Opportunity shops — charity or thrift stores, kringloops, kirpis et al elsewhere — are full of treasures that reward with repeat visits. All manner of discarded objects form the inventory, where lucky finds and sad things butt up against one another. Hawk-eye bargain hunters and budget shoppers plow the depths in search of needs, wants and obsessions. And among them all is me, curious.

Perusing the shelves I stumbled on one of these mass-produced, cheaply-made, dust-covered figurines that appear to have lain dormant on a shelf somewhere for years. I don’t know their origin but I’d bet that they were originally purchased in a two dollar shop and were inspired by more expensive statuettes, possibly ‘collectible’.

Over the course of a year, I collected many figurines. With a keen eye on grime and signs of time, I gathered these six characters together to represent what could be termed an idyllic lifestyle. In all but one, these rural stereotypes hark back to simpler times when life was about finding carrots, petting your swan, tending your sheep or gazing into nothingness.

What pulled me towards these objects was the character contained within the faces. The way the dust has settled and combined with loosely painted features to create persona, to paint a portrait.


Bucolia, 2007

Pigment prints

25 x 20 cm each


Artist In Residence
National Art School, Sydney
February – December 2007