Metaphor and the thingness of things

There’s probably a cool Zen way to say this, but I’m not really interested in the “thingness” of things. When I paint, I’m mostly concerned with how it feels to be in an environment, not what it looks like, and certainly not what the individual items are. These are not trees, they are patches of light and colour, glimpsed uncertainly and rendered with paint and brush.

Portrait III, 2012, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 55 x 75 cm
Portrait III, 2012, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 55 x 75 cm

Even so, a while back I felt I ought to show some of the trees a bit more respect as individuals. Some of them had been around a long time, and had survived or succumbed to many bush fires over the years. So I started this portrait series of drawings, thinking how the trees showed the ravages of time and events in much the same way as we do, how some of us survive while others perish and so on… then I began to sneeze violently and I remembered I have an allergy to metaphor. So I stopped.

I’ve no problem with folks using metaphors if that’s where they’re most comfortable, but personally I feel there are enough misunderstandings without talking obliquely and cloaking stuff in veils of double-meaning.

I was pretty happy with the way these two drawings turned out though.

Portrait III, 2012, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 75 x 55 cm
Portrait III, 2012, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 75 x 55 cm

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