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A Love Affair with Harold

2011 Incinerator Art Space, Willoughby, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Artist's Statement

A Love Affair with Harold is a personal revelation of works on paper and sculptural installation inspired by daily visits over many years to Harold Reid Reserve in Middle Cove. 


This work explores a love of the micro environment ‘Harold’, and a development of a personal mythos of the spirit of place: the Genius Loci. ‘Harold’ is the name by which local residents know the reserve, ‘going for a walk in Harold’ or ‘taking the dog to Harold’ is heard frequently in my neighborhood. Harold is one of Willoughby’s treasures; this work is my homage to a glorious place much loved.


What is Harold?

Place of high warm sandstone thrusting out to sea

 encircled by dark water, waves and winds, fish and boats.

All covered with dancing trees, human in their expressive gesture, their scars and shedding bits.

With bush and plants a multitude of forms and textures, of mathematics and delicate fractal pattern. 

Full of raven sound; carol of magpie and currawong; shrieking of white cockie;

Infused with scent of honey; eucalyptus and quick burning.

A place of mythic and contemporary intertwining, of ancient shelters, middens and gas barbeques. 

Yet still a sacred space for joy and freedom, solace and deep magic.

The oneness of all creation - reconnection. 

Harold is a source for me. I draw constantly there, find forms and observe the flora and fauna. From these initial observations, and the quiet reflective time Harold gives me, a different type of inspiration comes.


Associations with a personal mythic language develop – these associations spring from the land itself but are not observed externally- human/bird- human/plant hybrids come into being. These hybrids are an expression of the unifying of human consciousness with the rest of creation, they are archetypal and cross cultural. Historically they also express certain human psychological experiences when present in the genius loci.


  • Bird Woman is an expression of spiritual freedom: she dances with everything, and melds with the sun and the moon in the bliss of living. She is a Skydancer.

  • Raven Man is a darker archetype: he also expresses freedom, but is wilder and trickier.  The raven has shamanic roots in many cultures.

  • The Green Man is an old British and European archetype; he signifies the union of man and nature.

  • Magpie Woman represents the joy of life: she takes whatever is offered with curiosity, and builds something beautiful from it, and she expresses no fear.


At Harold the trees dance, they seem as people dancing, the birds dance and the mushrooms and fungi after rain are as the whirling skirts of human dancers – and so to the dance of the earth, the myriad forms of the earth element dancing, in the vitality of life energy.

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