Tag Archives: Victoria

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?

 

 

Selfies are most popular in AUSTRALIA.

 

  • Selfies are most popular in AUSTRALIA.
  • There are over 1 million selfies taken per day.
  • 36% of people admitted to altering their selfies
  • Selfies makeup 30% of the photos being taken by 18 – 24 yr olds
  • 50% of men and 52% of women have taken a selfie

(Mini) Monuments to now

Mirrors reverse realities, depending on the size of the frame through which you view an image of the mirror – it can seem real, or it can seem like a reflection. As the reflection is itself not a place we can enter. As such it is a good paradox that is reflective of how we use, view and sometimes compare our lives through social media.

““Me Me Me Generation, here are a few basic facts: the National Institutes of Health reports that the incidence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is three times as high for people in their 20s as for folks 65 or older; 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982; 40 percent of millennials believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance; and the obsession with fame among the young is apparently so superheated that three times as many girls 11 to 13 want to grow up to be a celebrity’s personal assistant instead of a US senator.”

Why the Art World’s Raging Narcissism Epidemic Is Killing Art

In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media. The way we construct ourselves in these selfies that we push out into the world is fascinating!  The self-consumed nature of it is referenced by the titles which highlights the world news – and arguably much more important – events that are happening while we focus inwards.

As my new series of paintings explore, sometimes it is hard to tell are we looking at a real space, or a space in a mirror – reality / reflection.

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In the above image, the viewer is uncertain as to whether they are looking into a room with someone photographing them – or are we looking at someone’s self portrait taken in a mirror within the room behind the subject? This question becomes even more confusing when standing in-front of the painting and taking a photo of it through a tablet, or smart phone similar to the one in the photo. The experience is unusual and reality bending.

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The works tackle identity, communication and alienation in a self-promotional era. The majority of the paintings being painted in Public bathrooms in front of the mirrors with the urinals, or as the laconic title “Pissers” is a tip of the hat to my tendency to take the piss – both out of others yet mainly myself – something which identifies distinctly as Australian and nods to my upbringing on a rural farm in Victoria. These works are serious, and seriously taking the piss. Again there is a duality.

SOLD Selected for the Salon Des Refuses of The Archibald

This series all started on returning from Africa, I broke my ankle and when I returned I aimed to start plein air painting the urban-scape of Melbourne, however I found after the injury heading out around Melbourne with crutches and a car that had been written off was impossible.

$720 Framed
This is the first bathroom painting I did, previous to the mirror series, it’s a miniature called “Carpet Diem’. #mrboxie is lying down to the left of the oversized bath.

So it began – For me, the bathroom is a private and cocoon like place. In fact, when I was young it was the only room in the house that had a lock, creating a quiet sanctuary for me to be without question or interruption. In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media.

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Like #mrboxie, we are connected yet disconnected. My face is deliberately not defined in the paintings. Yet as paintings, which are archivable, they juxtapose against digital selfies that are only valid till the next one is constructed, my paintings are a monument to now.

If you enjoy these there is an exhibition in the Central Goldfields Gallery in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia from the 10th of September. Previews are available in Melbourne starting today. The online preview is here www.harleym.net

#tmacm

Spot the Difference

Much like a kid at the beach trying to save their sandcastle from the ceaseless rush of ocean – It is an almost endless process this painting thing.

But yet like most things, there is an end, or somewhere closer to the finishing line. I had a solo show open earlier this year and I had been playing catch up since returning from that seaside residency in February.

Out of interest I am showing you some of the paintings before (as they were in the show) and after, which I hope you will find as fascinating as I do.

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$3300

MANIFOLDharley (1 of 1)

These are an interesting pair, it’s a little like spot the difference. I’m already seeing things I’d like to change… Again…

 

120-Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping I want to be Alone Oil on Belgian Linen 130x200cm 2015

Fascinatingly the older version (top painting) looks somewhat better on screen – I am however certain that it is much better in person, at over 6ft across it is difficult to get a real feel for it on screen… Isn’t it pretty to think so? Thank you Hemmingway.

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Hope you are having a great week so far! Feel free to come and visit the studio if you are interested in the paintings. There is always something interesting going on in here!

Or go visit my latest show of miniature paintings at ‘CONTAINED’  2nd – 19th September at Rubicon ARI, Level 1 – 309 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne.

– TONIGHT – SOLO SHOW LAUNCH

I am so happy to announce that my solo show is now open. With the publicity generated through articles in The Age, news coverage by Channel TEN and Nine news as well as 3AW things are looking good. Not to mention all the pre sales that have clocked into the 5 figures.

Come and enjoy the show.

No Vacancy Gallery – 34 jane bell Lane (off Russel st. side) Melbourne. Tonight 6 – 9

SOLD

Self Portraits in Plaster Study for The Tunnel 12.7 x 17.5 cm Oil on Board 2014 Self Portraits in Plaster

$250
$250

 

…:::Plein Air:::…

Plein AirPLein Air

Managed to get some rare plein air time in this morning, was a bit smoggy. The clouds were less intense than the light on the ground. And I met the bottle man, who if you look at the second picture places bottles in rows on the ground in the same spot and everynow and then either smashes or replaces them…And here was me thinking it was a VCA arts student doing it… Which seems more interesting than the painting itself!

Denis Napthine… Well I already painted his portrait…

Ted Baillieu
Denis Napthine, Charity Portrait

So I’m not known for my portraits of politicians, but I finished this portrait last year for a fundraiser for ArtLink, helping students with special needs continue to have the chance to make art…It’s still available for sale…

When I did the portrait of Denis Napthine, Ted Baillieu was still in power for the Liberals in Victoria. I asked Denis for one word that would describe him to all.

‘Determined’.

Was his answer. It seems he was and is. Pre – Emptive?