I came to the residency thinking about the differences between digital surfaces and material surfaces, and I thought that I would find it difficult to make connections with The Rodd or Sidney Nolan. However, as often happens when you look for connections, something appears.
We were lucky enough to get a tour of the house that Sidney and Mary lived in and I was struck by the visceral appearance of the faded red curtains in the library, and the dust covers that shrouded piles of this and that dotted around the house and grounds. The things within were fully concealed but the folded and raped surfaces of the fabric was alive with suggestion. The shapes has an in-betweenness about them, demonstrating a kind of thing-like liminality.
Another Seredipidous find was a pile of old art books- possibly belonging to Sidney Nolan himself, in the studio barn, which were full of beautifully painted folds and drapes. I started to cut out and build forms, odd shapes, images that could be bits of body, cloth, shadow or stone.
I combined these with my own specially prepared paper. which was the ‘checkerboard’ that denotes a transparent layer in Photoshop. This layer fascinates me because it represents a particular kind of digital surface – its immaterial, yet so materially distinctive. It can’t be reproduced in an image because it renders as transparent, it only exists on the screen, before one’s image is saved. Its really mundane but also has this special quality about it. Its a surface, but for me it also represents the back of a digital image – the behind or underside of the image. I’ve transformed it to paper form, so its become a different kind of surface, but I’m using it in the same way as I would digitally, by cutting though it and using it to build an image.
I don’t really know what I’ve ended up with. I need time to reflect on these collages. However, I like their unfinished quality – the way that they might tip over into something else. There are elements of solidity in the heft of some of the drapes, yet at the same time they are sipping between other surfaces and spaces. I plan to re-digitise them and see how this changes them.