Metal as Anything showcases thirty years of the diverse and intricate etchings of Townsville artist Ron McBurnie. A place where misbehaving dogs, ducks in box kites, jumping cats and eccentric toad shooters meet to examine their place in the carnival of characters and landscapes that the artist has created.
McBurnie's etchings are inspired by whatever he is exposed to at the time, "If I am marvelling at an old print, then that inspires me. If I hear an idiotic story about a corrupt politician then that story will inspire me. If I am playing a piece of music that takes me to an extraordinary place, then that is my inspiration. To me, inspiration for my work comes from a variety of different sources. Sometimes ideas and inspiration come from the weirdest of sources."
The diversity of events, both large and small, that inspire McBurnie's artworks are telling of the artist's greatest strength - his ability to highlight the weird and wonderful events that occur in our ‘mundane' suburban environment. It is so easy for these fleeting, humorous moments to be lost, buried underneath the drudgery and commitments of our daily grind. McBurnie, unlike most, captures these moments in his own life and ensures they are not misplaced.
This was Whistler's mother's cat's third attempt to jump onto the table of the Margaret Olley painting captures one such moment. Certainly, to watch a cat jump into a painting would be cause for a chuckle, providing the viewer was not overly attached to the cat in question, or an over-zealous animal protection activist.
To hear the story secondhand from a friend may provide a wry smirk, but is unlikely to distract one from their daily routine. For McBurnie though, it captures his overactive imagination, with the endless possibilities from this event taking precedence in his mind, and sparking him into action, "I was interested in his account of this incident because I hadn't realised that cats had the ability to see two-dimensional images in three dimensions – now I wonder why our pets don't watch more TV."