After my visit to the tourist side of Antarctica I returned to Buenos Aires for a wander around the rather gaudy La Boca sector of this fine capital city. The many colourful tin homes made a strong visual contrast to the minimal palette of the Antarctic Peninsula. Returning to busy city life with its push and shove, human order, bus fumes and frantic fun was different but not too bad an experience. Argentina is famous for its meat and indeed the BBQ or Asado is a high art form here but it is the little empanadas that I adore. These savoury pastry snacks come in a variety of shapes with a variety of fillings. All over South America they can be found and I eat them by the dozen. Meat, chicken, cheese, ham, olives, eggs, spinach, sultanas, tomato whatever is in them they are delicious any time and keep them coming Por favor.
I am back to a summer mode now after those rather wobbly and chilly voyages across the Drake Passage. The Antarctic Peninsula that creeps up towards Patagonia like a plant searching for some warm sunshine is really an extension of the Andes. I now look out the window and see that mountain range, nearby sits Cerro Aconcagua at 6962 m. It is the tallest peak in the Americas. I am in the province of Mendoza where most of the viticulture action occurs. I planted myself in La Consulta c/o the excellent Bodega Aconquija that sits 1100 meters above sea level and makes a seriously good Malbec red wine. The Mountains act as a topographical weather barrier as well as a stunning backdrop to the vineyards. Very little rain here, lots of sun and fresh water from the melting snow make it excellent for grapes except for the occasional hailstorm. It's a very pretty part of the world.
One afternoon I was picnicking with a friend below these snow-capped mountains by a channel of melted snow under Pine, Gum and deciduous trees on thick green grass watching things move. Before siesta I watched the insect population plunder our crumbs and busy themselves with miniscule missions of urgency. Thinking back to the icy and rocky terrains of Antarctica where life is somewhat lacking I realized that I was now sitting on a layer of living blanket. Organisms galore were beneath me, all alive and all hungry for life. It was not only my friend and I who wanted to picnic. It was everything around us. Sadly there was only one bottle of tinto vino to share with the plethora of organic life I had just acknowledged. The Ice in Antarctica I had befriended in some kind of conceptual way but here in the temperate climes the party of life is very think indeed. Sadly I must leave this continent and flutter across the Pacific.
It seems I will be spending the rest of 2005 in Australia, as there are people and places to see. It is time to set up a studio on the outskirts of Melbourne as I have plenty of new work to make. Future exhibitions planned during 2005 are as follows -
April. 1 - 24
Plimsoll Gallery. Hobart.
Tasmania. Australia. Antarctic group show of Australian artists.
June 25 - July
William Mora Galleries. Melbourne.
Jul. 29 - Oct 2
Breaking the Ice - Re-visioning Antarctica.
Adam Art Gallery. Victoria Uni. Wellington.
New Zealand. International group show of Antarctic work.
Sept. 27 - Oct 15
Go come back?
Bellas-Milani Gallery. Brisbane. Qlds. Australia.
Oct - November
Short St. Gallery. Broome.