Ray Firth spends a lot of time looking at the world from the sky. Wild Island caught up with our current exhibiting artist, for the low-down on his exciting body of work.
WI: What is your background and how and why did you get into painting?
RF: I grew up in Moree on the dry north west plains of NSW, going to university in Sydney to study architecture. I worked as an architect until the early 1990’s. My first exhibition was a solo show at the Burnie Street Gallery in Sydney in 1991, following a near fatal accident that led me to reassess things a bit. I became a full time painter around that time and continue painting and exhibiting around Australia.
WI: Your work is refreshingly bright, tell us about your use of colour and pattern?
RF: My work is a response to the patterns and textures of the land, the sky and the landscape generally. I like bright patterned things. Our world often shows itself to me through little experiences of exquisite beauty. Marvelous, beautiful things are there in the bush for that fleeting moment, and then they’re gone.The flight of a parrot, a ground orchid that comes from nowhere, performs fabulously and then is gone in a couple of days, the bright midday sun and deep shade, the colours of a bruising storm over the dry land.
‘The Beautiful Creek’ Acrylics and inks on rag paper, 59 x 55cm
WI: Each of your works has a wonderful poetic name, how much do words influence your practice?
RF: I think it helps to give an insight into the painting and its generation. A few words help to begin the journey of discovering the content of the picture. Just a little help to get started. Everyone already knows the answer, I think, but a little word mud map is a great help anyway!
WI: We’ve also heard you’re a bit of a pro with the hang glider… Do you think this influences your work at all?
RF: Definitely!!! It’s part of the experience of being in and understanding the bush I guess. The sky is a great thing to inhabit for a little bit. It’s all too wonderful really!
See Ray flying here:
WI: What do you hope people take away from your work?
RF: I love the world. I love the bush. I am part of this marvelous weather worn country.
I want people to get the feel of that deep love and respect I have for it.
Every painting is a little message from one mind to another. It’s a perspective, and an aspect of things as I see them.
WI: What will we be seeing in the future work of Ray Firth?
RF: More of the same…maybe more sculpture, and lots of flying I hope!
See more of Ray’s work here.
‘South by Instinct’ continues until March 14 2017.