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

The Sky is Falling
The Sky is Falling
Oil on canvas
60 x 41 cm

Private Collection, exhibited at 2020 exhibition Painting the Screen at Nyisztor Studio, Palmyra, WA.

The work depicts someone gazing off into the distance while treading water in the ocean. The smallness of the figure amongst the vastness of the sky and ocean encourages a sense of contemplation. However, as we are unable to see any land in the scene we are also anxious about how far out the swimmer is, and what his overall purpose is. The space around the figure is distorted, with parts of the sky falling into the rough ocean waves, rising up to meet the sky.

This sense of ambiguity and anxiety about the swimmers purpose, combined with the fractured landscape acts as an analogy for the existential dread felt during the Covid19 period. A period which is marked by a new appreciation of borders amongst the continual anxiety felt by the changing climate. The idea of keeping afloat by any means in rough seas or risk drowning, characterises the nature of this anxiety.

More specifically, the subject matter is my Father, with the reference image taken by me at Mettams Pool in North Beach, where we have previously been snorkelling together. I believe that a lot of parent-child relationships are characterised by the child asking for advice and the parent providing guidance. As the experience of living through a worldwide pandemic is unprecedented in recent memory, I believe it would have been difficult for many in my Father’s position to provide guidance, and blindly lead without anxiety.