Spiritual stage: 1983 to 2005

Performance art

Spiritual stage through forms of advocacy.

The spiritual stage of performance art consisted of cycle adventurism, peace performances and sound performances.

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Travel art

Spiritual stage through forms of enquiry.

The travel art stage has two components. The philosophical expressionism looks at three modes of philosophy of influence. The cultural expressionism takes on pilgrimage and pantheism.

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Materialist phase

This consists of a later phase 2005-2022.

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Binary collage methodology

The layered composition

A process of gluing materials is fundamental to collage. The blending of shapes, lines, colour -and in my practice – as well as photographic object are in a sense, primordial constructs of subjective representations of reality.

The process of painting and scraping off sections is a way of mirroring the lived experience. Artwork seems to resemble the person as a multi layered existential qualitative field. A field that embraces features of the world as well as rejecting those very same features as a paradox of self hood. However its through the use of resin that properties of light are harnessed so to give the photographic object its 3D effect.

Collage techniques used in works

Lines

Lines are fundamental to the composition. An area that interests me are the intersection of lines. Lines act as a metaphor around binaries, such as choice verses determinism.

Shape

The notion of shape seems unavoidable. However, a contrast between shapes suggests a sense of possible movement or stillness. A rectangular shape entails movement towards the earth, contrasted with a triangle. The guitars in the images below are illustrative of symbolic and graphical movement. Associative symbols from popular culture combined with the graphical can convey a form of movement.

Guitars are part of travel objects from a trip to Indonesia

Value

A play on light to dark contrast correlates with the elemental photograph so to nudge the gaze, towards various elements within the composition. This focusing devise is used in extreme vignetting which I explore in one of my short animations. A depiction emerges as a dominant or subdominant feature through the play of light and dark. The image below has high key value at the boundary that sets a contrasting value to the lower key value within. The face is the lowest key value which brings a mystery as its like an after image.

Colour

The split complement works well if it corresponds to the photographic element. So a resemblance with the central photographic depiction is important for qualities of harmonic composition, if intended to be the artistic style. It may even be monochrome, or a complement, or the not so popular split complement, but coherence is key.

Pattern

There can be a somewhat randomness to the methodology when carving into stone unless the sculptor goes to the pains of having a detailed plan. The method I take is a free associative approach. Its a process of imprinting human action as far removed from mechanistic and digital forms of expression. Its a way to mitigate the impact through modes of abstraction . The closest to date in a digital sense might be the use of animation on my photographic depictions.

Movement

Repeating patterns infer movement. The latest series of mixed media have multiple attachment points for hanging , and so enabling movement based on tension in relation to position.

Gradation

The jagged to smooth lines become evident within the composition, that is in part a result carving sections. The elemental nature of carving has a digital counterpart that sits along side the genera of film art. This is correlated to the animating properties that might be carved out from the original depiction resulting in a plethora of transitions. Gradation as a higher order concept informs material and digital layers to emerge properties. So hue can have a property of value for a smooth transition. The use of of split compliments has properties of contrast for a jagged effect. This builds complex associations and relationships between layers making for semantic webs to emerge forms of life.

POP

Pop side A.

There are four sides to the work of which sides A and B are viewable. The other narrow sides have photographic and carvings which will be depicted in due course.

POP (POINT OF LIGHT PEOPLE)

The notion of POP ART has a plethora of connotations. POP (Point of light people) are a reference to my yogic encounter in the 1980’s.

Contents on side A and B of POP

There is a focus on layering of paints and scraping it off, exposing fragments. The connotation to finding the points within the pigment structure as a mode to focus the mind.

Expressionistic art intentionality.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Tropical expressionism discusses two modes of art practice. The pursuit for utility within modernization. The quest of humanistic mark-making and experimentation. However, modernization from the mid 20th century gave rise to a form of repetition. Humanistic arts reaction has been of adaptation and forms of resistance.  

Philosophic issues

Intentional states and tropical material arts

 Tropical expressionism is Intentional in a sense. The expression through material arts is rational by token of the economic measure through diminishing marginal returns: experience being qualitative, diminishing over time. 

