We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Graeme Drendel The deeper you go

oil on canvas

152.9 x 168.4 cm

As happens with quite a few of my paintings, this one surprised me, leading me to where it wanted to go. It began with three figures standing on solid ground. One after another, more characters insinuated themselves into the composition. Then the water appeared.

It’s been suggested to me that the painting has embedded within it some of the insecurity and tension we’ve endured through various lockdowns over the past year. That idea wasn’t front of mind as I painted it and is just one way of reading the work.

My concern was simply to work with this disparate group of characters who have somehow converged together, marooned perhaps, connected only by coincidence, wading tentatively into deeper water.

Graeme Drendel, 2021