© Stephen Eastaugh, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Sydney was a blurry pit stop for only a few days then Carolina flew east over the Pacific ocean and I flew west over the desert. Once again geography separates us but not for too long. Beer, pubs and dinners kept us busy in Sydney while we stayed in Chinatown in a greedy attempt to eat more dumplings. Then all of a sudden I was back in one of the most historically cosmopolitan villages in Australia. The dusty red town of Broome. Back to my studio to work and also to do a few other chores while in my homeland. For example, a new passport was required to enable me to keep wandering across the globe. This will be my fifth little blue booklet with once again another mug shot of myself looking unhappy, ill, dangerous and unnourished. I would be hesitant to permit a person looking so shabby to enter any land at all if I was an immigration officer.
Pearl shells kept me busy and preparations for a number of exhibitions in 2017. Next year seems as unstable as ever but my plan is to show in Melbourne, Sydney, the Netherlands, perhaps Hobart and to finish off that year I have been lucky enough to be accepted as a resident at NKD (www.nkdale.no) in Norway for two months in the town of Dale i Sunnfjord on Dals Fjord which is just north of the cute city of Bergen. It will be cold and it will be pretty and I will once again place myself in an alien studio, in a remote location to make unique, odd or should I say uncredible artwork.
This October I shall be included in a large group show titled Mapping Australia in the Netherlands at AAMU. (www.aamu.nl/en)This major show is dedicated to Dirk Hartog and will present Cartography, maps, Aboriginal art and a series of my pearl shells - Lost Emergency Crafts.
I attended a Zen Buddhist O-bon ceremony at the Japanese Cemetery in Broome to honour the many spirits of Japanese pearl divers who rest in the red pindan dirt very far south from their homeland. Strangely this seemed a very Broome thing to do as a large group of us listened to chanting, lit candles and watched the sun slowing dive into the Indian Ocean.
A small dual exhibition was held with local artist Claire Beausein in her lovely studio/gallery in Broome just before I said farewell to Broome. Contextural was the title due to our love of texture. Texture alongside colour, composition, line and tone are all used to express and embed our thoughts, sometimes artists pay homage or unravel themes or perhaps we just enjoy adding to the mystery that surrounds us all. This extra texture we employ presents a desire to touch the work. To feel the work and to connect and that is usually not a bad thing at all.
Paper making, thick oil paint, found metal, thread, etched pearl shells, damaged paper, wax and other weathered mediums are all utilized, tweaked, scrunched, tied, dyed, sewn, molded and glued into work that present concepts that concern us or simply stories which we love or hate. For Claire and I art operates as a strong tool which we use to navigate that very rich and tricky thing called existence.
Hello Perth, hello Melbourne and then bye bye to Australia once again.