’30 Days of Winter’, Day 4
A friend Suzanne and I were talking about life and art and other things, including nudity, and how despite the fact that it’s our natural state, you rarely see too many other people naked (unless you live at a nudist colony or near a nude beach or have a far more exciting life than most people).
Suzanne said, “It’s like we are all always constantly wearing this mask to hide ourselves”.
I said, “well we also need to keep warm.”
She said, “Yes but our nakedness is still there under our clothes and I like to think of that as a good thing, as a precious thing. When you think of it like that, you can realise how pleasurable it is to reveal that precious thing sometimes.”
That got me thinking. I said, “You mean like a precious piece of jewellery that is revealed on certain occasions?”
She said, “Yes, exactly.”
I then mentioned that I had an old box that a ring came in and was trying to think of a use of it for an art project. Her eyes lit up, and she proposed to pose nude for a photograph, which could thus be placed in this box as a precious item.
A lightbulb lit up and we decided we’d try it, with Suzanne modelling nude but with a mask held over part of her face, the opposite of what occurs when we walk down the street with our face exposed.
It’s unusual, it’s strange, it’s rather precious.
’30 Days of Winter’, Day 3
The art of the fridge magnet is undervalued, I believe. There is a particular type of fridge magnet common in Australia; small clear-plastic/resin(?)-coated ones with (usually) brightly-coloured semi-cartoon images on them, depicting scenes or emblematic features of the particular town or region they are commemorating.
These can be found in giftshops and service stations and general stores and on fridges all over Australia. To me, they seem to capture a lost utopia, an ideal vision of a particular place captured in time and frozen in miniature; the little fisherman casting his line on a golden beach, a sawmiller standing on cartoon logs, a mysterious gold miner depicted against the backdrop of the diggings.
In an Australian sense, I feel these utopic representations are a symbol of a striving to give the places depicted a deeper history, to officially stake a claim for the European connection to the land. These ideal visions look to sink roots into the country and offer a “knockabout” and easily digested snapshot of how a particular area sees itself (and how it wants itself to be seen).
But I can’t help thinking that behind a lot of that sentiment, behind those sunny smiles on sunny shores, lies a darker tone, one that seeks to subjugate that land and place, assert control over it, in the face of the fact that at a fundamental level, that land and the people who once “owned” it had to be conquered.
That idea, combined with the fact that a vision of utopia necessarily excludes day-to-day reality and dreary thoughts of taking the rubbish out and/or getting skin cancer, makes me see these magnets in a very different light to what I am sure their makers intended. And who made them anyway?
Oh, they’re just fun fridge magnets! Get over it!
Here is an alternative reading of them, of the history of such places, regardless.
This video was based on these some of these images, below, which were created out of enlargements of actual fridge magnets. These enlargements were bonded to plyboard with resin, painted in parts and coated in resin. I see this project as opening up the images on the magnets and delving into them, finding the shadows behind the scenes, the sound behind the silence of the picture postcard depictions. Etcetera.
So … colour print on plyboard, acrylic paint, resin. Approx 40cm X 25cm.
’30 Days of Winter’, Day 2
‘Shark Bay Swim’
The ocean around Shark Bay in South Australia is home to one of the largest concentrations of Great White Sharks in the world. Not far down the road is the Great White Shark Museum and many surfers, divers and swimmers have had “encounters” with the creatures.
Lonely, inhospitable, the wide Australian malevolence writ large; best to turn back, go home, watch television and for god’s sake, don’t go in the water. Alone.
’30 Days of Winter’, Day 1
This is a four-piece series of paintings which I have titled, for some reason, ‘Small-scapes”.
It is inspired by the arid Australian landscape, specifically based on a series of photographs I took whilst on trips to western NSW in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Done with immediacy and simple technique, the naïveté is intended.
Acrylic paint, oil paint, oil stick and pen ink on found plastic, approx 10cm x 20cm.
This is the first instalment in an intended 30-day project, during which I aim to make/complete at least one artwork per day, in a project itself titled “30 Days of Winter” . See the outline of that here …
On cold February nights in Finland
I slept with the curtains wide open
for the first few weeks.
By the light of a moon or
just the sheer bright
whiteness of the snow
which covered the ground
and hung in the trees,
I was able to look out
at the black branches
moving in the breeze
as the edge of storm swept in
from Siberia and Europe froze.
But February moved on
and the days began to dawn sunny
and walks down slip-ice roads
activity in the night,
movement occurring across the fields,
the trackmarks on unknown animals
making unknown progress to
It was in those later weeks that
I closed my curtains at night,
other unknown footsteps
possibly being seen
beneath my window sill.
My friend Tamara Don is living in Paris, where she is working as, among other things, a translator. And on my recent visit to the City of Light, she and I discussed the idea of translating some of my poems from English into French. Needless to say, I was excited by this prospect and thus we agreed to begin working on series of such translations together.
It is coming along nicely and I find the results very interesting … I’d never really thought about how hard translating poetry might be, the need to balance the correct intended nuance with the nuance of another language, plus trying to convey the rhythm of the sentences etcetera.
Anyway, as I said, it is coming along, and Tamara is doing a great job. So great in fact, there are plans to translate some of my poems into a third language. I shall leave that undisclosed for now, but for the moment, here are a couple of the initial translations.
First in English
Hall Street by Adam Gibson ©
Killing time on Hall Street
the lost heart of Bondi
the commercial strip of
things getting done
expert on everything
after just one week
And then in French
Hall Street by Adam Gibson ©
Tuer le temps à Hall Street
le centre oublié de Bondi
la zone commerciale où
les tâches sont accomplies
et les routards
sont experts en toutes choses
après une petite semaine
And another one…
Beware by Adam Gibson ©
beware of cars with hats behind the back seat
beware of girls with hip-length hair
beware of days with still still mornings
beware of funk bands
beware of those who are silent on politics
beware of journalists
beware of ‘team players’
beware of the westerly
beware of nylon shower curtains that stick to your shins
beware of those who don’t leave messages on answering machines
beware of moths
beware of “Ciao”
beware of endings
beware of full stops (.)
And then in French…
Prenez garde by Adam Gibson ©
gare aux voitures qui cachent des chapeaux à l’arrière
gare aux filles dont les cheveux tombent jusqu’à la taille
gare aux journées qui commencent par des matinées trop tranquilles
gare aux groupes de funk
gare aux politiquement silencieux
gare aux journalistes
gare à ceux qui ont ‘l’esprit d’équipe’
gare aux vents de l’ouest
gare aux rideaux de douche en nylon qui collent aux jambes
gare à ceux qui ne laissent jamais de messages sur les répondeurs
gare aux mites
gare aux « Ciao »
gare aux fins
gare aux points (.)
That is it for now, but stay tuned for more updates soon.