Category Archives: art

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

Spencer Finch

Finch carefully records the invisible world, while simultaneously striving to understand what might lie beyond it. Whether he is relying on his own powers of observation or using a colorimeter, a device that reads the average color and temperature of light, the artist employs a scientific method to achieve poetic ends. . . . Contrary to what one might expect, Finch’s efforts toward accuracy- the precise measurements he takes under different conditions and at different times of day- resist, in the end, a definitive result or single empirical truth about his subject. Instead, his dogged method reinforces the fleeting, temporal nature of the observed world, illustrating his own version of a theory of relativity. In Finch’s universe if you wait a few hours, the sun may very well change a leaden hue into gold. Like the ancient practitioners of the hermetic arts, who saw changes as the most fundamental truth of the universe, the artist doesn’t always provide an answer in his investigations. For Finch art can do more; it can “ignite our capacity for wonder.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Excerpt from Susan Cross, What Time Is It On The Sun pp. 9-17, 2007

Spencer Finch is an American artist based in Brooklyn NY who creates art and installations using a variety of different media.

West (Sunset in my Motel Room) 2007. 9 channel synchronized video installation with 9 TV monitors. This piece imitates the natural illumination of the fading evening sun by means of the light projected from a group of video monitors reflecting off a white wall. Each of the nine monitors stacked in rows of three, cycles through thirty stills from the film The Searchers, the images dissolving into a new set of stills once a minute.

For this installation, he created a metal grid that’s hung from the ceiling. Plugs are strapped to the grid and cords hang down in various places. Each cord branches out into a few different bulbs. Sizes of the bulbs vary, but they all emit a similar incandescent glow and form a kind of hovering light-cloud when viewed from far away.

Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson) 2004. 100 fluorescent lights, filters, clothespins. This work re-creates the effect of a passing cloud in Emily Dickinson’s back yard in Amherst, Massachusetts, based on an August afternoon. The bank of three types of fluorescents generates a simulation of the daylight, and the hanging filters of the “cloud” shift the color and intensity of the sunlight to replicate the shadow cast by a cloud.

For Spencer, vision is an act of projection as much as of apprehension. . . . Darkness and light. Blindness and insight. Nature and Science. These examples are only a small selection of his amazing work.  More examples can be found here.

info:  yellowtrace

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Filed under art, installations, mixed media, objects, photography

Slash: Paper under the Knife

I know this isn’t photography per se but I just love the way artists have used paper as the medium for their art.

Slash: Paper Under the Knife takes the pulse of the international art world’s renewed interest in paper as a creative medium and source of artistic inspiration, examining the remarkably diverse use of paper in a range of art forms.

This exhibition was recently shown at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.  The following images are those that I found particularly interesting as sources of inspiration.

Mia Pearlman

Andreas Kocks

Olafur Eliasson’s Your House is a laser-cut negative impression of Eliasson’s actual house; as you flip through the pages, you get a tour of the house in cross section:

Olafur Eliasson

Noriko Ambe is a Japanese artist whose paper sculptures and installations are sublime.  Check out her site here

Noriko Ambe

info: Museum of Arts and Design New York.  More information about the exhibition can be found here.

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