Bill Viola

Although the Adelaide Festival of Arts is coming to a close, the highlight of the visual art programme was definitely the works of Bill Viola.  Never before has a collection of Viola’s work been experienced on such a scale in Australia.  A master of the video art medium, his work is dramatic and thought-provoking.  The Artistic Director of the Festival David Sefton sums up Viola’s work;

“Viola’s work ranges from the intimate to the epic while always retaining elements of deep spirituality and thoughtfulness; poignant, often moving and always evocative.  Viola is without doubt one of the artists responsible for video art being considered an art form worthy of proper attention…”

7 large-scale works were installed over 3 venues – The Art Gallery of South Australia, St Peter’s Cathedral and Queen’s Theatre.  Many of these works have never been seen before in Australia and were drawn from his extensive collection of works from 1996 – 2012.  I had the privilege of attending a forum with Bill Viola and Kira Perov in which he discussed his art practice and the concepts behind many of his works.

Fire Woman 2005, Colour High-Definition video projection

Fire Woman 2005 (still sequence), Colour High-Definition video projection, 4 channel sound (4.1), 11:12 mins

The above images were taken from Fire Woman which depicts the silhouette of a female figure standing before a wall of flames. After a few moments, she steps forward, opens her arms and falls into her own reflection…

When the flames of passion and fever finally engulf the inner eye, and the realisation that desire’s body will never again be met blinds the seer, the reflecting surface is shattered and collapses into its essential form – undulating wave patterns of pure light…

– as printed in the exhibition catalogue

The above work in addition to Tristan’s Ascension were exhibited in the old Queen’s Theatre, a fantastic venue that provided an encapsulating audience experience.

Tristan's Ascension 2005, Colour High-Definition video projection, 4 channel sound (4.1), 10:16 mins

Tristan’s Ascension 2005, Colour High-Definition video projection, 4 channel sound (4.1), 10:16 mins

Tristan’s Ascension describes the ascent of the soul in the space after death as it is awakened and drawn up in a backwards flowing waterfall.  Both of these works are only on display until 10pm tomorrow 15th March.  There are another 4 works being exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia until Sun 29th March.  More information on the works of Bill Viola can be found at his official website


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Filed under Adelaide, art, festival/exhibition info, gallery exhibition, installations, video

Hand-colouring photographic prints

It has been so long between postings I almost forgot I actually had a blog.  The last few months have been quite hectic but I have managed to squeeze in a couple of photographic workshops.  Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a hand-colouring workshop with the amazing artist Nici Cumpston.  An artist of Irish and Barkindji Aboriginal heritage, Nici has a resolute passion for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the recognition of their various artistic practices.  She is also an accomplished photographer, writer, curator and educator who managed to take a few hours out of her very busy schedule to teach a small group of photographers the art of hand-colouring monochrome prints.

There are many mediums that can be used to handcolour prints including pencil, acrylics, watercolours, oil paints, pastels and crayons.  Over the course of five hours, Nici demonstated her techniques and tips on using the various art mediums and encouraged us to experiment.  I have included examples of Nici’s work, Kate Breakey’s work (another wonderful hand-colourist) and my attempts during the workshop.

Nici Cumpston Leopard Tree 2011 archival inkjet print hand coloured with synthetic polymer paint

Nici Cumpston
Leopard Tree 2011
archival inkjet print hand coloured with synthetic polymer paint

Nici Cumpston Shards 2012 archival inkjet print hand coloured with synthetic polymer paint.

Nici Cumpston
Shards 2012
archival inkjet print hand coloured with synthetic polymer paint

Kate Breakey Butterfly from the series "Small Deaths" 1995-2006 silver gelatin photograph coloured with oil and pencil

Kate Breakey
Butterfly from the series “Small Deaths” 1995-2006
silver gelatin photograph coloured with oil and pencil

Kate Breakey Still Life 1995-2004 silver gelatin photograph coloured with oil an pencil

Kate Breakey
Still Life 1995-2004
silver gelatin photograph coloured with oil and pencil

I have included a couple of my images prior to my attempts at hand-colouring.  These are 8 x 10 in. hand-printed silver gelatin prints on Fomaspeed Variant 312 Multigrade Matt paper.

