October 14, 2018



when the air is dry

June 17, 2016

try this today.


Roni Horn

Paired Gold Mats, For Ross and Felix (1994-5)

roni horn

“One mat is placed on top of another. From between them, firelight glows. It peeps and seeps out from the edges. The light is the gold reflecting off itself. Here is the metaphor for intimacy. Here is the eroticism, the splendour and mythology of gold.”




March 17, 2016







December 2, 2014


Grief is desire in its purest distillation.

-Anne Michaels, ‘The Winter Vault’



drill hall

August 19, 2014

I have some work up at the Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, until September. Please drop by, if you like. I am showing two older works – ‘A Collection’ and ‘Star Map’ (which is now part of the Drill Hall collection).

I’m lucky to have had my work around 2 wonderful exhibitions, Kensuke Todo’s survey show and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s exhibition ‘Story Tellers of the Town’.

I didn’t write about this earlier but I thought perhaps I should put a few words up.

Various constellations.
Constellations, or the idea of constellations, recur from time to time in my practice. They can be anchors of meaning, which, depending on one’s ability to read, can easily appear indifferent, random, arbitrary. They can mark a glimpse, a moment in time in a continually shifting situation. Constellations are about relationships. It is this that we remember, that allows us to give meaning to points in space. The stars are a distant, compelling focal point. The universe is vast and endless. It seems the furthest thing away from the things that we are able to touch and grasp, yet I am drawn to the constant possibility of accessing or discovering this vastness in the tiniest things, the things closest to us.

Each of these holes projects a pinhole image of the sun.

star map

(Star Map, 2009)

A Collection

(A collection, 2006-14)

The collection is not really a conscious constellation, but of course it becomes one. I like being able to show this piece. It started off as a collection of two kinds of intimate objects – soap slivers and old erasers – that wear against our existence, and whose forms were created as direct ‘imprints’ against our hands, our bodies, our creations and words. The negative space against our lives. The stones arrived much later, to close the rhythm of these groups of things. There was just this emotional response that I had when I was thinking about how these soaps and erasers were arranged and found my collection of various stones. There was something in the contrast that struck me then, the sensation of a stone being dragged against the skin or across the page, and the way in which we are positioned somewhere in some kind of scale of time and softness or durability or permanence. At some point, all of my work is related to time, scale and relationships. And perhaps, also, disappearance. Emergence, and obliteration.

things that happened earlier

December 31, 2012

Hey, I had a show in June at ANCA Gallery, called “Sum of Parts”… here are some install photos from that show.

If you’d like to see the work close-up, you can find them in the page ‘Images of work’.

Thanks to Rob Little for the photography!

If these ideas seem strange, remember that we have only five senses with which to find out about the world around us. When we feel a stone, we can tell whether it is rough or smooth. But we don’t get any ideas of the motions and commotions of the atoms in the stone. When we look at a person, we get some idea as to their shape, size, and colouring. But we don’t see, feel, or hear what makes them a live person. So we musn’t be surprised when we are told that the seemingly solid matter in our world may be closer in nature to light than it is to the things we consider solid.

sum of parts

June 12, 2012



February 9, 2012

If you would be so kind, I can now be found at:

Studio 17, ANCA
1 Rosevear Pl
ACT 2602

Please keep sharing the love. By post.

Thank you.

leap into the void

November 26, 2011

Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without the darkness, there would only be a blur. Which is to say that a full-length movie consists of half an hour of pure darkness that goes unseen. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theater gazing together at a deep imaginative night. It is the terra incognita of film, the dark continent on every map. In a similar way, a runner’s every step is a leap, so that for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For those brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet, like leaks, but hover below them like doubles, as they do with birds, whose shadows crawl below them, caressing the surface of the earth, growing or shrinking as their makers move nearer or farther from that surface. For my friends who run long distances, these tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; by their own power they hover above the earth for many minutes, perhaps some significant portion of an hour or perhaps far more for the hundred-mile races. We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in bites too small to be measured.

-Rebecca Solnit, ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’


2 things

April 30, 2011

1) calgary, canada.

