EXHIBITIONS, HEROES & OTHER THINGS

Heroes are important because a 'hero', an erudite one, an adventurer or a rock star might stir another to do something that that other had not thought of doing. This web site is a result of 'not thought of doing' that I hope you enjoy,

When I was very young I had three heroes - my father and my two older brothers. My mother was not a 'hero'; she was a mother and in those days mothers were mostly regarded as 'angels' in the house as they ministered to all the womanly duties designated by the hang-over of Victorian mores that sailed with our forebears to Australia a couple of hundred years ago. So she sang and played the piano; she kept the house comfortable and meticulously clean; she taught me how to make butter from the thick cream that set overnight on the jugs of rich jersey milk my father had coerced from the cows the previous day and she made memorable 12 egg sponge cakes that rose like clouds in the Arga stove. In retrospect I realize that she was a heroine, but unsung and taken for granted as was the norm.

Then in my teens my range of heroes widened to embrace various saints, ancient politicians like Pericles and rock stars such as Buddy Holly and later Neil Diamond. As you can see my markers appear totally unconnected and scattered in an aimless nothing going nowhere in particular and not even suggesting any accidental collision.

By now you must be wondering why I'm writing all this. Well, one night I was sitting on the verandah watching the mountains to the west put on evening clothes and I was thinking of heroes. I am now much older and I've discovered young heroes.

So thanks to the immediacy of knowledge shopping available on the web I grabbed my iPad and started surfing.

Recently I read 'Riding the Train In Japan' by Patrick Holland, and his ability to wash a page with words to evoke a sense of otherworldly place filled me with admiration. 

Patrick reflects on himself as an apparition – ‘a weird premonition of the fate of the modern and supermodern traveller: to be everywhere and nowhere at once, and, at last, to lose himself’. His travels through the cemeteries, the monasteries, the deserts, the mountains and the cities of Asia exude mists, winds, rain, heat, intense cold and a sense of spiritual isolation. A search for Paradise.

Some years ago my son had travelled the old Silk Road but I had never really sensed the place from brief spoken words son to mother. But now I have a sense of the Gobi Desert and China albeit an encounter on a page but, like a painting, it has left an image in my mind that I shall revisit from time to time thanks to a young man from Queensland.

After having visited a couple of 'Patrick' pages on the web I decided to see what two other extraordinary young men were doing. Remember earlier I mentioned Pericles? Well, I've always loved Ancient History and Michael Scott has a deep well of ancient knowledge in his head that is alluring and profound. I'm excited to have found his work and also intrigued to note his interest in the connection between image and text. For me that opens up an avenue of discovery and interest that I've been traveling for quite a few years.

And talking of traveling brings me to my next young hero who has the ability and knowledge to take us into space and the wonders of the world with the ease and charm like Buddy Holly and Neil Diamond whose songs took me out of self so many years ago. Hence I was not surprised to find that Brian Cox once played keyboard in his own band. This was a pleasant surprise and I was eager to find out more so I continued surfing on the web until I hit a 'rock'.

That rock was a phrase I read, a few words that opened up a void I've been trying to bridge throughout my teaching life. So here are the words written about Brian Cox by Kathy Guest, reporter for The Independent (5.3.2011): "He says he has no regrets about choosing a career where he uses his brain rather than his musical talent".

Of course we all have our own thoughts about the old saying "hands on, brain off" that has been around for as long as I can remember. But for some people in various parts of the world there is a different view.

Anyway, I stopped surfing and went to bed with a question resurfacing in my brain. Well, not exactly a question but a need to revisit the research I've done regarding how we come to know something. I wrote a tome on the stuff over a decade ago so I feel as though I'd be letting the side down if I didn't have a few words to say about an holistic approach to experience rather than accepting that brain and body are separate entities. Browse through the papers I presented at various coferences under the menu Professional Papers or contact JCU, Townsville, Queensland, for a look at my thesis.

With respect to heroes ancient and current I offer ideas in my exhibition work that might enrich the 'stew' so to speak. I wish to point out that such ideas did not develop alone but landed in my head like seeds scattered on the wind. I just happened to be actively engaged in arts education during the 1980s to early 2000s so the debate about the status of visual art, music and drama in education was flourishing although the 3 Rs were well in the lead.

In retrospect it was an exciting time. Art educators were attending annual conferences within Australia and overseas and our profile was increasing during the years of the Keating Government as money was made available to the separate arts disciplines. But then the Government changed, money changed direction and the discrete entities of Visual Art, Music and Drama were banded together under the encompassing cloak title of Arts.

However, by that time I was well on my way into the political educational debate. Publishing the written word was compulsory and so I wrote, published and presented papers, many of which you can read on this site under the dropdown menu Professional Papers.

But, as a practicing visual artist I needed to 'paint my talk' and so I made extensive field trips and exhibited throughout Australia.

Most of my work is now housed in state and private collections but I'd kept a pictorial record in slides and colour photographs that I salvaged out of the garage some weeks ago. The rats had been viewing them so the job of transferring to digital format has been a challenge. Nevertheless, you may now view the bulk of my work on this site according to the title menus that have drop down menus to look at the images. Much time has passed and I've forgotten some details such as type of paper, exact size and I've had difficulty deciphering some dates, but I hope you can get an idea that 'hands on' does entail an enormous amount of work by brain and body as one unit.

Going back to heroes you can see that a 'hero', a traveller, a learned one or a rock star might stir another to do something that that other (in this case, me) had not thought of doing. As I said at the beginning, this web site is a result of 'not thought of doing' - until I hit a 'rock' that made me rethink.

Karen