Recurrence and repetition are strong motivators for my creative thinking. But it isn’t the simple notion of duplication that I work with in using recurring motifs and repetitive imagery. I work with the internal agitation associated with the repetitive divergence and disruption of the simulacrum. Such an agitation relates to the recurring memory that is just beyond grasp and recall, or to the selection made for reasons beyond comprehension or familiarity. I work with the recurring influences of the past that are at work in our present actions.
I’m intrigued with the way lens-based imagery bridges the gap between what is seen and what is remembered. In my artwork, photographic imagery represents an unending recurrence of memory and lived experience from the past that interrupts the present moment of looking. I work with the idea that we see with our memory, and our memories activate the objects we see. As such, we see more than the object in front of us. We see an imaginary dream-image formed by fragments of remembered experiences that mingle with an elusive something within a photograph or an object that attracts us. These projects have led to my current work which is visible on the home page exhibition of this site.
Deep Looking explores what it is to see with memory. When we see, our sight takes in the scene in front of us. Objects move in and out of focus in the space they occupy as our eyes scan what we see. But seeing with memory doesn’t work this way. Fragmented images come and go in our mind as we look, disrupting what we see in the moment of looking. The images in this series are not digitally manipulated. They are captured directly as I scan a hand-held vintage photograph with my iPhone. This series is a full portfolio of twenty images printed with pigment inks on Hahnemüle A2 Photo Rag 308gsm matte paper.
The Conjugated Museum
In 2018 I was given access to The Fitzwilliam Museum Collections for a year-long research residency. Using my mobile phone, I photographed works that ‘pulled me in’ through an intuitive act of looking. My purpose was to explore how seeing was transformed in real time and to understand how my own process of looking mapped onto unknown cultural objects. I wanted to understand how objects were being transformed by these processes. This was a challenge because these transformations would not be visible—could not be made visible; they would remain in a latent state, but I have visualised examples of what these transformation might look like through digital manipulation of the photographic image. Therefore, the space of these images is neither photographic nor cinematic—the space is virtual, with temporal disruptions, cascading fluid repetitions, spatial displacements and isometric geometries. A3 sized prints are made with the UV printing method of pigment inks on bible paper. The transparent book is a unique artist book object sized 16 x 10 cm with an acrylic case.
Reflex represent two different, but aligned, groups of work. These are images that are not what they seem. One group are shadows cast from my mobile phone; so, images of an object capturing evidence of its own presence in a kind of visual object ontology. The other are not images at all, but digital imaging effects which create an uncanny sense of the familiar. Sometimes a memory does not have a definable form, just a sense of something familiar. Therefore, this group of work explores the non-visible sense of being and the familiar.
This group of digital and analog works explores the replication, and what I call ‘hyper-replication,’ of a single image using flip and mirror functions in Photoshop and mono-printing to uncover latent patterns that are otherwise invisible in the single image. These form a variety of output from paintings to dye-sublimation prints on aluminium to vinyl wallpaper.
This small series was my first serious engagement with digital manipulations. It also used photographed objects from The Fitzwilliam Museum collection several years before I was researcher in residence. The group is an exploration of the style biases we develop from our familial influences. Working with the idea that these influences formed a personal aesthetic, this was a precursor to my notion of seeing with memory. Dye-sublimation prints on aluminium, sizes vary.