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The battle plan is drawn and underway! The compositions are complete, the what-goes-where-on-what is done. The ingredients have been gathered and sorted. Materials from 2 sources - the burnt forest and hardware stores - are now being transformed from 'stuff' into artworks for the November 2016 exhibition, Control Point.

These sources represent the contrast of destruction and construction: Nature out of line on one hand, and orderly displays on the other. I do love hardwares and showrooms. I'm fascinated by all the swatches and samples of artificial surfaces and textures lined up in rows, and love the irony of those setting out to mimic and reference the natural world; plastic pretending to be wood, paper to be stone. And colour charts and paint samples. The visible light spectrum is organised for our convenience into hues, tints and shades. Colours are given names - some completely bewildering - and perhaps most with a reference to the natural world. And so landscape, as in art, becomes the vehicle for our emotions: green = forest = 'calming'.

Yes, insert ironic picture.

The clash and swing between order and chaos is also playing out

beautifully in the artworks' progress as it does in the real world: being in control, then giving it up, working to a rigid plan, then letting go. There's a saying I once heard which is so apt so often: "painting is a battle between the artist and the painting - and hopefully the painting will win". My 'battle' is quietly raging on surfaces large and small, from doors to paint sample cards, and with surfaces both readymade and newly made. I've had success turning some familiar domestic materials such as shade-cloth into mock samples with ash and charred earth from the fire-ground. Chance effects are welcomed, for example from errant bits of charcoal, and have made for some unexpected textures...glad to say the 'paintings' are winning!

And then the swing back to order: these different surfaces created from the chaos of burnt debris, are cropped and cut to size, sliced and diced into tiles to form orderly patterned backgrounds for the imagery of ash-clouds. Control takes over... for now.

More posts to follow...

Control Point will be on from November 10 to December 10 2016 at the Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, less than an hour south of Perth, WA. It is funded by the WA Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts.

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