Sub optimal tropical expressionism

The quality arguably diminishes as a person re-experiences the same or similar situation/s—this forces experience to move-on. The alternative is to become obsessive over an artifact. Counter-intuitively, the solution might increase the chances of excelling in a field for prices and status.

Intentional drift

Art objects of national significants invariably caught up in the form of church/state projects. For example, the sculpting of an iconic marble statue is, in a sense, a church/state collaborative project. However, this is not necessarily the case in modernism as of Alvin Coburn (encyclopedia of contemporary photography) (1982-1966), who gave up a highly prestigious career in early portraits and landscapes for pursuits of inquiries into what was spiritualism. 

Enclaves of determinism and freedom

There is an interdependency between the material practice of an expression and the environment, be that objective or virtual. The process leads to intentional states that can be represented through forms of material arts and digital or both. The act of representing something new can be a form of freedom. So the instant of being determined by material content, there is a contingency that plays to artistic freedoms of expression.

A schema

Determinists tend to advocate the social contract. For art, this begins with the supplier of art materials needed to create a form of art. This dependency entails skill is contingent on the modern system. It is this ultra-complex relationship that holds the social contract. So by extension, the more extensive process necessitates participation with the public gallery and art show system. Identity politics is the norm. Arguably, this interaction gives diminishing marginal returns as for the role of mark-making as a humanistic artifact.

Intentional expressions as tropical expressionism.

Material stuff: print, paint, clay, wood, stone, resin, fibre glass, steel, fabric, paper.

Print

Print as in from classical to modern offers the ability to create a semantic map within a tiny field of the construction in the context of a mixed media composition.

Paint

Paint having a primordial backdrop within a humanistic expression is more suited to express complex human emotions.

Clay

Clay lends itself well to the construction of animated forms. An illusion of resemblances forms recognizable shapes. Clay as a medium animates the adjoining content, translating into a strong composition.

Wood

The properties of wood and fibre lend itself to give shape and texture. A process of wood turning enables shapes to be easily formed for a mixed media artwork.

photographic depictions as tropical expressionism in theory.

Street scenes

There is an ideal rationale in the history of street photography. The street as a social subject comes close to ethnography associated with Malinowski and a well-known early proponent of participant observation. The American photographer Bruce Davidson (Encyclopedia of contemporary photography) used this methodology with the photographed people he conversed with for over a year or more. Approaches such as that of Davidson become a photojournalism approach when social issues become the focus. Also of note is the photography of subcultures indicative in the Larry Clarks approach. A situational perspective is an approach that places the person within a setting that, with luck, brings the third element that Henri Cartier-Bresson pioneered. It’s a sense of place and how the humanistic part sits within a phenomenology of time. 

What is noticeable in these examples is grappling with identity politics concerning the image style’s intentions. The article object photography takes the concept of identity politics and places it within a broader visual arts expressionistic paradigm. 

Abstractions

Abstraction takes on various turns based on the kind of thematic elements. For example, the historical model of photographer Lucien Clergue worked on different themes, including the carrion. The abstraction relating to the dualism of life/death. Another source of conceptions is a more modernistic theme with subgenera dubbed Urban Raw. Urban photography has a graphic element associated with the black and white contrast images associated with Max Dupain. 

Photographic symbolism and syncretic representations.

 The field is multi-disciplinary as it includes social theorists, philosophers, linguists. So conceptualist investigating philosophy of language.  Dlubak Zbigniew photography was a method depicting objects with polysemantic content, like hand gestures. Artists such as Natalia LL take a whole-body syncretic representation through photography.

Landscape and the super wide angle for urban scape.

Landscape photography is associated with Robert Bourdeau, who gives stylistic content through the perspective of a scape. Ansel Adams‘ approach as a cathedral effect developed a technique that draws on environmental philosophy. The wide-angle for expression allows for a context within a composition. It’s a foundational cornerstone content supporting details that emerge through the ongoing refining process on any given project. 

Tropical art practices.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Is there such activity as ‘TROPICAL ART PRACTICES”? This article makes a case that if there is a unique feature to the art practice that makes it distinct, it might reside in what loosely might be the ‘lifestyle tropical.’ However, it’s a vague claim, but with analysis, a couple of conclusions are argued. Its how the artist might interact their practice with the wet and dry climatic conditions. It might be something to do with a conscious qualitative sense of place. 

