‘The Male Gaze’
The Letham Gallery
April 19 – May 1 2012
Paintings of women and the men who watch them. Nude curvy
women and worried guilty men.
Over the past year, there has been a gang of birds watching me. Sparrows, starlings, ducks and occasionally a fantail or Tui. They aren’t violent or threatening, they simply watch. It’s surveillance by nature. For example, I’ll be working at my desk and look up to see a black starling sitting on the windowsill watching me. He will look away, as if it is trying to pretend he wasn’t doing anything. Moments later I’ll sneak another glance and sure enough, the bird is watching again. Sometimes they will sit for over 5 minutes, which in bird time, is ages. I have drawn inspiration from the birds for this series of paintings. I have used the motif of the flying bird and tried to capture the frenzy and rush when they realise their cover is broken and fly away. I have let the birds wind their way into my work and let them tell the stories I often tell with figures.
This series of work covers many ideas and themes, some more cleverly hidden than others. I’ll let you enjoy the birds as much as I have. Perhaps while you are reading this and looking at my work a feathered spy will be watching you. Don’t panic.