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Translucent - an encounter with light and air

This journey started with an exploration of transparency and translucency. First I made pieces in which the image responds to light that shines through an acetate (or fabric) print from behind, as well as to the light that falls on to the front. I immediately became interested in placing these translucent images close to a window or other sources of natural illumination. Under these conditions, the work alters its appearance in response to ever-changing intensities of radiance...from overcast skies, through racing clouds to blazing sun, and through many moods in between. Thus the work becomes an object affected by, and expressive of, the constant mobility of its environment. And the viewer has the opportunity to become more conscious of natural phenomena that often go unnoticed. Changing light becomes, to some extent, a medium.

 

My next step was to hang the acetate or fabric prints so that they become responsive to changes in the flow of air - a breeze through a window or door, a gust of wind in an open space, the movement of people passing by. Thus the work's commentary on its surroundings becomes enriched. Perhaps the viewer might even sense a moment of heightened awareness. Light and air - both medium and message.

 

I now find myself further following the logic of these explorations. I am making use of artificial light and using fans to create flows of air. These processes are still unpredictable in their effect but less so than the changes caused by natural forces. I see a destination ahead, a meeting point with my longterm interest in creating immersive installations in which light and air, projection and sound, the luminous and the material can come together to animate space, redefine place, create experiences.

 


 

The Person from Porlock Diptych 1 (Translucent) was installed at the Utopia:Dystopia exhibition at Walcot Chapel, Bath, as part of FaB festival of contemporary art. The window piece had the effect of drawing into the exhibition people who could see its glow from across the street. (The flower sculpture and yellow disc are by other artists, Sophie Errin-Cooper and Benedict Brain.)
 
The same piece seemed to change its character, in response to a very different architectural setting, when it was exhibited in the TIME after TIME exhibition at The North Wall, Oxford. 

But the shift in effect was on an altogether different scale, when the piece was exhibited in a mixed show at the 508 KIngs Road gallery, in Chelsea, London. The simple act of replacing two hanging wires on each print of the diptych, with one central wire, meant that they could respond to the changes in air movement - often triggered by the opening and closing of the door to the busy street. The two prints established an unpredictable revolving dance, sometimes dramatised further by the intensity of the midday sun, or the lights shining from within the gallery after dark.

The glow from FLOW Black Mountain diptych 101 seemed to create a similar magnetic effect as its predecessor, when it was installed in the east window of the Walcot Chapel, Bath. The public response to the piece was gratifyingly strong. The piece reflects on the mutiple layers of time implicit in the title of the exhibition, live, a word which itself carries multiple meanings. During my journey through explorations of light and air, as media as well as content, I embrace the fact that the work never settles into a single state, nor a single meaning. My complementary work with multiscreen, immersive projections is intented to unsettle notions of certainty even more.

Sophie's Choice 410 (Translucent) was placed in a Georgian street window at an exhibition dedicated to the Tulip, at the  44AD gallery in Bath. The print was made on white cotton lawn fabric.
Ex Memoria (Translucent) has been exhibited in various versions at Centrespace gallery, Bristol; Gabriel Fine Art, Waterloo, London; The Red Brick Building, Glastonbury; and Walcot Chapel, Bath. This was my first encounter with transparency.
 

Geoff Dunlop

ARTIST CURATOR