University of Tasmania

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[Documentation of work produced within the course of Masters degree in Fine Art]

posted on 2023-05-26, 18:38 authored by Moorhouse, Kaye
My work has always been concerned with a layered image; whether reflections through glass, water or projected slides, in an attempt to produce photography that is not just a single event, but contains layers of space and time. In an attempt to have greater control over all the elements of the photograph, and to achieve the depth of image desired, required the development of a collage technique, using transparent bromides suspended in water in conjunction with my own photographs. Having collected the images (whether self made or found), one is then free to construct the image much as one would a painting or poem. Unlike traditional collage methods however, the use of glass, water and acetate, the action of light on so many reflectit-e surf aces., produces such distortion and fusion of images that one is able to transform the original images, thus constructing a new work, and this is a technique I wish to continue developing. The elements of time, history, past, future, decay, memory (best described using a collage method) are subject matter influenced by a recent trip to Europe, where the transformations of time and decay, the sense of things being~ not fixed, but in a constant state of change, is so much more obvious. The foot~holes worn in stone steps, testament to the passing of now-vanished generations, the physical quality of frescoes - not of style or subject matter - but rather the flaking paint, the faded image, the areas of stone wall that have started to reappear as if the painting, the painter and the ideas of his time had never existed. These works contain so many layers. The history of the painting, the life of the time and of the painter, the works' place in art history, the myth of the story projected, and the physical wearing of time and history on the actual artwork. Danish churches have a ship hanging from the ceiling signifying one's individual journey from birth to death. Roman ruins, reconstructions of Roman life, reveal people's basic needs have remained similar since 200A.D. Only signs are left behind of the individual's journey, memories, deeds, grave markers - like the roomful of ancient tombstones seen in Thailand - time having worn away inscriptions in an unknown language. As with the frescoes, a history is erased or another layer added, and an individual history becomes part of a collective history. I was also intrigued by painting pre-1500, before the invention of perspective. The problems of perspective are solved inherently by photography, yet when using a collage method, they arise again. A picture may depict a man's life deeds birthplace, schooling, conquests, funeral procession and so back to his birthplace all on the one plane. In these pictures the importance of the figure or event is expressed by its size and position within the whole, the comparative size of objects being ruled by emotion and importance, rather than perspective. One of photography's greatest strengths is its relation to life, in that, in order to depict an event, whether staged or not, that event must have actually occurred. This is also very limiting when dealing with a mental rather than physical reality - when trying to externalize an internal world. I have gathered a collection of newspaper photographs, which, when taken out of context and juxtaposed, can be used to illustrate many human themes. This frees the photographer from having to 'shop' for images, or use models to represent life. Newspaper images become a library which can then be used as freely as the imagination. Newspaper images are collective, shared and seen by everyone and set very much in the everyday. I would like to use these everyday images of our time, to evoke the passage of time, transitoriness, distant glimpses - like fleeting memories - of things one once knew to be real as one's surroundings now appear real, and death is a part of this. This transformation of the everyday must also be achieved within the actual method of representation - the physical quality of the finished print - achieved through the layering and distortion available with my-working method, resulting in a fusion and poetry of images, one which relies on the association of images, rather than narrative theme or structure. This would entail developing work methods which may include hand colouring, painting, inking or scratching on glass, the use of mural paper, and the use of my own images in conjunction with newspaper images to complete ideas, as the greater clarity of photographs has a sense of immediacy not contained in the comparatively distant quality of newsprint photographs. March 1987. While generally adhering to the original proposal, the idea of using newspaper photographs and found images was discarded after the first review in June 1987. Proving restrictive, it resulted in a literal and narrative reading of 'history', instead of the evocations of transitoriness and absence which I hoped to achieve. Thereafter, while retaining the collage method, specific photographs were taken to be used in combination in each new series of work. Many of the concerns, the working method and particularly the source material outlined have, however, remained relevant, whilst undergoing considerable clarification, development and refinement as a result of access to photographic theory, and the general critical and theoretical components of the course. November 1989


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Copyright 1989 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1990. Includes bibliographical references

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