As some of you know, I recently visited the Adelaide exhibition of works by Clarice Beckett, Australian painter of the early 1900s. The collection included still life works, streetscapes, seascapes and landscapes. The streetscapes were my favourites.
There were many blurbs on the walls highlighting aspects of Beckett’s life and artworks that allowed us to more fully appreciate the exhibition. One description, in particular, caught my attention. It was relating to a street scene of a wet road on which travelled a motorbike, either receding or appearing over a crest (I don’t remember which). The motorcycle was both unimportant, in that it was barely fleshed out, but it was also the focus of the work. I don’t know how, or if, such a phenomenon can even happen but that’s how it seemed.
The writing drew further attention to the bike, suggesting that it, as did all of Beckett’s figures in the landscape, lent to the work the ‘possibility of something’. There is a life depicted. There is a human element. There is the chance that further action could take place.
This simple concept has excitingly called into question for me so much of what I do, and have done, in my art practice. Where is the humanity? Where is the unpredictability? Where is the possibility of something? I fear all those things were in limited supply. But I’ve been challenged! I have been tasked with finding humanity, unpredictability and possibility within the framework of my particular inspiration and style. Watch this space, people! A step forward could be coming!