I’m back with an exciting new mini-series of paintings! After the epic scale of “Stranger Than Earth” this summer, I wanted to venture back into more organic and sensual territory, which led to this body of work for a four-person show at BeinArt Gallery in Melbourne. It’s a big honor to be exhibiting with artists Jana Brike, Ray Caesar and Rodrigo Luff for “Lush,” and I’m so excited to share these works with you!
For inquiries about any of the pieces, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see the full preview and purchase work here
1. Title: “Rite of Spring” Approx 34”x19”
This series was inspired in part by my research into Victorian Era “Orchid Hunters”. There was a huge demand among high-society naturalists for rare specimens of newly discovered orchids to add to their greenhouses, so they would hire personal orchid hunters to travel to remote regions and bring back unknown flowers.
stories about these flower hunters encapsulated so many of my favorite
elements that it made for a rich starting point, and orchids are a
subject I love to paint, given their sensuality and alien forms. As the
pieces evolved, the idea became less literal, and organically
re-interpreting some of the specific stories of the individual Orchid
Hunters became more interesting to me.
The figures in “Rite of Spring” and “Annihilation” were inspired by the story of a particular tribe in the Solomon Islands, rumored to “torture their human sacrifices with the most beautiful blooming orchids placed around them so that the victims were able to see the color of the flowers growing richer from their own blood.” This image was particularly powerful to me ~ I’ve previously depicted coral and arteries merging in an organic way, and this gave me another chance to pursue that vision!
The “Rite of Spring” draws its name from the classical piece by Igor Stravinsky, which synchronistically also features a ritualistic human sacrifice. Casstronaut and Caitin Stickels were my muses for this piece, we worked together on separate occasions and I had been saving the references for the perfect moment, which presented itself in this dynamic composition. “Annihilation” and “Last Flowers” feature Casstronaut as well!
2. Title: “Annihilation” Approx 15”x20.5”
Annihilation was also inspired by story of the orchid victims, but it expresses a softer moment where the human form is beginning to merge with the arterial coral and orchids. I had been reading the "Southern Reach" series of novels during the conception of this image as well, which includes a lot of imagery of humans undergoing biological alien transformations into otherworldly states.
"A grace and a mercy that shall bloom dark flowers"
"There shall be a fire that knows your name, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, it's dark flame shall acquire every part of you." - The Southern Reach
3. Title: “Spectral Attitude” Approx 13.5”x18”
“Spectral Attitude” is an ethereal vision inspired by my favorite
insect subject, the incredible orchid mantis. While a few of these have
crept into my paintings through the years, this is the first time I
based one of my female subjects on their aspects. The orchid mantis
hunts through an adaptation known as “aggressive mimicry”, which means
that they do not copy a particular orchid or try to blend in with a
group of flowers. Instead, they look like an idealized perfect flower,
which to their doom, insects are more attracted to than the real thing.
The delicate sylph in this painting, modeled by the incredible Tammy Ho,
may be casting a similarly perilous enchantment!
4. Title: “State of Decay” Approx 10”x13”
The little still life “State of Decay” was a new way of playing with
with the idea of life emerging from death, through a skull cradled in a
luxurious nest of flowers, with orchids and insects crawling from its
lifeless eye-sockets. This is also derived from an Orchid Hunter tale,
of how “a certain Wilhelm Micholitz had to dig out a much prized
specimen from the eye sockets of a human skull.” The leaf insect is a
Phyllium philippinicum I raised myself!
5. Title: “Blumenpracht” Approx 10”x13”
"Blumenpracht": (meaning an ornate display of floral beauty) is a lovely little moment of hands searching among flowers, while a chameleon transforms itself into writhing blossoms. The hands belong to Roxanna, and are my favorite to paint!
All of the paintings in this set are oils and mixed media, on the
one-of-a-kind abstract patterned acrylic material I have been
perfecting. Each one has a completely unique iridescent pattern on the
reverse side that I created to match the color palette of the front.
They even incorporate a bit of “coral veining” below splashes of
As you read this, I am setting out on a daring expedition of my own - to the mountains and jungles of New Zealand, and then the gallery opening in Melbourne! If you happen to be in that part of Australia, it would be so amazing to meet you at the show! The opening is at:
6pm - 9pm Saturday Nov 18th
1 Sparta Place | Brunswick | VIC | 3056
More soon when I return from traveling, and come back with new stories and a special Winter print release!