This series of digital prints, Polygon Cities, began after a discussion with the director of Walker Street Gallery in Dandenong, an Melbourne outer suburb. She was keen to mount an exhibition of my work but I was stuck with the problem of deciding between a series of paintings I had made on the subject of place or some digital prints about the same theme that I had recently started work on.
Although I had exhibited a few of the paintings elsewhere I wasn't convinced that, as a body, these works had developed enough for a one-person show. The few prints I completed showed interesting possibilities which I was keen to explore, hence we decided to schedule an exhibition in 2010 called Psychogeographies.
Although the term has become somewhat overused, the activity it describes, wandering around an urban area for no other reason than the stimulation it delivers, has always held a lifelong importance for me. Whether it's a large foreign metropolis or a small local country town, the greatest pleasure of visiting unfamiliar places is the aimless wandering it affords.
Selecting the sites to be represented in the exhibition posed no problems because I had collected a photographic archive of images to choose from. I've never been a fan of the scenic and picturesque and my eye tends to be drawn to fairly ordinary locations which most people would dismiss as unworthy of attention. What interests me is how I respond to a place, questions such as; do I dislike it here, for example fast food architecture always irritates me while I'm often fascinated by industrial landscapes, particularly the mining town of Broken Hill.
The scheduled date for the exhibition and the number of works decided upon did not allow much time for fully developing the prints, and another small problem was my relative unfamiliarity with the 3D modelling package I had bought specifically to make the work. Given these constraints, I decided that the resulting rough edges of the modelling, texturing and lighting would have to become part of the aesthetic.
This decision should not necessarily be viewed as sidestepping these issues; I had never used digital technology for fine art before and its tendency towards perfection was at odds with the analogue technologies I had previously worked with. The art world has always prized evidence of the hand of the artist which the digital medium denies and these prints reveal that contradiction. Nowadays I am no longer bothered by that contradiction and accept the critical importance of working with the constraints of the medium.
Lastly, the title Polygon Cities may require an explanation. A polygon is the basis of 3D modelling, it describes either a triangle or quadrangle that can be textured and digitally lit and all the objects seen in these prints are comprised of hundreds if not thousands of polygons. The title is also the name of a piece of elctronic music I enjoyed at the time I worked on this project.