"I believe art should reflect the nature of reality, and the reality of nature'
I wrote these words in 1989 for launch of my book 'Byron Portfolio' and they still ring true for me.
The theme of 'sense of place' recurs time and again in my work - I cannot escape the pull of the natural world.
The Australian landscape – is a subject area that has been neglected by decades of artists and curators, relegated to the ‘Sunday Painter’ syndrome. When it is given scant attention it emerges stripped, scoured and dusty – in an overwhelmingly ‘male’ viewpoint of a harsh unforgiving land. When I walk through major galleries of this nation – I strain to recognise the beauty and colour, the warmth and richness and diversity of terrain that I have studied and depicted.
There are no vast collections of Heathland, Rainforests, and Coastal scrub in the very places where so many people go to see their world reflected back to them through an artists filter.
Why is this so?
Why is the desert landscape alone considered the only worthwhile, mystical experience? Generations of (mostly) male artists have trekked and driven and flown across vast distances of the inland- and produced paintings of startling similarity.
The desert is beautiful in colour and form – but as long as we turn our eyes to the inland for our mystical connection with the land, we will overlook and destroy what we are living in at this moment – along the seashore, through the heath, into the rainforests, even in our townscapes. If as artists we prefer the banality of the obviously dramatic – we are failing to preserve what is precious in our ever-expanding suburban environments.
In all my work I have brought my'inner vision' - that of humbled awe in the face of something far greater than my artistic ego, the glory of the natural landscape and atmosphere.
Sometimes that vision telescopes down to the minutiae of natural forms, the forest floor underfoot, the simple beauty of leaves, flowers and vegetables .
Sometimes I lift up my head and am overwhelmed by the vastness, the endless ocean, the cloud filled panorama of sky.
Many artists have trodden this path before me; I see many of my peers and contemporaries alongside. I am happy to be in the ranks of what I believe to be a viable and just role for an artist in a modern world- depicting the natural miracles that occur outside our doors everyday.