Artist Stephen Eastaugh comes to Redfern this week with artwork and a new book.
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1960 he, explicably, has two fathers. Both were sailors and – both – were either the cause or inspiration for Eastaugh’s self-diagnosed disease: an unremitting, uncontrollable and incurable need to travel.
In the guise of artist-as-raconteur, traveller-as-artist and lost-confused-and-fuzzy, Eastaugh’s limited edition book, Unstill-Life, explores three decades of travel and art on the road and was written at Mawson Base during the Antarctic winter of 2009 while undertaking his third stint on an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Division. He currently moves between Australia, Argentina and … elsewhere.
”I have heard the term ‘The Ice gets into your blood’ from numerous polar characters on many icebreakers in the vast Southern Ocean. After a considerable amount of time working in Antarctica I believe that this is one reason why I travelled far north to attend two art residencies. I very much craved more ice and more barren landscape and I also wished to introduce my partner to the white worlds of the high latitudes. Upernavik in north-west Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat is the official name of this northern autonomous country) and Hafnarfjordur on the west coast of Iceland were the two locations that lured me as they both had the potential to quench these icy landscape desires of mine."
These small paintings are a selection of Arctic works that skate about topics such as – long dark winters, moss and lava fields, hunting seals and nawhal, new geothermal landscapes and the manner in which the new Christian faith has basically buried most Innuit traditional religious beliefs. Somewhat exotic themes but I do hope that I have somehow made these foreign views a little familiar or perhaps even intimate in a kind of frigid, hand-stitched mixed-media manner.