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Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

Helen Ennis

(b Melbourne, March 19, 1943; d Melbourne, Nov 6, 2009).

Australian photographer, film maker, and video artist. Ford studied photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1961 and worked intermittently in the field of commercial photography in Melbourne until 1967. Her daughter Emma was born in 1967 and son Ben in 1968. Ford was a key figure in the development of the art photography movement in Australia and was one of the first women photographers to establish an independent art practice. Her earliest photographs, portraits of her female friends, were not exhibited at the time but were eventually shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, in 1982 and published in the book Sixtieth of a Second (1987). Ford’s first solo exhibition, Metamorphoses, was held in Melbourne in 1971 and her first Time series was exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in 1974. She continued to exhibit regularly at public galleries and art museums in subsequent decades. ...

Article

Charles Green

(b Sydney, Dec 13, 1972).

Australian photographer and video artist. Gladwell graduated in 1996 from the Sydney College of the Arts with a BFA and then from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, with an MFA in 2001. He then studied at Goldsmiths College, University of London, between 2001–2. Gladwell’s rise to acclaim was immediate, accelerated by the art market boom that lasted until the financial crash of 2008 and the proliferation of biennales around the globe, in many of which Gladwell participated (Venice Biennales, 2007 and 2009). With extraordinarily gorgeous, slow-motion cinematography but, importantly, a minimum of post-production digital manipulation, Gladwell’s early works consistently portrayed understated, seemingly casual feats of physical coordination, grace and physical endurance by young skateboarders, break-dancers (see fig.), capoeira practitioners or BMX cyclists. In his iconic early work, Storm Sequence (2000), the artist twisted and pirouetted in balletic slow motion on his skateboard in the face of an approaching storm as ocean waves crashed against the Bondi Beach foreshore upon which he was poised. In ...

Article

John R. Neeson

Installation art is a hybrid of visual art practices including photography, film, video, digital imagery, sound, light, performance, happenings, sculpture, architecture, and painted and drawn surfaces. An installation is essentially site specific, three-dimensional, and completed by the interaction of the observer/participant in real time and space. The point of contention with any definition concerns the site specificity, ephemerality, and consequently ‘collectability’ of the work itself. One view has it that the category installation is presupposed on the transitory and impermanent, the second that an installation can be collected and re-exhibited as a conventional work of art.

In either case installation had its genesis in the environments and happenings devised by artists in the 1950s in New York and Europe (Nouveau Réalisme in France, Arte Povera in Italy). These in turn had antecedents in the architectural/sculptural inventions such as the various Proun rooms of El Lissitzky and the Merzbau of Kurt Schwitters...

Article

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

[net art]

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

Art that uses the Internet not only as its tool of production and distribution but also as its source material or medium, and exploits or reflects the Internet’s inherently connective characteristics. While not a distinct art form or style, Internet art has been discussed in connection to the history of media art, predominantly through studies of the screen (see Bosma, 2013; Manovich, 2001) and the way things are framed, including still or moving images (see Video art and New media art in India). Internet art exceeds this narrow definition and its lineage can be better understood in the context of telecommunications, with a focus on information exchange and its occurrences through networked channels of transmission and their inherent politics. Because of this it is linked to Conceptual art practices, including intermedia art, Fluxus, and Correspondence art (such as the work of Knowles, Alison...

Article

Charles Green

(b Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dec 14, 1965).

Australian installation artist, born in Sierra Leone. Resident in Australia from 1972, Piccinini graduated in 1988 from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a BA and then from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1991 with a BA (Painting). She produced images and objects that embodied imaginary evolutionary jumps and mutations (see, for example, The Young Family; see image page for more views). To produce these, she worked in a succession of new, novel materials and media: from synthetic resins, plastics and silicone developed for special effects in movies to the digital manipulation used in commercial photography and animation. In her 1997 series of photographs, Protein Lattice, a naked female plays with a large hairless rat with an enlarged human ear growing from its back. The work combined the highly contrived language of mainstream fashion photography, brightly lit, glossy and free of imperfection, with an animal that appeared to be one of the hybrid clones then emerging from laboratories. Both glossy-haired model and mutant rat appear equally artificial and equally indebted to technology....

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active in Australia. Self-taught as an artist, Ah Xian spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art in his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers, and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art, sometimes incorporating images of naked figures, were considered at the time to be unacceptable, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first traveled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year and in 1995 was granted permanent residency in Australia. In 1991 he created Heavy Wounds, a series of paintings based on imagery from first aid posters that deal with injury and triage, an expression of trauma associated with the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere on ...