Accumulations: dry tropical and wet tropical

Methodology for tropical accumulations

Tropical art practices include:

  • duration art is exposed to the particular locale.
  • exposure to fungi, ants, bugs, bird scat, rain, sun, spider webs.
  • inorganic as in common earth elements.
  • Cracking of paint.
  • warping of the frame
  • Expansion of paint and contraction

Between the wet and dry tropics.

This involves an authentic interaction through relocation. So the properties of a region takes on the properties of another region.

How this plays out on object art.

A non-human intentional state might be a green ant removing bits of the artwork for their purpose. The spider in need of a support. This might be a syncretic emergent form. Its a from of binary intentional agency. The human as a conceptual schema agent, the non human as a meta conceptual agent.

Site, processes and philosophy

Natural exposure for tropical art practices.

The site is the Cassowary coast, Hull river national park region. Artworks are left exposed to the natural elements as an outdoor art practice. It could be a day or for a number of month. A partial cover is placed through the tropical monsoon season. The short film gaze on nature gives an indication of this process.

Philosophical issues

The art of the rational intuition is an attempt to capture both the structural as well as anarchic elements of human intentional agency. The intentional upon the material artwork has a rational sense. This is so of the arts in general. However substance based form requires a methodological modernist consumeristic approach. The use of paraphanalia blends the rational ability to select based on normative considerations. Intuition uses a sense of purpose and reference of interpretation. Its a vague intentional act. The futile attempt to give voice to a obscure ostensible referent being the artwork.

Mixed media tropical art practices

Substance verses property based media.

Mixed media substance dualism is derived from philosophical mind/body dualism. This is a proxy for placing radically distinct substance together. Another sense of the association is that consciousness inhabits the media, or fragments of the artists intentional states. Though for the philosophical materialist the substance based mixed media might composed of combinations of media that defy normative notions of art.

Art practices with normative properties

A simple normative property based mixed media would be the traditional canvas with oil paint that is not normally considered mixed media. Another might be a photographic print on distinct paper types.

Tropical art practices with substance logics

A substance based approach to mixed media could be embedding a fine art print into fibreglass. Then by covering it with a resin the object photo is a unified interactive substance. This concept is akin to mind/body dualism of the Cartesian variety. However the mind body problem posses the logical fallacy. This is because non physical substance cannot logically interact with physical substances. The implication for mixed media methodology is that the substances may not interact and so fall apart. This cutting edge level of experiment is therefore contingent on supervening factors.

Syncretic gnostic emergent art.

Tropical art practices and syncretism

The essential shift in consciousness is one I noticed in the `1970’s at Mission beach while on a fruit orchard property. Jack Hare and his wife lived on the property at Bingal Bay. He lived what I now consider the idyllic tropical lifestyle. That is, his English ways had transformed in ways of syncretic naturalism. His skin was tawny and brown. Even in summer, he would swim in the ocean each day despite the danger of marine stingers. It was as if the tropics were reflected in the lived experience through form and action.

A Tropical Sublime Gnostic

Firstly there is some notion of a Tropical living experience. It is about tangible interconnecting lifestyles. People exist in distinct geopolitical tropical zones. This sense of an interpersonal phenomenology of being in a tropical zone becomes sublime since it transcends normative accounts of beauty. At the core, it is a sublime that straddles the tropical humidity and heat that transcend the modernist determinants of culture. This gnostic sense of what it is like to be a form of life possibly gives to a tropical art practice style. Its authenticity over the representational modes or learned methodology.

Emergent conceptualism, intuitional logics.

Probably best to begin with what is meant by intuitional logic. Formal logics deal with deductive and inductive logic. So of the superficial form: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. Intuitional logic would not disagree with this logic. However, the conclusion, according to intuition, may come to be Socrates is immortal. The premises true but with an absurd conclusion. However, absurdity may indicate a genuine philosophical problem.

