Project. (Un) Conscious Spaces.
My work engages with notions of photography, sculpture and installation as a means of critically exploring our relationship with visual culture. I am concerned with what lies between these areas and how they interrelate.
I am interested in the cross cultural equivalents or slippages occurring between the media representation of the deserts of Australia and those of the USA. I am curious about the parallel visual narratives which are often common to them and which inform our mythic imagination as scientific fact, historical spectacle or pop cultural fiction. Our understanding of and relationship with these landscapes owes much to a rich vein of photographic and film culture in regard to their creation in the mind of the viewer as remote, strange and transformative metaphysical places. Places both real and imagined.
This series of works bridges the photographic and the sculptural -photographically reconstructing huge fragments of desert terrain and displacing virtual fragments into museum spaces to create massive mural scale photo / object works. These hybrid works break with the formalising colonial eye prevalent in conventional landscape imagery and also question the ambiguous notion of objectivity.
These images are similar to those made by NASA satellites when mapping distant alien landscapes. I have digitally scanned across the near middle ground of desert terrains to create giant panoramic fragments reconstructed from multiple overlapping images. These composite images do not conform to any normalising compositional framing. The images exterior configuration assumes abstract geometric shapes which traverse the field of view at odd angles - content and image shape are unrelated and contradictory. The result simultaneously presents both a detailed high resolution map of the desert surface framed within a jagged abstract sculptural fragment. A fragment which also represents a physical record of the camera’s eye as it tracks and vectors across the terrain.
The use of large scale to realise this work is critical. Scale creates a sense of physical awareness, it generates a measure influencing the way the body responds to an image. Scale creates a perceptual dynamic between reactive and cognitive space, it forges a link between the work and the viewer while engaging with the physicality of the gallery space.
These images, as Lewis Carroll proposed ‘use the country itself, as its own map’. Though they are fractured analogues of their originating sites, they explore the notion of objectivity as both a representational and physical experience. Each work presents an interiority where content is intimately described in crystalline detail, while at a distance the work has the physical presence of a massive object - sculptural and abstract. These are artworks which can be looked into or looked at – simultaneously objective and subjective.
It is not my intention to reconcile these perceptual experiences, but to throw them into question. It is the contradictory rupture between image and object which intrigues me. As much as they map and dramatize remote continental deserts, this work also maps the conceptual terrain between photography and the object. The works are meant to engage with the viewer and to generate paradoxical questions regarding the conscious and unconscious relationships which flow between the body, the art work and the installation site. Rather than simply being aesthetic creations they are artworks for contemplation.