Sunday, 17 March 2013

Patricia Piccinini

Class Notes:
  • Sculptor and Studio Practitioner (studio based, people work for her and she outsources work)

Sculptural Series: Vespas (2006-2011)
  • 'The Lovers' (2011), 'The Stags' (2008), 'Nest' (2006) and 'Thicker Than Water' (2007)
  • "Fibreglass, automotive paint, plastic, scooter parts" (1) 
  • "Work was completed over a number of years" (1)
  • The sculptures look like they could have bee drawn, but in reality are photographed objects
  • Her exhibition photographs demonstrate thought in presentation, for example dramatic lighting, the way the spot light falls on the sculptures in a dark room and engages a response from the audience
  • The use of new media (animation and video projection) is also a part of her works and presentation
  • The 'Vespers' have animistic traits
  • Piccinini had to engage with the automotive trade, such as pray paint, engineering etc.

Photography: Psycho (1990's)

Psychotourism (1996) show above:
  • Digital collage, using computer style graphics, textured surfaces, water ripples and acrylic appearance 
  • Person's size is not in proportion, appears to be in perspective
  • An unusual character is added/drawn in
  • Drop shadows and effects created in Photoshop

  • Expressing the nature of a celebrity
  • An unusual character is added/drawn in
  • Focus on fashion, in particular what the model is wearing
  • Panoramic image
  • Texture in rocks, give illusion/appearance that they sit on top of the water(unrealistic), which may have been the artists intention
  • Thought has been put into the location and landscape used
Thinking about content: the artist got the LIGHT right! The images are false and unrealistic but the LIGHT directs the eye of viewer.

Photography: Fitzroy Series (2011)
  • Domestic scenes, interiors, streetscapes and odd creatures
"The world I create exists somewhere between the one we know and one that is almost upon us. However, what I imagine is neither the nightmare future environmental ruin nor the brave new world of perfect scientific progress. Instead I focus on the internal, emotional lives of the new creatures that might emerge, along with questions about the kinds of relationships that might come to light along side them. My creatures, while strange and unsettling, are not threatening. Instead, it is their vulnerability that often most comes to the fore. They plead with us to look beyond their unfamiliarity, and ask us to accept them. It is surprising how quickly we grow used to them, which reminds us that this sort of thing is not as far in the future as we might think. We are surrounded by hidden genetic engineering and biotechnology in our food and our animals already.

I began my investigations into these kinds of issues using photography many years ago. In recent years I have focused more on sculpture, however I have been waiting for an opportunity to return to photography for a number of reasons. The stillness of a photograph is very different from that of a sculpture. A sculpture seems forever frozen, while the captured moment of a photograph implies a continuum of action before and after it. The the viewer is left to imagine what might be. I am interested in how the drama of these situations play out. The situations which we find in these images are simultaneously charged and ordinary - unexpected to us but unremarkable for the participants. I have always felt that the familiar and the local are more relevant to my work than the strange and alien. I am always looking for ways to locate these creatures in a world that we know, to remind us of their closeness. However, this also changes how we look that these everyday spaces, adding another layer to them.

So, who are the inhabitants of the particular Fitzroy that these photographs bring to us. Many of them are the people and places that we already find here but there are a couple of new additions that we are not so used to. There is a boy, or perhaps more accurately a young male as this fellow is more primate than human. I imagine him as a representative from some hybrid species, somehow independent, possibly an escapee or an accident, overlooked or perhaps hiding. The other creature we find in these images I call the Bottom Feeder, and it's reason for being is more clear. It has been designed to eat rubbish. As such, its role is important but unsightly. It is something we'd rather not see or think about too much.

Both these figures are creatures which are at home in their particular ecosystem, which is the urban. We don't tend to think of the urban environment as an ecosystem. We usually imagine it as something which has replaced an ecosystem with something else, however it is an increasingly dominant ecosystem on this planet, and one to which not many species are well adapted. My interest in these images is how these creatures interact with the species that most dominates this particular environment: humans." (1)

Alley 11.15am
  • Children playing in the street
  • Light is diffused: the trees could be in the way
  • Unnatural light: use of a studio light or use of flash
  • Creature inserted into image

Sitting Room 2.30pm
Two types of light have been used:
  • 1. Cold wash or cool light, desaturated with a blue palette
  • Increase in the shadows
  • Not a lot of joy
  • Child appears sad or sick
  • Adjustment in the temperature 
  • 2. Natural light outside windows (warm and bright) in contrast
  • This technique can be achieved through bracketing, where both are combined digitally

Workshop 7.00pm
*** When looking at photographs: place yourself as the photographer
  • Light is coming from top right side
  • The light source is away from the camera
  • There is light on the drill press (which could have been inserted then lit in Photoshop)
  • Creature(s) are added digitally and lit, to make them look realistic

Library 8.45pm
  • Two people, one with a mask/inserted/digitally manipulated creature face
  • The effect of the light significantly emphasises the artist's intention

Bedroom 10.30pm
  • Too much light in the room in too many directions for the light source to be the child's nightlight
  • Creatures are crawling all over the place
  • A sense of familiarity and relaxed atmosphere is created

Street 3.10am
  • Contemporary bins (or objects) create meaning, time and context
  • For example, the bin is not daggy/old like a bin from the 90's would be

Patricia Piccinini's work has a cold and uneasy nature. Her sculptures and photographs make you feel uncomfortable. This is the artist's intention with her work however, her way of getting her point across. She tries to disturb you, make you think about genetic modification, the unknown of genetic modification, your acceptance of it, the potential for it to happen now, and the effect on the environment.

Source Information and Images:

Some of Her Other Works:

Protein Lattice 1997

Sex Dog 1998

I am assuming the artist was trying to capture my attention, which she certainly did. After the initial disturbing shock of seeing unusual creatures and images, which are simply just not quite right (in my opinion) I could then relook at what was going on and what message or theme, was being projected. The slight distortions of what we consider the norm make you rethink and reposition your ideas. Reconsidering the images, I can appreciate the idea that we each have our own opinions and see things differently based on what is important at the time.

I like the use of subtleties within these images, this is something I would like to do within my work. The image reflected back in the mirror is not what is actually in front, changing the light from inside and outside, changing the seasons within the image… None of it makes sense, but it makes you stop and think.

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