Paintings > 2020 'It is Not Down in Any Map; True Places Never Are'

Oil on canvas
56 x 43 cm

Private Collection, exhibited at my 2020 solo show 'It is Not Down in Any Map; True Places Never Are', Stala Contemporary, Leederville, WA.

Watcher depicts an illuminated camping tent merging into a museum scene. The source photograph of the tent is from a personal camping trip to Coral Bay, in the North of Western Australia. The act of camping is often characterised by a more direct relationship with nature; The tent is designed to be set up in remote areas, where a closeness to and relationship with nature is encouraged. The act of camping also invokes a sense of hierarchy in the relationship to material things, where their importance become itemised by their weight, size, and utility.

The tent is juxtaposed with a scene from the Academy of Taxidermy in Guildford. An encased skeleton sits beside a taxidermied Antelope and Reindeer. The standard museum experience is designed to be educational and overall valuable. However, the experience is also characterised by an alienation to and how nature should be understood; A hierarchical relationship of control between humans and animals exists in this context. As the title Watcher suggests, humanity should place a stronger emphasis on coexisting and observing, rather than impacting. In recent years there has been a shift towards increased conservation and a reduction in the exploitation of animals for human gain. Watcher references this hope of coexistence, and the human race returning to nature.