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Birds on Oak

Honeyeater - by Scott Neoh
Honeyeater – by Scott Neoh

“That painting’s upside down”  someone remarked.  No, the bird’s upside down.  Once you figure this out, it does make you wander about the composition of all the other bird portraits.  They’re very deliberate.

I dropped by the opening of Scottie Neoh’s ‘Birds on Oak’ exhibition last night.  I wasn’t surprised to see three of the paintings had sold in the first fifteen minutes of the doors opening. Scottie has an eye for painting animals and capturing their characteristics beautifully.  He’s an avid birdwatcher and if you get a chance, be sure to ask him about the birds featured.   “The blue wren has a terribly short attention span, like it has ADD,” he tells me “It can’t stand in the one place for longer than a few seconds. Whereas the kookaburrow – which I prefer –  can sit in the one place all day practising it’s song.”  I explained to him that I often have little birds come perch on my windowsill and tap on the glass.  “Yeah yeah,” he laughs “thats probably a blue wren.  They hop around tapping at their reflection.”

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a recurring motif of wood, branches, leaves and other artifacts from nature finding their way into Melbourne galleries.  Are the artists reacting to one another and merely embracing a ‘natural’ aesthetic or is there a collective unconscious yearning – amongst the city dwelling artist- for the country? I can’t speak for all the other artists but for Scott, the depictions of nature in his work could be drawn from any view from his home.  He’s not a city kid.

Scottie lives in the sticks, about an hour out of Melbourne on a 50 acre block.  His friends out there are the animals that frequent the surroundings of his little mud brick cottage.  He was telling me that earlier this week he opened his living room blinds in a flash to see a 6ft kangaroo standing a meter away.  The kangaroo was paused in it’s tracks staring him down with it’s arms flexed infront of it like a bodybuilder.”It’s arm were built!” he told me.  I knew what he meant, I remember seeing a roo in Queensland that had such defined biceps it looked like it had been doing push-ups all day.  The roo outside Scottie’s window didn’t cause any trouble, it soon hopped on about it’s business.

‘Birds on Oak’ is showing until the December 1st.  I recommend you go check it out and then you go bird watching.

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