The suburbs around Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne Australia is the only suburban life I have ever known. Most Australians live either by the sea or in the city. Sometimes both the city and the beach, as in my case. I live in the metro Melbourne is a seaside suburb called the Mornington Peninsula. Many of Australia’s major cities are very close to the coast of Australia.
I have painted this quadtych series of suburbia during Stage 4 Covid-19 lockdown. This is how I have visually expressed my surroundings, through my art, during this unbelievable time in our lives.
The leafy eucalyptus suburbs are silent, peaceful, charming, and eerily empty of people and traffic. The only sound is the songs of our native birds.
This week all of these birds visited my very own backyard. We have had a surreal mild sunny still winter this year. Appropriately I have named each painting in honour of each of these four Australian birds.
1. Rosellas’Bend, Australia
2. Kookaburra Crescent, Australia
3. Galah Crossing, Australia
4. Magpie Drive, Australia
Welcome to the neighbourhood and have a great day Australia.
The Disappearance of the Australian Backyard
Living in one of Australia's seaside suburbs the traditional landscape has become an important subject matter for my artistic practice. The suburban sprawl has seen developers squeeze two story townhouses on smaller lots, at the expense of the "Traditional Australian Backyard". Homes are packed in and butted up against one another. There is a sense of loss, we are losing our backyards.
Nostalgic childhood memories of backyard birthday parties, barbeques, hills-hoists, swings, trampolines and picnics were all a part of growing up in the suburbs. We were encircled by nature, gardens, trees, vegetable patches and imagined adventures. All of this is slowly disappearing.
The Disappearance of the Australian Backyard series signifies this sense of loss. Working with a telescopic layering effect, using oil paints on canvas, within the constraints of the focusing circle, the construction and deconstruction of this space is my primary focus.
This body of work is a voyeuristic glimpse back to the something familiar, the personal space of the backyard which is slowly disappearing into distant memories.