|Harry Kent, Whiteley blue, |
ink and pastel on paper, 59x42cm
I sometimes imagine BW as a larrikin schoolboy, clowning down the back of the class. I imagine his easy-going Aussie charm and winning ways hiding the Black Dog of depression from view.
I picture him in my mind's eye painting with exuberant flair, music up full bore, alcohol subduing the intimidation of a blank canvas.
I see him lost in a reverie of charcoal and paint, sailing close to Nirvana. There was Zen in the making of a mark. And i picture him seek for meaning in the traces his charcoal made, pondering from whence the sublime curves came. He felt a carrier of metaphysical messages, a shaman seer.
Yet i'm also left feeling that he could never quite be a believer.
Instead, a permanent seeker. Seeking a way in. A way out.
I'm not a biographer. I am a visual artist. I am not reviewing the life of Brett Whiteley. I am merely responding to his art and to what i've seen and read and heard about him. It is this impression, my own personal impression (what other can i have?) that informs the images i make.
They are not intended to be great physical likenesses. Nor accurate depictions of the personality his acquaintances and those close to him once knew (indeed, this work is as much inspired by German Expressionist woodcuts).
Rather, the images in this series are the creative products of my understanding (flawed as it might be) and of my creative imagination (limited as it might be). This is art, not biography, history or documentary. They are mine own art.
While this is my own personal Brett Whiteley, my hope is that the works in this series will also touch something in those kind enough to give them a viewing.