+ EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 2022 + For Barrack Street I decided it would be a great idea to mount some of my Giant Badges onto lampposts and make them appear to be like giant lollipops planted above the heads of people walking by. The badges also needed to be printed with archival inks to survive the outdoor conditions. This gave me a fresh opportunity to respond directly to a shift in the nature of the course of the pandemic.
I always have a favourite badge attached to a well-liked jacket. Currently my jackets sport the badges ‘Mars or Bust’, ‘New Mexico’, ‘End Coal’ and the boyishly entertaining ‘Arizona Sheriff’. The right badge on the right jacket stills seems to me to be cool. A mini snapshot of my intellectual and aesthetic progress at any one time.
On Thursday the 21st of November, at 10am local time, a meteor struck the rural town of Kandos, New South Wales. It landed with a very loud explosion, which rattled windows in the town and scared cattle grazing in a nearby field. By a huge stroke of luck it managed to miss all people, animals or buildings. Although the meteor has yet to be excavated, it created a 20 meter wide crater, over 3 meters in depth.
Giant Leap, Casula Powerhouse, 2019, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which saw the first human step foot on another planetary object. The exhibition brings together documentary material from the era and new commissioned artworks celebrating the human desire to reach out to the stars.
A curatorial project presenting the work of five current and former
Waverley Artist Studios artists, Blank Spaces for the Imagination
presents the work of artists who explore, map or chart unrealised spaces
as a means of altering our perception of the world.
For these works produced on residency at 18th Street Arts Center, Australian artist Adam Norton uses postcard images to extend out the picture plane and produce broader paintings that take on the flat aspects of flags. The found images mostly consist of iconic American geography that has been mediated by the hand of man - cityscapes, bridges, landscapes such as Mount Rushmore - and contain mechanical and technical architectures of large scale engineering and manipulation.
As a dyslexic kid I learnt to read from my collection of comic books aided and abetted by billboards viewed from the back seat of my parents’ car. With both these visual aids the early clues to the meaning of words were revealed to me by first ‘reading’ the image and then attaching that meaning to the shape of the letters nearby. This interest in the relationship of the meaning of things to the imagery of them possibly made me into the type of artist I have become. Much of the source material for my works comes from signposts, book covers, film posters and postcards, the visual ephemera of the everyday.
From the C17th onwards there has been a recurring preoccupation with the idea of an art that inspires awe and wonder: the sublime. Historically associated with the natural landscape it remains to contemporary artists using elements of hyper realism, trompe l’oeil, scale, illogic and biology to reinvent the concept of the sublime for modern audiences.
-Open the pod-bay doors please Hal
-Open the pod-bay doors please Hal
-Hello Hal, do you read me?
-Hello Hal, do you read me? Do you read me Hal?
-Do you read me Hal?
-Hello Hal, do you read me?
-Hello Hal, do you read me? Do you read me, Hal?
-Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
-Open the pod-bay doors, Hal.
-I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
On 27 September 1956 the British exploded an atomic bomb in the southern part of the Great Victoria Desert of South Australia. The place would become known as Maralinga. It was the first of seven British atomic tests in Australia in 1956 and 1957, which were followed by over 600 so called ‘minor tests’ with highly toxic substances such as plutonium and beryllium until 1963. The Maralinga tests were indeed not the first the British Government conducted on Australian territory. Three atomic devices were detonated in the Montebello archipelago off the coast of Western Australia further two in Emu, about 400 km north of Maralinga. Yet, it was the term Maralinga, an Aboriginal word for thunder, the tests have been associated with and which gave this dark part of Australian history its iconic name.
The main theme in Project Daejeon 2016 is the cosmos. The universe, which holds endless, unsolved secrets, has continuously inspired the human imagination and is being rigorously explored by scientists, whose findings show extraordinary scientific truths about the origin of humanity, evolution, and life. The scientific question of the life of a galaxy from birth to death, in fact, goes back to the fundamental question of human beings, “what is our place in the universe?”
