25th October – 24th November 2007

Joachim Bandau –  Joyce Campbell –  James Cousins –  Jane Harris –  Megan Jenkinson

Andrei Jewell –  Peata Larkin –  Julia Morison –  Paul Morrison –  Denis O’Connor

Our relationship with light and colour has long been one of the most essential elements in the history of art. Artists have found ways to transmit, generate and even pulsate light through simple techniques of manipulating colour intensity, brushstroke and pattern.

Spectacular optical displays can occur in nature when extreme geographical and atmospheric conditions collide. In the Antarctic, freezing temperatures and low humidity produce dancing columns of light of various hues known as the auroras. Even more elusive and strange are the Marfa lights. Rare sightings of these ghostly lights describe brightly coloured glowing balls floating above the ground: a sort of mirage possibly caused by sharp temperature gradients between cold and warm layers of air. Halos, or ice bows, are another optical phenomena that appear near or around the Sun or Moon, and are caused by light refracted through ice crystals in cold clouds.

The artists in this exhibition, while exploiting the nature of light, are also exploring the mysteries of optical phenomena and the mechanism of the retina in the reception of visual images.

Denis O’Connor draws with light onto striated onyx. The Plumassier (the feather trader) forms a glowing arrow that leads you into the exhibition.

Megan Jenkinson with a work from her Atmospheric Optics series, uses billowing fabric in rich greens, reds and yellows to create an aurora above frozen Antarctic landscapes. She uses a lenticular process to describe these flickering and ephemeral effects. In this process the digital image is laminated on to very finely ridged plastic, so that from front on everything is present, but with any change of viewing angle the aurora disappears.

James Cousin’s soft focus landscapes appear to have been filtered through a sophisticated optical lens, fragmenting the forms into shards of light or hypnotic spirals.

Paul Morrison has a scientific fascination with the botanic, however his interpretation is to turn green to black and white, creating magnified visions alternating between positive and negative. He confuses our retinal processes. His film Cambium is monochromatic yet manipulated in such a way that it is full of contrasts, introducing a new focus on light and shadow.

Joachim Bandau’s series of watercolors use overlapping rectangles of black wash to create a unified black field that plays tricks with our depth of field. By altering our visual perceptions the layers defy a sense of focus creating works both fragile and intangible.

Joyce Campbell creates photographic murals that draw viewers into an endless, self-generating world of crystalline wells and passages. In her work Brittle City she presents a massively enlarged photograph of a crystal encrusted sculptural model.

Peata Larkin’s light boxes are constructed with acrylic paint pushed though a simple mesh creating geometric abstractions which show the influence of the digital world and the breakdown of visual images into pixilated forms.

Andrei Jewell, photographer and filmmaker, presents photographs from his Holiwater series filmed in India on the Ganges River. A single red thread is pulled across the water to symbolize the one stringed instrument of classical Indian musicians. The thread vibrates with the pull of the river but also ambiguously becomes a shaft and generator of light.

Julia Morison’s Intaglio etchings, Flotsam and Jetsam pay homage to the Koru paintings of Gordon Walters. She interweaves organic matter around negative geometric structures echoing both the surrealist and Op art movements.

Jane Harris creates dazzling paintings pulsating with light. With clever brushwork she controls the reflection of light to such an extent that the figure/ground relationship of the work constantly shifts. Flat surfaces jump into three dimensions.

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