I like to draw with paint, I like to sculpt with paint. Paint is a uniquely transformational material. In a physical sense this is particularly due to its infinite variety and potential as a vehicle for colour, and its tactile state of change between liquid and solid states. It is a three-dimensional material applied to a two-dimensional surface, often to create the illusion of three dimensions. The physical residue of the action signifying the passage of time. This mobility and versatility has given me an emotional and philosophical attachment to paint as a means of communication.

When I attempt to define who I am, I am confronted by displacements and multiplicities — both introspectively as a mind within a body, and publicly as a citizen and social entity. My historical sense of place originates from elsewhere, no longer really known, and my 'connection to the land' — a defining bond of identity, is mitigated by other competing influences and histories. These include a collective and individual relationship to indigenous Australia; the spiritual divide between a secular ethics and faith-based paradigms; the im/possibility of being one stable thing — 'Australian' in our evolving multicultural society; the impact of globalisation on difference — each shaping the nature of subject matter and discourse on identity. Whilst these present or potential outcomes and the factors contributing to them may be confronting, they also provide great creative opportunity.

Visualising the landscape or the built environment is a form of naming and ownership, and through this a means of defining self. In Australia (as elsewhere) this relationship to the land has been formulated and reformulated pictorially many times by competing interests and this continues to the present. The idea of landscape painting as a contested site has great appeal to me both aesthetically and politically as I try to make my own connection to it. So my idea of self commences from a position of multiplicity and ambiguity, and my compulsion — if not to resolve this, is to somehow partake of it by representing it in painted form, and thereby to insert myself into it.



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© Peter Thorn August 2013