Below the streets of towns and cities across the world are the forgotten spaces of past military conflicts—detritus of old wars, or of periods of fear and threat such as the Cold War. Exploring the margins of a city, one can come across overgrown and heavily reinforced doorways leading to some subterranean world of unknown design and use.
Outer space, or simply space, can be defined as the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. The contemporary art exhibition Outer Space utilises this concept of the universe beyond the boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere as a metaphor to explore the limits and agency of the physical body and human psyche influenced by the environments that surround us – the ‘outer space’.
As a dyslexic kid I remember learning to read from the billboards viewed out of the back seat of my parents’ car with a comic book spread over my knees. The first clues to the meaning of words were gleaned by first ‘reading’ the image and then attaching that meaning to the shape of the letters. This interest in the relationship to the meaning of imagery possibly made me into an artist and has continued to have a profound impact on my art practice.
The First Man on Mars
In 1948 German American rocket scientist Wernher von Braun published Das Marsprojekt (The Mars Project), a technical manual detailing a potential future manned mission to Mars described as being among the most influential and accomplished books on the subject in history.
Conquest of Space: Science Fiction & Contemporary Art features more than 40 artworks exploring important stories in the history of the science fiction genre. This exhibition reveals previously unexplored intersections between science fiction (SF) and art. Science fiction and art have long been connected by a set of related interests such as technology and formal expressions.
This set of works forms the next chapter in a series of large text works based on the subject of space and all things to do with the great unknown.
The paintings fall into two groups, those based directly on obscure UFOlogy books and pamphlets, and the large text works. The book works enlarged as paintings on canvas re-invent themselves declaring a new future for their subject matter. The titles of old space and ufology books and self published alien contactee pamphlets become source material for new myth making and sloganeering about humankind’s place in the cosmos.
Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars,
Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars…
Adam Norton’s exhibition Interplanetary Society deals primarily with two cultural
artifacts with long histories: painting and our romanticism with space. More
specifically Norton is rediscovering and recalibrating a particularly modern
understanding of both painting and space exploration.
Space Posters contain a set of six colour posters based on the covers from a range of 20th Century Space Science and space speculation books. They are printed by Blood and Thunder Press, with durable soy ink on acid free paper. Edition of 50, with 5 AP.
A light-weight portable habitation unit designed for easy assembly after arrival on the planet Mars. Based on the traditional nomadic yurt, the circular walls support a conical roof. Another design influence was the various solid insulation shelters used at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA. This version includes a weather station, communications aerial, interior lighting and the official Mars Flag. Some homely photographs of the artist in his Mars Utility Suit visiting various tourists sites on Earth are also included.
The Mars Project is a video work which uses the theme of space travel to explore the Australian landscape. This work is the result of a residency in Broken Hill in 2012.
Anybody who grew up playing with video games in the 1980s will recognize this installation. As you enter the space you appear to be inside an early generation computer game. With the electric green grid marks and the fluoro block-like tank, you are physically inside your virtual Commodore 64 or Pac Man video game. Virtual Reality Simulator was included in the group exhibition Drawing Lines in the Sand, curated by Claire Taylor.
Mars Gravity Simulator is a fully functioning experiment adapted from the design of Apollo-era lunar gravity simulators, but made for Martian conditions. It can be used to assess the maneuverability of astronauts at a gravity approximately 40% that of Earth gravity, as well as to study gait changes for those conditions. Locomotion styles copied from Apollo landing footage were tested for speed and efficacy and conclusions were drawn as to the most affective gait for human bipedal locomotion in Mars gravity.
Extraterrestrial Highway, in Nevada, is the semi-official title of an ordinary strip of desert highway
that runs north east of Las Vegas and ends at the ghost town of Warm Springs. It is well known in
UFO circles because of the very high number of strange sightings seen along its route. These
events are often alleged to be connected to the top secret military research establishment at
Groom Lake, otherwise known as ‘Area 51’. Part way along the highway a dirt tracks heads off
west into the hills that screen the secret testing facility from the main road. In another part of this
huge restricted area the US government let off 900 plus nuclear bombs during the cold war era.
