We love your new Bushranger Series that’s here at Stockroom and find it very interesting how each ranger has it’s own personality. How did you go about capturing each individual personality and what is it about the rangers that keeps you coming back to them?
Bushrangers are a recurring image/theme for me, and part of our (Australia's) history and mythology. I am fascinated by the human need to categorise people, their actions and stories into various subsects, unconsciously and consciously.
Why? I ask...I learn about others by listening and sharing stories with others.
The choices probably reflect an in-built human need to have objects upon which we can project characteristics we admire, fear or long for.
The iconic Ned Kelly image is of great interest as it reflects, among others things, Australian attitudes to authority, social resilience and politics. He is a hero to some and a villain to others. While he is represented in images and stories that are symbolised by his armour, it seems to me that his humanity, his diversity, vulnerability, strength , fragility and humour escape attention.
This is a sign to me that he has been de-humanised for the sake of others and while I understand it, I was wanting to reinvigorate the humanity of the man. I wanted to do this because it is the best way to remember that we all need to look behind the stories to avoid demonising and rejecting those things we fear, or wanting those things that are worthwhile.
My bushrangers are layered with paint and marks, illustrative of complexity that can get lost in human personality. The portraits have high contrast to reflect the balance between good and evil. Often eyes are alert, but thoughts are unknown.
So, bushrangers are a vehicle for me to explore my thoughts, meaning and purpose in the world.