2) melbourne, australia.

one wish

April 30, 2011

i picked this dandelion on my second day in Calgary, when i walked to ACAD in the morning.

no particular reason, i just kept it on my desk for a while. i’ve been thinking about wind-borne seeds, and the beauty of natural aerodynamic objects. i like to look at something that is designed to move on air. i also like the way that in their movement they illustrate the unseen current, and can be sensitive to the gentlest breath.

i made this dandelion drawing in this cabinet in the hallway at ACAD. when i started, there were still students around. it was very difficult. the movement of someone walking past was enough to disrupt the seeds. the seeds were even responsive to people talking in the hallway, perhaps the compression of the air from the sound…i don’t know. anyway, i eventually ended up waiting til everyone had left, and it was fine, though i had to be very careful with my breathing.

dandelions close their petals every evening, and open again with the sun. the switch at maturity from the yellow flowers to the white puffball happens overnight, almost spontaneously – the petals close, and open the next morning as a puffball, never to close again. i learnt about the life-cycle of dandelions when i was making a gift for two friends of mine. i was out looking for dandelions – dandelion seeds actually. dandelion clocks. dandelions only germinate or flower when the soil is above a certain temperature. Canberra is cold and frosty in winter, and at that time, early spring i guess, there were scant dandelions around and yellow ones only. whenever i was on my bike i kept my eye out for dandelions, and when i spotted one, i would make sure to ride by it day by day to see if it had turned. that felt like a very lovely thing, returning to these various individuals growing by the side of the footpath, knowing exactly where they were. those temporary but significant markers suddenly made the whole city, my everyday surroundings, seem a little bit more invested with meaning.

in Calgary, i walked to ACAD every morning until the snow came, and started to collect many dandelion clocks everywhere i walked. as the days went by, the stems would often be frozen when i picked them. one morning, i met a guy who had a big garbage bag full of empty cans and bottles over his shoulder. he asked me what i was collecting, and then he asked me if i was crazy. i didn’t tell him what i was doing with them, but i kinda had this thought about making a quilt filled with all these dandelion seeds. i liked the Canadian word for it – ‘comforter’. i had met a young woman in Winnipeg, who grew up in this community/cult that i stayed with for a few days on my travels (a story for another time). she told me about how when she and her siblings were children, they would sew their own comforters. she told me about collecting lots of old down coats from the thrift store, cutting them open, and filling these comforters with the contents of all of these emptied out coats.

i didn’t end up making a comforter. though i had quite a collection of dandelion seeds by the end. on the night before i left Calgary, i went out on the balcony with Adrienne and Beth, who i was staying with, on the 11th floor of this apartment block downtown. it was not snowing that night. we let go of all of the seeds and watched them float over the city.

i think of them often, and i hope their wishes come true.


April 16, 2011

seeing the snow in canada was an amazing experience, as much as anything in this world can be if you have the opportunity to encounter it with open eyes. i’m interested in that kind of interaction with the world, in a more everyday sense. even if it’s ordinary, even if you’ve seen it before, you can still see it anew. everything has the potential to be a quiet, tiny wonder. i love those moments when you realise how profound and miraculous everything is. the world opens up, time disappears, there are no words. i suspect that everything is actually like that, all the time, but we learn to shut off from it in order to function – you know, to get from one place to the other, and to not lose our minds.

here are some things i wrote about the snow from my notebook and a couple of letters to people.

The first time I saw snow, I was on the train going through Saskatchewan. The train lumbered past miles of paddocks, flat fields of stubble, and shallow pools of water. It was a beautiful clear day outside, big blue sky. The sun is so bright in the prairies. It flashed off every tiny puddle of water hidden in the scruffy grass, showing which path the tractor had taken, or where the cows had walked on soft ground. Our movement through the landscape revealed all these drawings in light that appeared for a second then fell away into the past.

The first snow i saw was just scattered lightly on the ground at first, just sort of gathered behind tussocks of grass. And you know, I actually thought it was salt. Honestly. I don’t know why, just that that was the only thing that came to mind immediately. And there was more of it, and it got thicker and in wider patches, and I thought “now why would they fuck up their fields like this?” Yeah, it was strange, but it actually took me quite some time to get it. It was only later when we passed some pools of water and I realised that each of the branches and fence posts and grasses sticking out had a little ring of ice around them, just at the point where they pierced the surface of the water. It was freezing outside. It kind of spun my head around to realise all of this. And the snow on the ground got thicker and and the ponds started to be frozen over and I couldn’t believe I was seeing this.

