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‘Fugitive States’ is an exhibition that explores a perceived state of entanglement between sentient beings and technology. Using primitive and hi end digital photographic methods, Wilson deconstructs the virtual to haul it back into the physical. In a punk DIY aesthetic, the works use a variety of approaches to intervene in the photographic act. In this context the camera, its technology, hardware and software are considered an extension of the body’s intelligence.

Wilson considers the virtual in all its forms to break free from photography’s tradition of ‘capturing’, ‘documenting’, and ‘representing’. She has taken her entanglement with the virtual and the physical into photo paintings in which the act of playing with light through a camera is continued into the printed pinhole image, and reinterpreted through new mediums, in remembrance of the act of photography.

Similarly, the virtual is made physical by employing gravity as an essential element in the artefacts. Photo and kinetic sculptures juxtapose the lightness of light with the heaviness of the material of the print – canvas in these works. They are made subject to the forces of gravity and movement. Any ambient movement (audience or natural forces) will spin the sculptures revealing different viewpoints in synergy with the body. Likewise, wind from a video projector spins the lightweight film on which a pinhole photo has been printed. The light pushes through the spinning photo onto the walls – lights agile motion set in play by the hardware.

This body of work is experimental and fun with references to Robert Morris, Richard Tuttle, Iva Genzken and Lucio Fontana and while this is, in part, homage, the key break here is with photography and the conventional limits we place on form.

Anne Scott Wilson 2023

 

Spcial thanks to:

Associate Professor Catherine Bell

Professor David Cross

Josh Hook

Eloise Coxon

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Phoebe Tran

Pia Coetse

Aaron Hoffman

Review by Rebekah Rousi

Catalogue Essay by David Cross

Saturated Colour in A Nebulous Grey Zone

Liminality is simultaneously a beautifully evocative word and an overused trope in contemporary art. A sort of provisional lushness that oscillates between things, between binary oppositions or opposing forms, the idea of the liminal or activating liminal spaces is to elevate this mysterious gap between tectonic plates. Underpinning this approach is the proposition that what exists in this nebulous grey zone, is the preeminent terrain for artistic exploration. In part, this scurrying towards points of becoming, gathering on a muddy non-site neither land nor sea, is a carry-over from the deconstruction of language as an instrument of power. To be one thing or another is to adhere to the logic of binary oppositions, but to pick at the space in-between is to resist and perhaps erode the credibility of such formations.

Yet beyond this ideological reading of reshaping power relations, the liminal is also a poetic space of possibility where meaning is made at a series of incompatible junctures. Things that are not supposed to easily cohere or connect whether they be figuration and abstraction, photography and painting are elided. To value liminality as an approach is to question the orthodoxies of art history and theory and specifically its categorisations and compartmentalisations. The ethos of separating and delineating one thing from another, a movement, a medium, a technique, while framed as an imperative for order and organisation, is always a contrivance and continually subject to artistic defenestration.

Anne Wilson is very aware of this complex and contested terrain and is only too happy to pressure test artistic convention and categorisation. While her hybrid photography/ sculptural forms articulate a respect for discipline and negotiate a spectrum of histories, they are at the same time a forensic dissection of the blind spots within and between these fields of practice. In choosing to utilise a medium -photography- saturated with an imperative to represent, as a mechanism depict or capture so-called fragments of ‘the real’ world against itself, seems at first glance to be wilfully perverse. Wilson’s objects are fascinated with the history of non-representational art, with colour, line, juxtaposition, and composition Why use the technology of photography with its allure of representation to blur and obfuscate, to make the real radically abstract? The same could be said for the utilisation of photographic paper as a sculptural form. Why activate the three-dimensional qualities of the photographic print when other materials (felt, fabric even plastic) might be more appropriate?

The answer to both questions is that the reach and elasticity of photography is infinitely greater that its popularly understood parameters. The technology of photography offers us potentially new understandings of colour, new ways of bleeding chroma and confusing the spatial orientation of figure/ground relationships. There is a delicious irony that photography is now mining its capacity for the non-representational considering painting was manoeuvred into this territory by the invention of this upstart mechanism in the late 19th century. Ceding representation of ‘the real’ to the camera, painting for much of the 20th century felt comfortable in the division of labour. ‘We handle the abstract, you can capture the quasi-mimetic forms of modern life’ was the unspoken, if mutually convenient, compact. For a long time, this delineation held, but the imperative for artistic defenestration is indeed a strong one and the imperative to test the limits will always trump nomenclature.

Wilson has come to understand the resonant power of the camera as a mechanism to capture what is of this world and make it otherworldly. Her fields of colour are always bending, warping, and folding over themselves, emitting at times both a luxurious liquidity and a starkness of separation. She is seduced by the expressive potential of the photographic surface, part mirror, part receding void, and understands that this surface can take us to places painting by its nature is not easily inclined to reach. The modern inkjet printer with its capacity to spit ever greater levels of information on to incrementally larger sheets of photographic paper, is a tool that opens new understandings of colour and composition.

For Wilson, it is a mechanism to expand the syntax of abstraction, to push into new formal atmospheres that braid the analogue and the digital together. Her compound objects offer a connective tissue across a disparate terrain whereby photography, sculpture, painting, and film are less discrete disciplines, than allied modalities capable of being quantised together to construct new polyvalent artistic forms.

David Cross

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