Tag Archives: #mrboxie

What’s With the Guy in the Cardboard Box?

What’s with the guy in the box?

In conjunction with ‘W h i s p e r’, which is on now at The Lost Ones Gallery in Ballarat – I thought I would give a brief what and why about #mrboxie…

Boxie originated in Bali. I had been surfing a wild reef and on my third day there I was hit by a wave and then hit the reef. Fracturing bones in my hand and also lacerating my arm, shoulder and back as well – I got my ‘Bali Tattoo’. For the remainder of the trip I was unable to go surfing. The only thing I could do was sit by the pool and go and do touristy things.

It was during these tourist excursions that I noticed nearly every tourist was walking into the shrines, temples and anywhere in between – with their camera already in-front of their face – only to take an image and turn around and walk away without ever lowering the camera to view the scene.

I stewed on this for days and remembered similar scenes at the 12 apostles, near home. When I returned to Melbourne I had the idea in my head of people running around with cardboard boxes on their torso and a small glow emanating from the bottom, effectively cutting them off from the outside world.

I painted these figures angrily into the landscapes of Bali, until a designer friend came to visit the studio and said how much she loved the figures- which made me happy – and how happy they made her.  This stopped me dead in my tracks, happiness was definitely not the outcome I had seeked from Mrboxie. Yet later that night I realised what a gift it was, it turns out that nearly everyone is polarised by this little figure ambling through the landscape. A Rorschach blot Boxie has almost become. For my friend boxie reminded her of her childhood playing in cardboard box – as most will remember if someone were lucky enough to get something that came in a large box, the box would then become the centre of all play.

It was not until I ran out of friends willing to pose in the box trundling around the streets that I had to enter the box myself. Inside I found it warm and comforting – cocoon like – the sounds outside were muffled and my own body heat reflected off the cardboard and warmed me. I was self-contained in more ways than one. It reminded me of my sanctuary that I found when in the bathroom at home – the only room with a lock on the door – from there it became my armour and camouflage. What better shape to blend into a city than a vertical rectangle?

 

 

Contained

Contained‘ at RUBICON Gallery, Level 1, 309 Queensberry St. Melbourne

September 2nd – Opening 6 – 9pm – September 19th – Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm

At the end of the last exhibition I was cornered(pun intended) by a few people who said they didn’t think the work was as intimate as it could be considering the situation, and that I was skirting around something and not facing it head on – although the works were dark, they weren’t intimate, they weren’t as engaged with the core of the exhibition as they could be. Considering that I had considered the title going from Close (as in closer) to Close (Closed) this was a bit of a painful revelation. The above paintings are the result of contained, don’t be surprised if the next exhibition is something completely different. After some recent close brushes I have a very new focus and it’s a subject I have not looked to before.

With my painting I am always trying to find the balance between happy mistakes through bold brushwork against perfection, I think there is a lot to be said for the ‘imperfections’ in paint, the little marks, scuffs and drag marks, areas where the medium has dripped – they are what I adore about it. It’s magic, you create an illusion for people to disappear. On this minuscule size, brush marks and dust can be the death of a whole painting.

The mistakes are like it’s life marks, that show that it’s been made by a human, who is not a computer, not a reproduction – and I like the idea that you can stand in front of the painting, and if you are close enough see where I have moved my hand. I love standing in front of paintings in the NGV and ‘feeling’ where the artist has moved – Next time you stand in front of a Rembrandt, take a second to remember that he stood in the same space you are…

To give the portrayal of an object without putting in every single detail of the object is my aim. If you go and look at some of Picasso’s later works, the abstracts, when you stand in front of them in person you can see the gouges as he has struck at the canvas with his brush and tore it across the surface to create not just a line but something more, an emotional outlet, a feeling, a strike. It is only in person that you can really, deeply appreciate a painterly art work. I hope you enjoy these works and get to see them in person. They are at RUBICON Gallery, Level 1, 309 Queensberry St. Melbourne VIC 3051 September 2nd – Opening 6 – 9pm – September 19th – Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm

P.S. Don’t forget to look out for the little #mrboxie sculptures left around North Melbourne, you can find clues to there whereabouts through my Instagram https://instagram.com/harley_manifold_artist/