In October / November this year, I’m heading back to Fern Street Gallery to exhibit the next body of work MASTER PEACE_alchemy. Along side this exhibit will be some pieces from MESSIAH and the new release , MESSIAH the book , a companion book, exploring each piece and how this body of work came about .
MESSIAH was my first major body of work and my fist solo exhibit. It took me 2 years to complete. Each frame was hand made and each canvas stretched by me in raw canvas. The only canvas I gessoed was DEEP, the black on black piece. And in black gesso , no less. Because of the oil paint used on REVELATION , white on white , a reasonably strong layer of acrylic paint went down in parts but certainly the raw canvas left revealed, was part of the meaning of that painting.
In June 2020 my family and I moved 12 minutes down the road from Berry NSW , to a small beachside village. This big beautiful house had space for a paint studio. I’d been painting more seriously since 2017 , small scale water colours, dabbling in acrylics and oils, but I had no clue what I was doing. It just made me feel good. That’s all I knew . And clearly all the years of art being the companion to my music career in jazz , blues and gospel, was a solid background to jump from. It was an emotional time. The day we moved, my step father passed away. 2 years previously I’d buried my mother and my dad would follow in 2022. It was a new era. I’m glad I had painting and this big vision to keep me going.
Seeings I never had the opportunity to go to college or university , I decided I was going to put myself through a kind of self styled art school. The money I would have spent on school fees , I’d spend on materials. I could see the art teachers all had large rolls of canvas in their studios – rolls of every kind. Gessoed , raw, linen, canvas – I’d get one too. I ordered a roll of canvas. When that thing showed up on my doorstep I thought , ‘what the heck have you done’ ! It was 2 and 1/2 metres wide and 30 metres long. So with that much flesh in the game it was time to learn how to build frames and stretch them. What else was I gonna do with 30 meters of canvas ! It was so exciting. I was off !
And that was the start of MESSIAH. I was studying techniques and learning about paint, mediums, substrates and pigments and experimenting with my style , my voice. Something that I’ve really not settled on yet. But I found a way to paint abstract expressionist art that meant something to me.
The exhibit was one of the most exciting and huge undertakings I’ve ever ventured into. I had produced many music shows before so I had a bit of a idea how to put an event on. I looked to those who’d gone before me in the ART world and followed in their footsteps. One of the things I most loved was talking to collectors and appreciators who came to wander the gallery. ‘You really should put out a book’, I’d hear as I told them the story of how the series was born. Each painting was so unique , yet they all hung together as one. 7 paintings , each 1 meter square , 1 colour per canvas and all the many hues , textures and transparencies, along with the compositional choices involved. It made for a powerful sight.
On this website there is an entire page dedicated to the MESSIAH series and you can find out more about the paintings, prints and apparel there. The book will contain that information plus a whole lot more – behind the scenes, the process and the lead up and what’s going on now.
MESSIAH the book , will be on sale at Fern Street Gallery Gerringong NSW from Monday October 23rd till Sunday November 5. 2023