Put Up Your Dukes!

Put Up Your Dukes!

Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin 18 June – 20 July 2013

the latest Achronological Manor project is Put up your Dukes!  an exhibton/pulicaton/performance played out as a visual debate between Gabrielle Amodeo and myself. The project utilised the structure of the Douglas-Lincoln debate format used in the campaign for the Illinois senate in 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas as the structure for a counterintuitive mode of collaboration.

The moot: In art, as in life, we occupy an ad-hoc middle ground in which the only certainty is the impossibility of certainty.

Put Up Your Dukes! Was played out as an elaborate standoff in which each of us (over)stated our case and elaborated on a claim to common territory. In the build-up to this exhibition new works were developed in a call/response fashion using the idea of nature as a foil, a subject matter and directive, but the debate itself centres around our different methodologies.


Sorensen states:

 I am interested in the territory where art abandons good-sense to joyfully embrace the vernacular of the stupid, the obvious, simple, pointless, pleasurable, silly, excessive, lazy, expedient and useless.


Amodeo Proposes:

Labour as it’s own reward / the person who cuts his own firewood warms himself twice / validation through accumulation (being able to cite a big number validates a project) / refer to things obliquely, answer questions with questions


the debate format:

debate format


looking down the gallery, in the centre is Garden (JS Affirmative Constructive)

at the back: PODOCARPACEAE/Dacrycarpus – ASTERACEAE/Pachystegia (GA Negative Constructive)

left wall: Resisting Societal Norms (JS Cross-Examination of Negative By Affirmative)

garden-veiw-4 resisting-12 wall-and-two-mops



Media room:

Pictures and Things from our Walls (GA Cross-Examination of Affirmative by Negative)

collection-1 collection-2

back room:

Fir Tree Small II (JS Affirmative Rebuttal)

fir-tree-small-II-1 fir-tree-small-II-4


Sound and Vision (GA Negative Rebuttal)

1012193_687525331274560_1367179076_n 1069971_687525327941227_155570087_n


A Pile of Boxes (JS Affirmative Rejoinder)


self-portrait with carrot

thinking about it, the very first drawings with carrots were not bunny drawings at all; it was these self-portraits. I did them in 2004, they were my first move away from the painting machine work I was doing at the time. They are shown here at the Whitespace gallery in Newmarket.

Self-portrait with Carrot

Bunny Girl Has A Carrot.

Bunny Girl Has A Carrot.

Bunny Boy Has His Hands In His Pockets.

A friend recently found these 50’s plastic toys in the family toy box and has let me play with them for a while.

They are great for so many reasons:

  • The girl is holding a carrot; I am sure in the 50’s that was just sweet, but as the drawer of many girl-bunny-with-carrot scenarios I find it wickedly funny.
  • The boy bunny sports a beer-belly, and with hands in pockets and workman’s overalls looks like a dodgy old-man-child.
  • The way they are cast in two colours of plastic is just odd. It highlights the seams and glue and from the front the ears are disconcertingly mismatched to the face. Even better, the girl bunny’s blue front is slightly transparent, so the pink glows through giving her a slightly pulp-horror luminosity.
  • They are rattles for baby – baby could put his/her precious eyes out with bunny’s pointy ears.
  • They seem to have just the wrong mix of animal and human attributes, rendering them scary and of dubious moral character. An artful mix indeed.

I tried to find my first bunny-carrot drawing, it turns out it was not a bunny at all but some sort of other creature.

the first carrot circa 2004

Later it was all about bunnies.

bunny with carrot, 2004

Later still it was all about bunnies with crocheted carrots, but that’s a story for another day.

is bad the new good

Today I the sun was shining so it was a good day to photograph the drawings I have made over the year.  The drawings were sorted by size but not by goodness or badness. It was easier to photograph them all while the light was good, so goats and sheep, they all got clicked. But I found that as I went through them I would greet them like old acquaintances and think ‘you’re good’ or ‘you’re bad’. But sometimes I liked the bad ones better. I would think you are kind of stinky but I like you. Or, if I didn’t like them much I would think ‘you are kind of dumb. You were dumb when I drew you and you are still dumb now’, but there is something ok about that dumbness.

Conversely with the drawings I greeted as good, some were just good and they pleased me, but some were kind of good but not surprising, so not really all that good at all. And most of the ones that pleased me I had thought were failures at the time of drawing. It was only when I had finished them that I noticed that their failure was a surprise waiting to be noticed. And then I was surprised and pleased.

These are all the drawings that I thought were bad. I quite like them; they have somehow earned my affection by not really being good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

kiss and make up – best tell him how you really feel

I thought that as I got older and more mature I would react with more grace and understanding when my beloved crossed that oh-so-fine line between funny and desperately wounding. But no, it seems I have if anything regressed and now say, or at least depict on paper, what i really feel.

this makes quite a nice little kiss and make up card, not sure if i will give it to him or not.

kiss and make up card, front
kiss and make up card, inside

here is my new blog

to start with, here is a drawing from what is intended to be an artist book. i have never wanted to exhibit my sketchbooks, of which i have many, as they are either too personal or too eclectic to satisfy me as an art artifact.  However I have been interested for a while in the possibility of purpose made books of drawings, like a mini exhibition between covers. a little bunch of meanderings tied together with string. i like the idea of each collection or book addressing some idea or condition; so far my drawings have been fairly resistant to addressing any sort of common ideas or conditions, but i live in hope. the alternative is a collection of one-page books, which could in theory be deeply conceptual, but would more likely reveal itself as deeply tragic. sometimes the two are hard to tell apart at first glance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.