Expressionistic tropical experimentation

This may be a non-rational logic and so non-scientific or mathematical in structure. Nevertheless, it is a sense of primordialism based on deep humanism. The absurd that forms the basis for the emergent conceptualism of going tropical is the sense of impulsive rationalism. The concept ’emergent’ fails to gain traction in the world of functionalism—however, it is the basis for forms of expressionistic experimentation that lead to vistas of possibilities.

Dream power

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Side A.  Full view. Side A.  questioning power. Side A. Bottom rightSide A.  close up

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The power to dream

Telecommunications infrastructure suggests imagination. Side A has at its top-left a communications tower. A form moves in the direction of the building, possibly on a quest. Is it to find answers to existential questions? Who knows? There is the power of human communication. There is power through advanced digital infrastructure—dream on in mixed media. A retrospective from the early 1990’s informs the progression in mixed media as a conceptual basis for an art practice.

Dreams and power

If the conclusion is to dream-on, it begs the question. What is a dream anyway? It may well be the walking state. It is the depiction on the bottom right of side A that completes the arc. The doll figure on the side of a dirt road (embedded photo print) along a hardly used road suggests the dream-like quality. There is also a reference to imagined community. This is fairly relevant given the rise of a new rules based society

Photographic elemental forms

Dream power as a photographic elemental. Taking a leaf out of a Gerry Badger’s notes as a photographer.

The photographer creates or describes a dance with space and time.

Contemporary photographers: editors, George Walsh, Colin Naylor, Micheal Held

This quote’s relevance, based on travel, suggests to capture the shots, there is human movement as an outdoor art form. So they travel up a mountain and to remote locations. Badger notes a physical connection to the subject. It seems ordinary in 2021, but Badger made this note in the early last century.

Animation Dream power

OBJECT PHOTOGRAPHY

ICON_PLACEHOLDEREstimated reading time: 5 minutes

Selection of object photography for a mixed media project.

The philosophic side for object photography

Object photography as a token.

There is an overview in OUTDOOR ART for a philosophical primer, which discusses general philosophy concerning art. It’s from an existential sense that the object photograph acts as a token to type relationship. The image token has ostensible properties. That is, the image links to a type of point of view. Object photography is that portion of some larger picture that is rationally selected by the person/photographer. 

Object photography self reference paradox.

The philosophical point is the photographer is part of the picture, although not visible. Significantly, it’s the content that exists as a binary of self and not-self—a classic self-reference paradox. The action of capturing a scene indicates the photographer becoming a possibility. What the photographer is not can never be apart from a particular point of view.

Fellow man! Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again

Friedrich Nietzsche

The photo is like a time slice of the whole field; returning to the image, it’s like turning the sandglass. The event runs out again but in a diminished or dramatic form depending on the image and viewer.

The photographic styles for mixed media.

1.Straight style in mixed media.

  • keep the subject as primary focus, avoid cluttered surrounds.
  • clean execution for detail.
  • Natural elements, like a building, frame subject for additional focus.
  • F16-22 for in focus depth of field.

An adequate shutter speed and depth of field for sharpness and clean edges for the frame and subject having a counterbalance are depictions of the classic or straight style.

Subject of image being the shades on the water makes the image a straight styleSubject positioned from top section and its imposing content.The straight style is the sole figure clearly stands out from the dark into the sunset gives its strength as a subject.. Clearly the strong subject is this illuminated urban colonial Flight of birds if clearly captured is an excellent example of the straight style. The solitary subject surrounded by space on a line.Three elements are clearly separated to mark a straight style. Action shot of bird stands out.Subject is clearly defined. The old and new urban architecture with negative space in a flat perspective for a straight style. The small cluster of rock and sea expanse to the island has al sense of proportionality.

All above images are the photography of IZ. Giardina

Add complexity through layers.

The binary builds meaningful relations for maximizing semantic contrasts. This layered binary style fits well with representing relationships. The first is a natural color binary of shade and light, the next being industry and nature serving industry demarked by rail lines. The contrast of a super wide-angle shot of a sunset with a tiny fuel tank jutting from the darkness as the simplicity of a structural intrusive—the relations urban grand buildings as a binary with the street light at night. Birds hold a binary with their surroundings through the flight and by perching as observers of nature and humanism. The slideshow above indicates the straight style composition as minimalist.

