The 1969 edition of Present Day Art in Australia by Ure Smith is a study in simplicity: one photo, one bio, one artist statement and one photo document of a painting. The 2012 digital animation stemming from it is a little more complex. Artist David M Thomas says:
“In the mornings over coffee, I would sit and look at the photos of the artists and think about them. Every photo seemed very different, a different style of photographic portrait. It seemed as if the artists themselves had chosen these images, that this image was a way for them to communicate something significant to the reader. So I had in mind for about a year or so that I could make an Expanded Portrait out of this book that would be about artists or the desire one might have to be an artist. I was not exactly sure how I would do this.”
During a Sydney College of the Arts research residency, the light-bulb finally appeared.
“I could get students from the college to read the associated artist statements, and then simply superimpose these over the images of artists from the book.”
Over three weeks Thomas made 24 recordings, then sutured to the ghostly images of a latter-day Australian artocracy. In this way past and present are binded, the common language being the drive to create, the urge to self-represent as an artist, in a haunting digital work opening 6pm, Tuesday May 1. (AB)
May 1-26, Peloton offsite, 11 Gibbons St, Redfern, peloton.net.au