The Shape of Words brings together three artists working with text in a variety of ways. Twenty five years ago we met as students at the QUT Painting and Sculpture studios. We were looking to refresh our ideas in a profession that’s always been isolating in its practice. It’ll be interesting to see just where we are in relation to each other when the work is hung, I’m sure there’ll be many levels of interaction in the show.
The work I’m presenting under the title Reflector: painting out of fashion, stems from fashion photographs and their presentation of the human figure as a formal and stylistic vehicle for clothing. Late last year I was thumbing through a Myer catalogue of fashion plates presenting a diverse quotation of styles as models for identification and consumption. I name them roughly as Tennesee Williams’ Deep South , John Steinbeck’s depression era , Artemesia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes, Lara Croft Tomb Raider etc. The craft in these fashion plates combines copy-writing, photography and graphic layout, the light and severe cropping are concise,often collaged into tableaux that build a relationship between image and consumer. My last show brought decorative surfaces as layered systems for scattering the figure, so I guess I now had an eye for the layering of meaning in these images.
The figures in these highly crafted photographs are held by the frame, in the better ones they’re also holding positions, tensed by spaces between figure and frame. I added lines to the figures to reinforce what I saw taking place in the compositions, as I originally drew them into the photographs I noticed the lines often pointed to narrative elements deeper in the images.
In the work for this show I’ve used a variety of supports ranging through steel, brass plate, burlap, linen and woven polyester. I admire fashion photography, its’ brave flatness, and I’ve given these images the slightly ruined look of a fantasy whose layers peel back to reveal the armature of a figurative construct.