Almond Blossoms 2014 silver gelatin print

Almond Blossoms 2014
silver gelatin print

Under the Bridge 2014 silver gelatin print

Under the Bridge 2014
silver gelatin print

silver gelatin prints handcoloured with oil crayon and coloured pencil

silver gelatin prints handcoloured with oil crayon and coloured pencil

Apologies for the clarity of the above image as it was taken with a mobile phone.  I was quite pleased with my first attempts and I found that pencil was the most receptive medium to work with.  I plan to continue experimenting and practicing the various techniques in the hope to become proficent enough to possibly exhibit some images in the future.

The materials that were used during the workshop were:

  • Stabilo ‘woody’ pencils
  • Prismacolour Premier pencils
  • Lukas Studio oil paints
  • Golden High Flow Acrylics
  • Golden High Flow Refillable Acrylic Markers
  • sea sponges, cotton wool, ear buds and taklon brushes
  • Krylon Preserve It! spray for inkjet prints (inkjet prints must be sprayed prior to hand-colouring to avoid smudging)

all of these can be obtained from most reputable art supply stores and Ebay.  Thanks go to Aurelia and Alex for hosting another great workshop (and awesome lunch) at the Analogue Lab.  Hopefully it won’t be this long again before another post.  Cheers!

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Filed under black and white, hand-colouring, photography, workshops

Dry Plate and Albumen printing

It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog as life has been pretty hectic lately.  I’ve finally finished my degree and have been accepted into a Masters programme so next year it’s going to get a little ‘crazy’.  In the last couple of months I’ve taken a couple of alternative photographic processes workshops at The Analogue Laboratory.  Firstly, there was the Dry Plate workshop where we learned how to make our own emulsion on glass that once dry, can be placed into the camera.  Initially we used a box brownie and then upgraded to a Speed Graphic using different sizes of glass.  Not all the plates were successful…it is definately a trial and error process.


‘Waratah’ Bromochloride emulsion (ISO6) on dry glass plate

The above plate was one of the better outcomes from the workshop.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a great scanner so the photo is not that clear but you get the idea.  Making the emulsion is quite time consuming but if you make a large enough batch, you can coat quite a few plates (depending on the size) and store them until use.


The plate was then printed using the Albumen process.  As many of you that dabble in alternative processes already know, albumen is the white part of an egg.  Good quality printmaking paper is coated in the albumen solution and left to dry.  The paper is then soaked in 70% denatured alcohol to harden the albumen to the paper.  Once dry, it is coated in a 12-15% silver nitrate solution and again, left to dry.  Then it’s just a matter of choosing your negative (glass plate, large format negative or digital negative) to use.  The negative is placed on top of the paper, put into a contact frame and then placed into the sun for the exposure.  Albumen printing is not a quick process as the albumen solution needs to made at least a week prior to use.  Results vary depending on the type of negative used and the exposure time.  That’s the fun with alternative processes…it may be time consuming but the results are worth it.

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Filed under alternative processes, personal work, workshops


Last weekend I was fortunate to attend a cyanotype party with like-minded alternative photography enthusiasts. For a small payment, the paper and chemicals (and a wonderful lunch) were provided by local photographic artists James Tylor and Alice Blanch at their Adelaide residence.  Although we had to chase the sun around for the afternoon, we all managed to produce a number of quality prints from both traditional negatives and found objects.





A wonderful reference for alternative photographic processes is the book by Christopher James ‘The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes’ which is available here.  I’m also attending more workshops later this year at The Analogue Lab which has now relocated to The Mill in the heart of the city of Adelaide.

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Pinhole Photography

Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on Pinhole Photography at The Analogue Laboratory.  6 fun-filled hours of wandering around with a pinhole camera and having a play in the darkroom….aahh bliss.

