Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ninth Elegy, details

I am interested in how you can create a narrative through use of detail and material. In a lot of my work, I use black on black, or white on white detail. From a distance, it reads as one surface and colour. But in certain light, or on closer inspection, the colour has a three dimensional or tactile quality, which I hope provides another reading of the work.

In a letter, Rilke once wrote:

Nature, the things we move among and use, are provisional and perishable; but, so long as we are here, they are OUR possession and our friendship, sharing the knowledge of our grief and gladness, as they have already been the confidants of our forebears...

The woman in the original photo is my Great Aunt Molly. In my painting she stands before a window. From the side of the window emerge a ship, a whale and a heart.
The ship is a copy of one that originally circumnavigated the coastline of southern Australia. The whale is a Southern Right whale, a whale that followed the same route, and after settlement, became a hunted species and industry flourished in the areas that it swam. It now swims freely in the same waters. In my collection of photos, there are a number of people collecting ferns, and that is what grows out from the figure's head.

Rilke writes:

...Look, I'm living.
On what?
Neither my childhood
nor my future
is growing smaller...
in excess
wells up
in my heart.

Ninth Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke