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A series of eight oil paintings featuring nests. Started in 2005 the series explores the effect of a highly realistic object on a surface that has no obvious connection to it as well as the artist's own psychic narrative. The nests tell their own stories – some with the incomplete or skeletal remains of their occupants. The paintings represent not only the beauty, architect, sense of order and purpose that these nests evoke but also the colossal indifference of nature toward human aims, morality and emotions.
My artistic inspiration has always come from the natural world. The landscape "Sandwick" was painted after a visit to the Shetland Islands. The other paintings in this group,apart from the still lives are all related to Northland New Zealand in particular Butler Bay near Mangonui. I was interested in creating dramatic, "operatic" scenes using the birds and fish of the area. The mangrove spikes and the flat background provided a static surface much like a blue screen on which the images could articulate themselves. The combination of an inert background that often bears little connection to the objects in the foreground has been a preoccupation in most of my paintings. This was carried to extreme in the nest series.
The slate paintings came about as a result of working at Highwic house in Auckland. The roof of the house, built in1863 for the Buckland family is covered in slate tiles. The tiles originated from the Penrhyn mine in Wales and came to New Zealand as ballast in sailing ships. The paintings, on tiles discarded in recent renovations, feature images of some of the plant, animal and insect life found on the exterior of the building and in the grounds. The mummified rats were found in an ancient rat trap in one of the outbuildings. Some of the tiles may have been on the roof for 150 years but the geological age of the material is in the region of 4 million years.