Ad Astra, or ‘to the stars’, is an exhibition of acrylic paintings dealing with mankind’s attempts to reach the stars, both physically and metaphorically. The works try to discover common cause between the widely differing interests of interplanetary groups, from the strictly hard science of the modern space industry to the more exotic beliefs of ufologists and fellow travellers. The works in this exhibition also touch on some of the secrecies and paranoia inherent in such activity.
Road Trip is an imagined work about a possible post-apocalyptic future history of the world. A recognisable life-size copy of a standard Land Rover has been made from recycled plastic and wooden stakes. Inside it contains a motley collection of chairs and stools, an old wooden crate and a slide projector. The seating faces the windscreen of the vehicle and on the windscreen the slide projector plays an endless carousel of typical road movie images.
A painted series of logos from many of the world's space agencies, centred onto the middle of a sheet of watercolour paper, they appear to become flags. The complete installation has the look of a United Nations of Space Agencies. Perhaps a herald of the future, when the off-world planets are ruled by all the space-faring nations of Earth.
The work consists of 16 acrylic paintings and 16 found objects or books. The paintings are facsimiles of a range of small instructional books, arranged with their corresponding pair on five narrow shelves. The title of the work confuses the different meanings between a painting and a book. A painted copy of a book is not a book so therefore it must be a lie to pretend it's a book.
A series of painted works based on existing bunker doors explored and photographed in two cities a month apart. It is the record of a series of separate walks taken in Sydney and Los Angeles. The first set of walks around the old Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles, looking for traces of the cheap rental district described in the novels of John Fante and Charles Bukowski.
Between the 10th and 24th of October 2008, three armoured personnel carriers rumbled through the laneways of Sydney’s CBD, parking up for the day, then moving on again to a new site at night. They were manned by ex-Australian defence force personnel decked out in black overalls and military boots.
‘History is a race between education and catastrophe.’ H. G. Wells
Since the tyranny of the age of Newton, and the barbarism of the terrible ‘redundancy’, we have seen nothing but the fragile pinnacle of a previous civilisation pitched into the undergrowth. We dumbly ignored the old machines and ideas that were decaying at our feet. Now, however, it is time for the ‘Great Reclamation’.
The term Big Science is usually attributed to an article by Alvin M. Weinberg, the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (producer of The United States Military grade Uranium). This was in response to US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address, in which the departing U.S. president warned against the dangers of what he called the 'military-industrial complex' and the potential domination of the Federal government by large corporations and military industrialists.
The Our Lucky Country project was a series of two exhibitions sparked by the now infamous ‘Cronulla riots.’
This work is a visual presentation of all the research I have conducted about the New Mexican town of Roswell, USA, and attached to a timeline from 25,000 years ago until the present time. I visited Roswell in 2007 and collected anything I could find about the town that might shed some light onto why it has become a centre for alien conspiracy stories/history.
This set of paintings were made over a three year period using reference material from the web magazines and newspapers. Historical UFO sightings and a military night vision image painted with the blur left in so that the
mystery of the subject is the main focus of the work.
Six hooded overalls were made from various domestic fabrics, together with canvas shoes painted to match. The artist was filmed wearing the different suits and shoes, trying to fit into or hide in different places around the landscape of the Cronulla peninsular, including the beach where the riots kicked off. The film plays inside the open lid of an old suitcase, surrounded by a display of the suits. The audience can then make a judgment on the effectiveness of each disguise and whether or not the artist fits into the different locations.
The first of two exhibitions, Our Lucky Country (difference), examined and responded to issues of identity, trust, culture and community.
Hand built into a 1930s bedroom wardrobe, Generic Escape Capsule (G.E.C.) is a one-person survival unit designed to blend into the domestic environment of a normal household without raising any suspicion. The rather cramped conditions contain all the basic necessities of life. Stored within the G.E.C. are fourteen days’ supply of food and water, a sleeping area with a makeshift toilet and a camping kitchen with mini-sink and drain.