When I was a teenager, my brother and his girlfriend decided to take me to an exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales called Body, thinking that it was probably figurative painting or something. It was a Mike Parr retrospective and it blew my mind.
It can take time to process and digest an artist’s work. Mike Parr is so hard core, but underneath there’s always a sensitivity and sophistication. His work is never explicit for the sake of it. He’s constantly reviewing himself and his practice, again and again. Now, as a painter, his work makes complete sense to me – whether it’s performance or sculpture or drawing or photography.
I remember seeing Bronze liars in the contemporary galleries, in front of 12 of his self-portrait etchings. It was the first time I’d seen two-dimensional and three-dimensional works by one artist synthesising in such an honest way. He also sculpted the backs of each of these faces blindfolded, so the expression from the back changes and has an almost braille-like quality.
I do figurative sculpture in steel and plaster. I haven’t shown many, but I will eventually. Right now, I don’t feel the need to let them out of the studio; I like having them around. I find I’m looking at sculpture more and more when I paint and when I think about painting.