“AS THESE RENDERED FABRICS MOVE BETWEEN VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL SPACES, THE ABILITY TO DETERMINE THEIR SPACES OF ORIGIN AND WHAT IS ‘REAL’ BECOMES UNCLEAR.”
Interview by Maddie Rose Hills for Floorr Magazine
A sense of theatre runs through the work, through the use of curtain fabric, dramatic lighting, and prop-like objects. While these items may also be found in photography studios, the dramatically tuned up versions of them are more evocative of stage sets. Where did your connection to theatre develop from?
The connection to theatre in the work comes from a specific concept, rather than any sort of personal experience. These visuals and aesthetic decisions function as visual metaphors for larger ideas related to photography, reality, and perception. For example, in the series Views from the Apron, the curtain, used as a threshold on a theatrical stage to distinguish reality from non-reality, functions as a location to explore illusion and the spatial complexities created between virtual and non-virtual space. The photographs in this series consist of imagery created and rendered within Maya, a 3D animation program that are often printed, collaged, and re-photographed in a physical space. As these rendered fabrics move between virtual and physical spaces, the ability to determine their spaces of origin and what is ‘real’ becomes unclear.
Mirrors point back towards the viewer, as does the subject matter which leaves us asking questions about perceived reality and photography practices. How important is the viewer in experiencing the work?
The viewer plays a significant role in a lot of my work, which is something I hadn’t considered until very recently. As I had mentioned with It’s a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards, the installation of the work controls the movement and pace of the viewer, and it relies on their physical presence and position within the space in order to function. An interesting development in the work which continues to occur when this piece is exhibited, is its unintentional influence on the role of the viewer as artist or collaborator. Very often, mobile phone cameras are employed by viewers to aid in the process of making comparisons between the photograph and the sculpture. It’s something I never considered would happen but it makes so much sense. I think that these digital images, which function as personal visual aids, are so rich. Even though they aren’t shared with me and I will never see them, I have started to think of them as part of the work.
Speaking specifically about It's a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards, the setting and objects surrounding a photograph creates a whole experience. Firstly, do you curate your own shows, and secondly, can the photograph and sculpture function individually or purely as a whole installation?
Sometimes I work with curators and sometimes I don’t – I like having the opportunity to do both. My most recent solo exhibition, Mirror with a Memory, was self-curated. I have a very close relationship with the gallery where it was located, which was ideal because I knew exactly how I could best use the space. This became especially useful while I was planning out I would install It’s a Poor Sort of Memory that Only Works Backwards. With this work it’s very important that the photograph and the sculpture are installed together and in a very specific way. The consideration of sightlines and the use of physical distance is important, as the two components aren’t meant to be in view at the same time. By creating this distance, it asks the viewer to rely on their own memory to make comparisons between two seemingly similar objects, which then leads to a larger conversation about memory, perception, and truth in photography.