Thomas: The Moment Before Connecting was the first in a series of enamel paintings inspired by film stills. It was exhibited at my first, self-produced show, Hazed, in Brisbane, in 1997, and argued the idea that episodes from every contemporary, hyper-mediated life are edited and replayed in memory as cinematic fragments. These paintings were the out-takes, the isolated frames, with characters extracted from familiar yet unresolved scripts.
Most of the other works in the Film Stills series were glossy, colourful and sexually suggestive, each unabashed by the inspiration they drew from the clichés of advertising and mass-media entertainment. But Thomas: The Moment Before Connecting was different. It was a unique (in my work) expression of masculine tension, tapping a primal undercurrent of frustration and violence. It was also the first to reveal my own sexual duality. I used my own brother, Thomas, as its model.
Thomas: The Moment Before Connecting remains an unsettling, atypical work from a decade-long oeuvre that focuses on the way female identity is shaped, sometimes insidiously, by media. Yet it remains at the very core of ideas that still pre-occupy my imagination and for which I am still looking for a coherent – and yes, filmic – ‘edit’.
(For Lawson-Menzies auction catalogue, 2013)