Alex Bishop-Thorpe and Aurelia Carbone are two very talented Adelaide artists who run this facility within the Fontanelle Gallery and Studio complex at Bowden, South Australia.  It is an artist run space that specialises in traditional and experimental photographic techniques and they often run workshops.  This recent workshop was the first that I had attended and I hope to attend others later in the year.

Here are some of the images that sprouted from this workshop.  Not masterpieces by any means, but examples of photo image making using what you have at hand.  Alex made us all a 4 x 5 pinhole camera to use on the day out of MDF and rubber bands.  I also made a camera out of a paint tin.  Through trial and error it is possible to produce decent images using a pinhole camera.


4 x 5 pinhole camera



pinhole panoramas using a paint tin as the camera



I’ve also just bought myself a panoramic pinhole lomo camera which I’m yet to use.  Looking forward to getting out and seeing what I can come up with.

Details about The Analogue Laboratory can be found here

The next Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is April 28 2013.  Details available here


Filed under photography, pinhole

Graduate Work – Final

Again, I apologise for the lack of posts.  I’ve been so busy with study and work that every spare moment has been taken up with other things beside blogging.  So…I’ve finished the body of work that I recently exhibited for the Graduate Show.  This work follows on from the those images (see previous post) that I was working on earlier in the year.  The concept and imagery hasn’t changed so I decided to research photographic processes and presentation methods.  How could I make these images more interesting?  I managed to get stuck in a bit of a rut until I stumbled upon a box of expired photographic paper at the house during one of my visits.  Considering I had plenty of digital images and that decisions needed to be made, I turned a selection of these images into digital negatives and printed them in the darkroom, onto the paper I had found.  Limited to 10 x 8 inch in size, these images became  artefacts…small captured memories of the home.   I loved being back in the darkroom too.  This experience has definitely persuaded me to return to film and alternative photographic processes.  Now that the degree is completed, I’m going to take a study break and build up my portfolio (and bank balance) and apply for honours in 2014.

These are only 3 of the 6 images that I exhibited.  The image itself was only printed at 5 x 4 inches with an exposed black border and floated inside a box frame without a matt.  There was a lot of trial and error in getting the result I wanted with the nuances in the image focus due to the variations in contact between the negative and photographic paper.

Now that I have more time to contribute to my arts practice, I’ll post much more often about my own work as well as other artists that I find inspiring.

All images by Kylie Macey 2012


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Current work

Sorry it’s been so long between posts.  The final year of my degree has kept me very busy and I’ve had little time for blogging pursuits.  I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been working on.  I need to shoot a series of images for assessment and to exhibit by the end of October.  I am currently documenting the life of a person close to me who has very little time left…I began this series by photographing his home and belongings as a way of documenting the person without photographing him personally.  I see it as a documented biography shown through the comfort of home.

These images are only a starting point for further exploration.  I hope to further delve into his past and uncover what he believes have been the standout experiences of his long life.  Although I have been currently shooting digitally, I hope to produce the final selection of images using monochrome film.

excerpt from artists statement:

Gaston Bachelard discusses the virtue of the shelter in his book ‘The Poetics of Space’ and it’s this philosophy that has been adapted for this series of images, based around the home of a dear family friend.  Childhood memories of visiting this place as a child are vivid.  It’s only returning as an adult that many of the objects that were naively dismissed in the past are revealed to have intimate stories behind them.  A well-worn chair, a painting of a raging sea or a well trodden garden path come together to form a narrative of both the house and its occupant.

But what becomes of this place once the owner has left?  If a person knows that they have little time left on this earth, what becomes of the objects left behind?  What began as a series about childhood memory and space resulted in a documentary about home and the objects within.  The images become a preservation of the now, the capture of the still-life behind a beating heart.  Once this heart stops, only the images left behind will remind us of what there once was.

I was also lucky enough to have one of these images selected to exhibit in a group show during SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival during August.  I hope to post more of my images as the series progresses.

All images by Kylie Macey.




Filed under digital, personal work, photography