The Recreation Fisher series of works are recent examples from my ongoing succession of environmentally dubious carbon capture and storage drawings. Made by applying candle soot onto the drawing surface, capturing carbon that would otherwise combine with oxygen in the combustion process to form carbon dioxide, these works highlight the fallacy of industrial carbon fixation by linking it an impotent attempt to overcome the environmental impact of my art practice.
The works in this series depict various species of water bird nesting on inflatable devices initially intended for human recreation. In what kind of future climate altered world would these kitsch liferafts become a viable breeding environment? Is this a display of opportunistic adaption or have these inflatable nesting sites been distributed by remorseful humans as a surreal replacement for lost habitat?
Some time in the mid 1990’s I was walking near my home when a young boy rode past me on a bmx. Hanging from his handlebars was a Magic Tree (now known as Little Tree) car air freshener. I remember bursting into instant laughter at the absurdity of this encounter, at the implausible impact one small air freshener could have in an open space. Obviously infusing the world with a fresh pine scent was not the boys aim, especially as the Magic Tree was likely old, possibly discarded by an older family member. At that time embellishing your bike with found objects was not unusual, but this boy’s intervention has always stayed with me and inspired several artworks over the years. There is something in these little car air fresheners that represents our societies relationship to the natural world. Despite every aspect of these things being artificial their cliché tree form still attempts to link them to the natural world and the company’s bold insistence that the very first trees were inspired by the aromatic oils in Canadian Pine forests. The importance of this tree shape is exemplified by the company’s active litigation in protecting it as part of the product patent. But the continued use of this tree form in a product made exclusively for motor vehicles borders on the oxymoronic in a time of global warming. The Natural Selection series of soot drawings reference the incongruous relationships humans have with the natural world in the context of a changing climate.
No More Free Art is the working title for a new body of work inspired by my perceived view that the arts community, specifically individual artists, are heavily subsidising the consumption of visual art in Australia. The work seeks to challenge the apparent acceptance that art should be funded by a sector of the community that can least afford it.
No more Free Art will introduce pay per view capabilities by integrating coin operated mechanisms. Early work has focused on producing display cabinets which require a $1 coin to be inserted to view the artwork inside the cabinet for 30 seconds. It is my aim to disrupt established patterns of art consumption. By requiring the viewer to pay for their “cultural entertainment” I want them to consider their commitment to supporting the arts and artists. Is it OK to freely consume art subsidised by an artist whose income is likely to be considerably less than their own?
Future coin operated kinetic artworks are being planned but production has been halted until the transition to a cashless economy is complete.