Digitally manipulated photographic collages, 2018
These photographic works explore the practice of ‘seeing’, with an emphasis on the eye as an optical tool and also an aesthetic form. Looking at the idea of our human position - suspended between a domestic space and a celestial space - the works are about wonder and the universality of self, space, time and light...
The uniting element is the sphere, expressed through the marble, the eye and the moon. Attempting to photograph the 'Blood Moon' in summer, Felicity incorporated her trembling hands (as a 'camera shake' technique) in the photographic process. Translucent collage effects were obtained through layering and peeling away in the digital darkroom.
Cinematic stylistic and philosophical influences were considered in the development of the series: including the films, Melancholia and Interstellar, for their interpretation of time, space and psychology. Reflection and refraction of light points to what is fleeting and untangible.
'They flew off on high tide'
Collective mixed media works including acrylic, ash and glitter painting (910 x 1220mm), 24 small abstract acrylic canvases and collaged digital photographs, and terrariums with burnt and embellished branches and found detritus, 2018
These mixed media works explore ideas of transformation and transmutation; with an emphasis on ecological themes. Abstract and surreal approaches combined to suggest a sense of turbulence, ephemerality and mystery. Collages with translucent layers (included photographs of peach paint and moth wings) suggest the delicacy of the natural world.
Related works included small objects such as terrariums, containing gold-dipped and charcoal-blackened branches.
The immediacy of an abstract expressionist approach was explored, with a particular focus on displaying brushstrokes/human gesture. A compositional connection is made between the works e.g. large and small abstract works with similar colour palettes.
Experimental animation work , 2018
Above are stills from an animation work (video below) which combines photographic images of a moth with photographs of the making of painting. The original insect photographs were taken of a moth found lying on a leaf of an orange tree. Several digital photographs were taken from different perspectives and then overlaid with varying levels of translucency. The painting process of layering oil pastel and ink was captured, and these images were edited and interlaced with the moth photographs. The animated surreal work seeks to convey a sense of fragility. The overarching theme is biophilia. The moth's skin-like wings flutter against a dark background with a subtle trace (building to a textured patina) of ink. A pulsating rhythm suggests animal sentience.
As Virginia Woolf observed in her essay, ‘The Death of the Moth’:
‘Because he was so small, and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain and in those of other human beings, there was something marvelous as well as pathetic about him. It was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zigzagging to show us the true nature of life. Thus displayed, one could not get over the strangeness of it’ (Woolf, 1942).
Installation, October 2018, Dark Room, RMIT School of Art, Melbourne
The installation, Hollow Echo aims to re-assemble disparate tree parts into something which is near-whole, but clearly stained by an artificial world.
Tangled cords, fluoro lines and plastic tubing suggest an effort to transform or revive. Recycled velvet and silk points to decadence. Ash, sawdust and glitter points to something more toxic.
Extinction in the Australian landscape is an overarching theme.
Mixed media framed works are in response to the plumage of Australia’s threatened birds: a celebration of their colour, form and delicate strength, against a haunting backdrop.
Photography and scantography is an emerging interest, as explored in the accompanying video work.
Felicity seeks to express awe for the natural world, but also point to a sense of foreboding. She says, ‘This might be just about being human. Terrestrially linked to the elements, it seems we yearn to be freed from them; wanting to soar like the birds but forever tethered to the ground and the legacy we’ve made for ourselves.’
The term, ‘hollow echo’ stems from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem, In Memoriam A.H.H., 1849 which has an eerie resonance for the current ecological trajectory. Tennyson was influenced by evolutionary thought (in particular transmutation of species):
‘The stars,’ she whispers, ‘blindly run’
A web is wov’n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
And all the phantom, Nature, stands –
With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own, -
A hollow form with empty hands.’
Animation: Tangled Nest, dimensions variable
Digitally manipulated scantography and currawong bird recording
Installation: Hollow Echo installation, dimensions variable
Tree crown, branches, roots, timber off-cuts, sawdust, plastic tubing, plumber’s cord, recycled velvet/upholstery fabric, enamel and acrylic paint
Mixed media paintings: Plight Series, 2018, dimensions variable
Acrylic paint, watercolour oil-pastel, pencil, pen, glitter, sawdust, ash, pollen on 265gsm Hahnemuhle bamboo paper
Ceyx azureus diemenensis - Tasmanian Azure Kingfisher (endangered)
Casuarius casuarius johnsonii – Cassowary (endangered)
Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni - Coxen’s Fig-Parrot (endangered)
Lichenostomus melanops cassidix - Helmeted Honeyeater (critically endangered)
Neophema chrysogaster - Orange Bellied Parrot (critically endangered)
Pedionomus torquatus - Plains Wanderer (critically endangered)
Sound played during presentation: slowed recording of currawong birds during a storm, Yarra Ranges, October 2018