oil on canvas 24″ x 36″
began 2011 – completed 2014
This painting is the fifth in a series of seven I have done so far. These were inspired by the bottom bunk I slept in while at college.
More of an explanation into the meaning of this painting is below.
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This painting is a continuation on a theme of several paintings I have done over the years, the first created during my last year at college in 2000. The initial idea came from a sketch I did back in 1999. I lived in a residence hall and many of the rooms had bunk beds. I shared a bedroom with a friend and I slept on the bottom bunk. Often, I would lie on my back and just stare up at the bottom of the bed above me, analysing and taking in its form and structure. The mattress was an interesting ugly turquoise-y green colour and the bedsprings were just as they appear in the painting. One day I thought of an image of the mattress containing an opening to a night sky. I grabbed my sketch book and created a drawing from my idea.
The first painting I did, I attempted to match the colour of the mattress, and I knew many of the other students would recognise the colour and bedsprings. The second and third paintings differed a bit, instead of an opening contained in a mattress with springs, I made the mattress into a blue sky with clouds. The opening to the night sky was crescent shaped and contained stars of the constellation Gemini and the other of Scorpio—one a gift and one for me.
I revisited the initial idea of the bedsprings in 2007 after many years of not painting. I worked on and off again on it, left it, and came back to it, finally finishing the painting after about two years. Again, I spent many years without ever touching paint. In 2011, after I had moved to Australia, I again had a thought to return to painting, but just as with its immediate predecessor, this painting (the fifth of the opening paintings) took me a great deal of time to complete. I finally finished it about three years later in 2014.
I have often sat with the idea and impulse behind this theme, and the reasons I keep coming back to it. In many ways, I feel it is a reflection of life on Earth and of being human. Living in a body in a physical world with limitations, but able to see beyond the ‘day’ and into the night. I also like playing with the thought that the stars and planets are always surrounding us, even in daylight—only they’re shrouded from the light of the Sun. If we just crack through the light on Earth that surrounds us, we’re able to see the wonder of this universe—holding us in beautiful suspension as we travel together through space and time.