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.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Art is Work

I don't always take time off over Christmas, working as I do, a project based designer in industrial and commercial construction. You tend to work when the work is there and fret when it isn't. I can recall many years that I've worked right through the season. Public holidays don't mean so much to the self employed. The answer, I've discovered, is to book your trip regardless of how busy you are and find a way to make it work. Otherwise, some years, the break never comes.

This year we once again visited family in New Zealand, with a little time out to drive around the North Island visiting Rotorua and the Coromandel Peninsula. And once again I bought a fresh sketch book, confident the inevitable downtime of travel would permit plenty of free time for sketching. But in reality, we were having too much fun to bother with pencils and pens. Which reminds me of the maxim, 'Art is Work'  and sometimes, we need to rest.

Depending on which day you catch me, I'm either an Artist who works as a Designer to pay the bills, or a Designer who makes Art to fill the hole in his heart that protests the mediocrity of much of the work I'm engaged with. And some days I try to do both at the same time. At times it's exhausting. But I don't know what to do about that. Full credit to those with the courage (or luck) to kick the day job, because we all know talent isn't the only determinant factor.

So after nearly three weeks in scenic New Zealand, I offer three sketches. That'll have to do.