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Head I

2003. Oil on canvas.
515 x 255 mm.
Private collection.

 
 

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About this work

The head depicted in this painting is my own head; however, it is not my intention for this to read as a self-portrait. There is a certain ambiguity as to whether the head in this painting is alive or dead. Part of what this work is about for me is a contemplation of my own mortality. The fact that the head could be dead or merely sleeping alludes to the peacefulness that could be found in death that death is not necessarily something morbid and distasteful. The attitude towards death in society has been a recurring theme in my work. I explore how people have become objectified by the medical industry, and how death has become depersonalized and sanitized.

Some viewers of this work will not see an association with death. It is not my intention to control the meanings that viewers ascribe to my works, rather to allow them room for personal interpretations based on memories from their own lives. In all my works I avoid creating fixed meanings, and instead work with triggers that will evoke different responses for different viewers.

This work was first shown in my exhibition True Life Story in 2004, and was selected for the 2004 Brett Kebble Art Awards exhibition.