be a place for thoughts to rest, where I can take a step back to view things in a new light.



I have moved some of the older posts from here to an archive. I was contemplating removing them entirely, but looking back over the old, single sentenced, oddly phrased verse I decided against a mass deletion. Like finding an old diary, reading through the posts was surprising and insightful. And odd... and occasionally deeply embarrassing. But I have kept them, they are archived away now because they were made with a different purpose, but if nothing else I need to be honest with myself.  Go read them, GO! Some posts are pretty good.

Forest Out the Back

Surface Objects is going to be one of two blogs I intend to use over the next little while. The second will be about a grotto I will be living in. I'll link to it once it has been set up. This space will have a wider scope, the second will be for a specific topic. But more on that in a little while.

It is good to be back. I have missed you precious.

Nooks and Crannies - 2012

It's been a while since an update, and it's bad when a blog stagnates. I have been busy for a couple of weeks on a show I've decided to call Nooks and Crannies, which I have been able to do as part of the Canberra Contemporary Art Space residency program. (Which incidentally has been truly wonderful and enjoyable.)  The show opens on the 16th of February.

I'd like to think all the work, this learning, I've been doing this year is taking its next step. The show will be a part of the work, too, and as this is my first solo show, I'm actually quite curious as to how the work will change and what it might mean come the time when it all goes up on the walls.

I've also been working towards Blaze 6, the annual show which is the culmination of the entire CCAS residency program. I'll leave that for another update, just be sure to get there because it is always a fab show.

Speaking of CCAS, the 2012 residents are about to begin. I'll be keeping an eye out. My residency is coming to an end and I have had to move out of my studio, which I've really become attached to. I try not to be sentimental about these things, but that is ultimately futile. The studio, like nature and landscape, helps form my thoughts and ideas. It is a facet of my extended mind. It's been a melancholic afternoon.

I have some planed updates including new years resolutions (it's already February for goodness sake) and some more Blaze details but I'm still working on things leading up to the opening so I might be quiet for a time. 2012 feels like it will be a surprising and unusual year. In all the right ways.


I don't want to segregate art making form the rest of my life; I don't want art to be confined to one room any more. I want to approach my life as I approach art. I want to approach art as I approach my life. Art is a result of movement, I like to think about my movements as I work. It is a part of the work, it is called the work. But movements that occur outside the studio are important, too.

Movements I enjoy -

- walking up a hil

- delicate, clumsy footfalls when descending down a loose path

- cutting small letters from a block of das

- gluing vegetable alphabet letters to paper

- drawing lines with felt tipped textas

- chopping veggies into cubes

I am planing to make a cube of multiple segments that will slot together. I made the mold for it today out of MDF. When it is done it will fit between two hands.