180 Degrees of What?
Over the next two years I’m planning to publish a portfolio of graphic art, roughly 180 pieces from the last 24 years or so. There’s a lot of it, so I’m going to do it in a series, say 7 or 8 images each month with minimal commentary and an interwoven treatment of many themes. It should be a lot of fun and may help you understand what I’ve been doing all this time.
Why 180? Why 24? Why 2 years or 24 months? These numbers obviously have powerful symbolic as well as practical (prosaic even) significance. By 180 I mean a complete about-face of the kind that might occur perhaps once in a lifetime, or twice if you’re lucky. Certainly it’s my first time. To me, such a change represents a realignment of universal polar opposites, a great swing of Yin to Yang and vice-versa.
In actual fact (this is the prosaic bit), 180 is just roughly how many pieces I’ve kept of the more portable (if not always durable) graphic art that I started doing after abandoning oil paint and the city of Adelaide (both historic dead ends) roughly 24 years ago.
That’s 24 years that these pieces have stayed with me, through earthquake and many other life-changing events, where so many framed and unframed pictures before and since have gone the ways of give and forget, through love, friendship and occasional patronage, to family, friends remembered and ever with us, to lovers and employers and ugly debt collectors, through Rimbaudian burnings and Rembrandtian slashings, for friendship, money, work, sex, or just a bed for the night.
Some got damp and fell to bits. Others were (gasp!) thrown away. But these 180 have stayed with me, not the moss but the forest that my rolling stone has gathered.
Actually it’s a bit less than 180, and a bit more than 24. But that’s OK because, on a practical level it gives me plenty of time to finish what’s missing, even at the relative snail’s pace of only 180 artworks rescued from oblivion in 24 years!
On a personal level, this is the same twenty-four years that I will have been with my one-time college stalker, now wife and life partner, who saw all this happen and had at times to clean up the mess,
Jody, I dedicate 180 DEGREES of 24 YEARS to you.
And so, my friends and family, will you join me in this bold adventure, this regularly updated entertainment made possible by the internet, as I turn the pages of a long and often apparently non-sequential life? Join me! as I point it back the other way, and pilot this mighty swing across the sky!
With much love, Michael.
Please note: These works are of enormous sentimental value. Some are in less than gallery condition. Most are not for sale. Private viewing : Contact Us
I don’t feel that I have anyone at all to acknowledge for inspiration or artistic leadership, unless like Brett Whiteley it is Vincent Van Gogh. But I never wanted to follow Vincent, he’s one of the reasons why I waited so long. And I wouldn’t ask Whiteley in case he kicked me down his stairs.
Well, here it is two-and-a-half years later and there’s 176 pieces hung on the wall; not 180, but there’s a few last minute things I could still do: beg my relatives to send me a snap of the pictures I gave them years ago; finish a portrait in oil pastels of our third son, young Zachary, before he leaves his childhood behind and makes this other project impossible; and finish an ink or dye of the house we are living in, one of the nicest places we’ve ever been.
So, on the natural assumption that I’ll never get around to these edges I guess we could say that the 180 Degrees project is now complete. Thank you so much for your patience, your very kind words, and your long commitments of friendship and family love over many years. I totally agree with all of you, even where you don’t agree with each other.
Now that the real objectives of the Backlogue are starting to emerge, may I invite you to continue to follow me, in serial and episodic form, as I unfold The Songs of the Small World and The Hunting of A Snark … here on these pages … if I ever get around to it ….
With even more love than before, Michael
26 December, 2013