Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Roma Workshops

I'd been toying with the idea of running workshops for some time. People asked me about it; I said I'd think about; but nothing ever seemed to happen about it. I'd done several demonstrations, completing sculptural techniques for the edification and entertainment of small groups of interested artists and the general public but I'd never run a hands-on class. Then a sculptor friend suggest I go country and try for some Regional Arts Development Funding (RADF) to cover it and that finally got me motivated. 

I've never received a grant before. Yet it seemed to me, a big part of many artists trade was the applying for, and awarding of, monies for the purpose of advancing their practice. While technically the grant was not awarded  to me but to the Roma on Bungil Gallery for the purpose of having me run a couple of workshops, it was me that developed the program, formulated a budget and filled in and submitted the form so I'll take it as mine in all but name.

My first full blown workshop was a short lesson in observational drawing. It's a subject dear to my heart as it was Observational Drawing taught by Mia Clarke at the BIA which got me going just a few short years ago after not engaging with art in any meaningful way since high-school. And while I couldn't hope to cover in a couple of hours what She had taught me over many weeks, I thought it was a good way to lift the veil on the practical nature of art making and give the locals a chance to get to know me too.

One down, one to go. For my second outing, I ran a workshop on the process and materials required to complete a two part plaster mould, a process I employ quite often. The materials are inexpensive and readily accessible. No heavy tools or specialist equipment is required. As far as short workshops go, I felt it was a worthy sculptural technique (something people might want to learn) and more importantly, achievable no matter how remote the venue.
The planning required to head some 600 kilometers from home and ensure you've not left anything behind is no casual thing. Ask any new parent with small children preparing for an outing, even just down the road and they'll tell you much the same. I was hauling 80 kilos of plaster, 60 kilos of clay, buckets, bottles, measuring cans, tape, scrapers, chisels, hammers, ply boards, hessian, scissors, petroleum jelly, colour oxides, ink, pva glue, fibreglass, concrete and enough plastic sheeting to cover a tennis court. And honestly, I don't think I could have done without any of it.

Despite my getting slightly lost and arriving late, I think everyone had a great day and learned some things. Big thanks to Nikki and Peter Thompson for hosting the workshop at their property, Echo Hills Farm and a big thanks to the Maranoa Council for their support through the RADF.

With the dust settled on a successful campaign out west, it was time for my travelling companion Hermann and I to reflect over a couple of cold beers. We’ve had home cooked meals, been treated to Piano Accordion recitals, gotten lost, found our way again, met Cowboys and Bikies, inspected cattle, gazed at the stars and made a bit of art. As Hermann was fond of saying, you couldn’t buy this kind of experience.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Built Your Self - Install

My exhibition, Built Your Self is installed and open for viewing at the Roma on Bungil Gallery in Roma, central Queensland. My friend Hermann, a fellow sculptor, and I, had a great trip out west. We visited wood carver Guy Braey just south of Dalby, enjoyed several pub and home cooked meals with the gallery team and even visited a cattle station.

The Roma on Bungil Gallery is a fantastic, contemporary facility and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to exhibit the work in such a crisp, institutional space. It's a big change from my cramped and cluttered workroom.

A big thanks to Sandy MacDonald, Di Griffin and the ROBG team for their super professional expertise in setting up the exhibition. And a big thanks to the Maranoa Regional Council and sponsors Santos.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Non-Narrative Illustration

For the longest time, I felt it was important my work proselytize and preach a specific point of view. Trouble is, I'm not sure I know exactly what that point of view is, let alone how to articulate it. So as I began my most recent body of work, I set out to take a more positive tone, pursuing styles, subjects and processes that please and interest me.

I imagined the works as being the result of a Venn diagram describing some broad fields of interest; Design and Technology; Craft and making; People and human concerns. Similar to earlier sketches on this trajectory, each of these paintings is composed of figures in abstract backgrounds with  technical drawings overlaid.

I'm calling the abstract backgrounds, "Imagination Spaces", visually nebulous spaces of possibility.  Places where things can exist, interact and happen. And to be perfectly honest, they're just a lot of fun to paint. The physicality of attacking the surface with a loaded brush is sensually satisfying and enormously rewarding. If I don't like the result, I just paint over it, the ensuing interactions of these randomly applied strokes and washes exciting in their serendipity.

For these larger works, i chose to use myself, my family and friends as subjects, though I'm hoping they appear more as generic figures, like actors in an advertising campaign rather than portrait subjects. The images feel illustrative in nature, as though they might be attached to written narrative. But in composing the paintings and coupling the subjects, with limited exceptions, I sought to impose no fixed narrative of my own. The work invites the viewer to imagine their own narrative.

Built Your Self

Built Your Self is a collection of 2D and 3D works exploring ideas around craft, creating and purposefulness in an environment increasingly influenced by technology. Randomly constructed narratives are built employing a mix of processes from crude hand made to computer aided design and fabrication.

