Pre July Seminar musings

4 July 2014

I have revisited the work of Bill Viola yesterday and this morning and realize that he is probably the most important or key influence for me at the moment on many levels. Colin McCahon in considering translation of imagery (in his early works from European renaissance symbolism to NZ context) and wrestle/depiction of faith and doubt is another (though not as contemporary) and also Rothko “whose shimmering viels of colour as portals to a metaphysical world” (Spencer 2014) has fascinated me for many years. In regard to photography Ferren and Woodman are influences and sources of inspiration. Both make use of black and white, ethereal presences, depiction of the unseeable and contain both intelluctual and emotional content.

Back to Viola… in reading about him and his practice I realize many aspects of his practice inspire me and resonate with my own sense of purpose – not wanting to sound grandiose at all! (my work is so much smaller in scale and different in expression/medium I am a bit anxious to talk about Bill Viola in relation to my own work). As I read about him and what he says there is this affirmation in me that yes, yes I feel that too I also have that sense of purpose about my work it helps me answer the WHY in me as Sarah Charlesworth and Rothko help me or guide me to the HOW in some respects…..some of the themes I work with life/death, spiritual/secular trying to portray the indescribable and unseeable are parallels with Viola, Charlesworth, Rothko and McCahon. I realize that part of the reason I have departed from painting (which is my absolute passion) is due to fear – fear that I will not be able to represent my ideas in a contemporary way and that it has all been done before what can I add? The process of this photographic work is helping me to have a glimmer of hope on the horizon that perhaps I can return to painting or combine it with the other mediums I am working with – artist model Paul Sloan who combines painting with photography and sculpture.

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