My work is a personal response to memory and experiences associated with spending a large part of my life immersed in rural environments. My paintings are not an attempt to elevate, idealize, or romanticize the rural, but rather a means of exploring the notion of what it is, and what it may mean to be a 'local', and developing a visual language to convey this. New Zealand has a rich and varied history of landscape painting yet I feel little has been attempted within the visual arts to explore issues of localized rural experience and landscape. Historically New Zealand landscape painting depicts 'visiting the landscape' with all its implied transferral of 'Urban Experience', - a romanticizing exercise.
My most recent series of works have dealt with the experience of working with beef cattle. Taking a pragmatic rather than romantic approach, the animals have become objects of intense scrutiny as opposed to the traditional 'prop' for a European landscape. The Field Study series of works have seen the removal of background, with the object becoming a landscape within themselves. The installation of four large black and white works on opposing walls at the McPherson Gallery (September 2001) had the effect of placing the viewer within the landscape and forcing a degree of scrutiny many would be unfamiliar (if not uncomfortable) with - the farmer is continually visually assessing body/weight/condition of the animal, (and the land), - not a romantic visitor's gaze, but the reality of raising animals for slaughter and viewing land for production which necessitates objectification. My work is an attempt to capture this objectification, as well as negotiate ‘identity’ within the New Zealand landscape.