I also saw the most beautiful thing, a forest of small skeletal trees or bushes, all bare with very fine branches. The branches were completely coated with ice. The sun shone brightly from behind the trees and lit up the ice, like a forest of glass, which glittered and changed as the train moved past.

I had a day before I was due in Calgary, so on Saturday I took a bus out to the mountains and stayed there for a night. The next morning I got up early and went for a walk. It was so incredible. There was no one else around. I was heading up this trail, and nobody had been there yet that day, so there was a perfect blanket of snow on the ground, with animal tracks that had started to fill in but that was it. What an amazing feeling to walk across this. There is a moment I remember clearly where the sun shone directly through where the trees parted for the trail, and illuminated the snow crystals on the ground. As I walked, these glittering particles would jump out at me, reflecting colours of the rainbow like little prisms. It felt like walking through a dream, everything soft and vivid and solitary.

While I was walking up the trail, snow started falling out of the sky – just sparsely at first, but then more and more, in big pieces. I caught one in my hand and for the first time I saw a snowflake – just like the ones I’d made in paper as a kid – clear and delicate and perfect for a second before it melted and vanished. This just blew my mind! I guess we all know what snowflakes are supposed to look like, but I kind of assumed you needed a microscope, or a magnifying glass at least. I didn’t realise they were so big you could see them, and see that they are for real! There were some bigger clumps falling out of the sky, and when they landed in my hand they burst, scattering little snowflakes everywhere, each one of them unique and amazing. I could not believe how special, sublime and precious all of this was.

There are some things that you cannot truly accept until you are faced with them. So now I understand…now I believe in snowflakes.

I remember the first night it started snowing in Calgary, I was staying with some lovely students from ACAD, Heidi and Greg, who live on the 23rd floor of an apartment building downtown. It was quite late at night when the snow started. I kept going back out on to the balcony every so often to see how it was all going. It just looked like rain in my hand, and it looked like a cloud of flashing light under the streetlamp far below. It took hours for all those tiny particles to collect on the black bitumen below enough to show up, and to cling to each other and not melt into the road. It was so incremental, but there was enough of it, and it happened.

The next morning, the falling snow was so tiny, it had more of a 3-dimensional form, not quite like a flake but more like jacks, almost. When I walked out to catch the train that night, they had become flakes. I could see it just from the way the light reflected off them as they fell, it was really different. Under the streetlights, they reflected fleetingly colours like green and purple, even from the ground as I walked over it. And the river kept trying to freeze over. It looked amazing. It was a constantly changing thing, slowing, solidifying, then shaking off the torpor and melting into hundreds of little icebergs. In the evenings when it froze all this mist rose off it, just like everything else downtown – all of the smokey buildings in Calgary releasing the steam from their heating systems.

On the days when the sun comes out, the light on the snow is so beautiful in the afternoons – a strange thick orange light, and the shadows it casts are blue. I’m in love with snow. I love its gentle purity when it has fallen and no-one’s walked across it yet – the rounded edges where it’s piled up creating forms that no human could make, that are only created by the slow accumulation of millions of falling particles landing and clinging to each other. I love the tracks through it too, all those great lines and drawings, records of movement and short-term history. And I love the layering that happens when tracks get snowed over, then drawn again, then covered. When the black bitumen shows through the snow, in the shape of footprints or tyre tracks, it just takes a gentle snowfall to turn all these grey, like a half-tone. Then you get fresh tracks which are black, and this process keeps on happening until you have all these gradients telling a story on the ground – a story that fades out of existence on one end whilst continually being created on the other.

Of course, I’m obsessed with the idea of a palimpsest, in any shape or form. And I like to think about our actions and rhythms being like a big drawing in space.

Rick told me that when his grandmother first came to North America from Brazil and saw it snowing for the first time, she started to cry. The other thing she saw that made her cry was people in their cars giving way to the ambulance.

and i’ll say it again

March 9, 2011

They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?

(jeanette winterson, ‘The Passion’)