Built Your Self embodies a strong DIY (do it yourself) ethic which is only commensurate with the artistic pursuits of exploring creative processes outside one’s own expertise, to experiment, explore, make mistakes and even fail.

Building your own self is a process over which you may at times have varying levels of control. The work seeks to explore the artist’s own mix of optimism and apprehension regarding the present and the future through subjects, materials and processes that reflect his own varied and at times juxtaposing interests.

Built Your Self
an exhibition of 2D and 3D work by
Cameron Eaton
22nd June to 5th August 2018

Roma on Bungil Gallery
Hawethorn St, Roma QLD 4455

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A New Direction for the Same Old Thoughts

I’ve started writing this blog post at least half a dozen times only to stall after the first paragraph. I feel this work deserves some explanation but I’m struggling with the words. I have the words but when I spell them out, it sounds like rubbish. I don’t have the words but they’re all contradictory and by describing it, they sound like rubbish. Is it really that important anyway?

Forget the why.

What is it?

The process for each painting is the same. It begins with an abstract colour field and into that space I place a figure referenced from one of my life drawing sessions. Finally, overlaid on that is an extract of a technical drawing from a design project I’ve worked on.

The abstract backgrounds are imagination spaces. They are ill-defined and as a result, full of possibility. They have depth, a background and foreground. They are barren or fertile, structured or nebulous. Anything could happen there. Like an open horizon, they allow the mind to wander.

The figures are us. It’s a human story after all.

The technical drawings reference industry, change, progress, evolution. They are in some ways the antithesis of what it is to be natural but conversely, they are a direct expression of what it is to be human. We invent, we imagine, we resolve, we create. We make things that do things that make things easier and harder all the same time. Most frighteningly, our prolific making and doing and changing has pushed the effects of change beyond any sort of control we might comfortably bring to bear (assuming we ever had any control to begin with). Nature is beyond our control and we are nature, so therefore, we are beyond all control.

I’ve struggled for ideas of how best to describe my thoughts or create a visual narrative to express my feelings. So, I’ve abandoned any effort to do so.  I have assembled the elements. The images invite the divination of a narrative. It’s up to the viewer.

Friday, April 7, 2017

ASHBURN WILSON Official Unveiling

Saturday the 25th March 2017 marked the opening of the recent 3.3 million dollar expansion of the Roma Regional Airport Terminal in Central Queensland and the official unveiling of my bottle tree sculptures ASHBURN WILSON. This pair of 3.0m tall steel sculptures won the 2014 Santos Acquisitive Sculpture Award and after more than two years in fabrication and then storage, finally found their place astride the Airport’s main entrance.

Roma is famous for it’s abundance of Brachyciton rupestris, the Queensland Bottle tree. More than 90 of them line Roma’s Heroes Avenue, planted to commemorate soldiers from the region who lost their lives in the First World War. As 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1, I felt it was appropriate to revisit that symbolism, reinterpreting it in rolled steel plate. It was a wonderful design challenge and I am thrilled with the result.

Ashburn and Wilson are the first and last soldiers listed on the Cairn located outside Roma’s Post Office and the sculptures are named for these two. Like book ends, they stand for themselves and everyone in between. Two sentinels to remind us of the sacrifice of many.

Sandra MacDonald, past president of the Roma on Bungil Gallery Management Committee (the group that coordinate the annual prize) suggested the Airport was an appropriate location for ASHBURN WILSON. The original memorial begins at the Railway Station, the primary point of arrival and departure from the town at that time. Now a century on, Roma Airport is one of the busiest in regional Queensland, winning the Qantaslink award for most Outstanding Regional Airport in 2014 and 2016. For many locals and visitors alike, the Airport is their first and last experience of Roma.

Puddy Chandler from the Maranoa Regional Council officiated the opening ceremony and together Andrew Snars (Regional Manager of Santos) and I cut the ribbon. The ceremony was attended by many Local Councilors, Corporate representatives, the Roma on Bungil Gallery Management Committee and interested locals. One of whom offered to take me on a sight seeing tour of the region in his light plane. A definite highlight of a memorable trip.

This is Greg who offered to take me up for a ride in his Cessna 172. We flew North over Pony Hills, west to Injune and finally back to Roma. At around 3500ft we skimmed just below the clouds. The open countryside was green and all the dams were full. We flew over the feed lots, where cattle are fattened before heading to the sale yards, busier now than ever before according to Greg, We saw the gas fields and talked about their impact on the local community including the many benefits. Santos has been mining in this region or over 50 years. May locals are employed by Santos and a great deal of the local economy relies on their presence.

It seemed Santos had a good working relationship with the community here, no doubt a result of interconnectedness forged from long association. But the construction boom of recent years had apparently bought new players, many of whom it seemed didn't enjoy the respect of the community, nor done anything to earn it. Like so many human interactions, the current energy debate is a real hot mess.