2. Layers in photography for mixed media

It is through layers within photography that can drive a complex narrative. This style works well within mixed media artwork. The photography for mixed media enables the use of this style of photography. 

  • Focus through glass for reflection of a person walking past correlated with the non reflective image behind the glass.
  • Focus through a grid or lines of wire.
  • A puddle after the rain acts as a reflective layer.
  • Objects such as cars in traffic as block objects layer abstraction.
  • Binary layering for mixed media
    Binary layering for mixed media

Object photography within the mixed media.

One method is to prepare a tonal background. When dry, then add more complexity, so the printed image stands out. Another methodology would be to place the print and build up from that thematic referential point. Where both methods converge is the intentional use of variable media.

3. Dramatic object photography for mixed media

The object in the photo should in this sense create some kind of tension that resonates with the mixed media. Whereas the other style main focus is on the aesthetics of elements. A subtle shift may be due to subject having a social dimension that through composition gives a dynamic message.

Dramatic geometric optics.

The nifty 50mm focal length is the choice documentary lens and ideal for the straight and layering street shooting styles. Photography with this focal length means little optical distortion if the picture is at least f11. It’s great to shoot with a prime lens, for it means any geometric effects are true to that focal length. The super wide-angle stretch space while the super-telephoto compresses or flattens space. Using objects with the optics to match can give radical interpretations of the thing photographed.

  • Mixed media photography with a dramatic edge as a stand off.
    Mixed media photography with a dramatic edge as a stand off.

Object photography placement in mixed media.

Methods to enhance photography

The use of resin in mixed media for optical effects.

There are two approaches to enhance a photography print. Firstly, build up gradually layer by layer a mound of resin. Then place the image on the top covered with a thin layer. Objects can be placed within the resin so further developing a sense of 3D perspective. Secondly, there is the method of laying the print down and building layers of resin over the image. The process creates an optical magnification of the print. This style works well to create a focal point of the entire mixed media composition.

The selection of black and white photography over colour.

The first choice is to use black and white prints. This choice is because the color may fade or change. Black and white images are graphic representations and so stand out within a complicated composition. However, color can be the right choice so long as the inks are of high quality.

Embedding the image so to build up a block of resin.

This technique isolates the image print. There are various methods used for this process as follows.

  • Lino block that is cut out so to embed the image.
  • Use air dry clay to build up around the image.
  • Putty can be used though needs to hardened by adding resin.
  • Rolled cloth or paper adhered to surface.
  • embed objects within resin as an added feature.

The series of images below printed with variable levels of resin poured over the print. The properties allow for a plethora of symbolic possibilities that can inform the painting as a whole or in part.

  • Resin layers built up in multiple stages to magnify camel legs that are situated under a lino cut.
    Resin layers built up in multiple stages to magnify camel legs that are situated under a lino cut.

Painterly effects that blend with surrounding media.

This method, if used with care, can bring incredible detail to the photo print. However, it works well with abstracts with distinctive spaces. Oils are preferable, given there is no absorption into the paper.

Art photography for mixed media.

  1. Aim for a good set of prime lenses for art photography.
  • Super wide 24mm lens: epic landscape; encompassing interior.
  • Documentary 50mm lens: street; humanistic; general purpose.
  • telephoto Portrait 150mm lens: ideal proportions, close-up street scenes.
  • super telephoto 600mm: landscape compression; wildlife capture.

2. Selection of art photography to place into a mixed media format.

  • self contained, or blend into media as a photographic choice.
  • Will it be verging on abstraction or figurative?
  • Will the photo be codependent or independent of other images?
  • Is there a theme that will form a body of work?

Outdoor art for this kind of mixed media experimentalism requires a philosophical approach that takes into account various world views which is discussed in outdoor art: a philosophical guide to its place in the tropics.

3. How to place the art photography within a mixed media?

  • The print should be initially coated with a protective solution.
  • Place the print within the mixed media.
  • Composition is about perspective so use an adhesive as the decisive moment.
  • Layering resins on top of the image can bring out a magnification of the image.
  • construct a container (putty, paper, wax) around the image for resin.


What are some tips for doing photography?

I cover this topic in an article that takes Townsville conservation bird park as a guide.

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