Rob McHaffie

Pave Paradise and Put Up A Pavilion. 2011, oil on board, 31 x 23cm. Contributed to the fundraising event Art for Nature 2011.

Australian artist Rob McHaffie undertook a 3-month Asialink residency at Rimbun Dahan in 2011.

“Each day at Rimbun Dahan I am making a drawing that responds to a verse in the Tao te Ching, Lao Tsu’s book of wisdom. The Tao could be said to be the way of nature and is a guide for people to live in harmony with the universe. Drawing inspiration form Malaysia’s fantastic but depleting wildlife and the spirituality of people living here I hope to find some interesting imagery and stories that will illuminate where we are heading and the possibility of living sustainable peaceful lives.”



Rob McHaffie is a Melbourne based artist, having graduated from Victorian College of the Arts drawing department in 2002.The images in McHaffie’s paintings are often derived from shapes formed from roughly assembled and seemingly mismatched objects. Rather than paint from life, McHaffie chooses what could be described as the poor man’s life model, sculpting characters from modeling compound and adding scraps of fabric, discarded clothes and bric-a-brac to create imagined portraits and tableaus. This method contributes to an unusual mixture of pathos and amusement in the paintings. The scenes depicted might simply be laughable, if it were not for the fact that the artist has captured within each scene (and echoed within each title) certain life truths.

Rob’s daily practice consists of diary and journal work, and collecting found and personal imagery to form the basis of his drawing, painting and sculpture. Rob participated in exhibitions and residencies in Australia, New Zealand, France, and the USA and is represented by Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney, and Brett McDowell Gallery in Dunedin.