Posts Tagged ‘Theoria

13
Oct
13

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: Immersion, 1994

October 2013

 

 

“What A. feels he is doing, however, as he writes the pages of his own book, is something that does not belong to either one of these two types of memory. A. has both a good memory and a bad memory. He has lost much, but he has also retained much. As he writes, he feels the he is moving inward (through himself) and at the same time moving outward (towards the world). What he experienced, perhaps, during those few moments on Christmas Eve, 1979, as he sat alone in his room on Varick Street, was this: the sudden knowledge that came over him that even alone, in the deepest solitude of his room, he was not alone, or, more precisely, that the moment he began to try to speak of that solitude, he had become more than just himself. Memory, therefore, not simply as the resurrection of one’s private past, but an immersion in the past of others, which is to say: history – which one both participates in and is a witness to, is a part of and apart from. Everything, therefore, is present in his mind at once, as if each element were reflecting the light of all the others, and at the same time emitting its own unique and unquenchable radiance. If there is any reason for him to be in this room now, it is because there is something inside him hungering to see it all at once, to savor the chaos of it in all its raw and urgent simultaneity. And yet, the telling of it is necessarily slow, a delicate business of trying to remember what has already been remembered. The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still others have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any of this.”

.
Paul Auster. “The Book of Memory,” in The Invention of Solitude, 1982, pp. 148-49

 

 

I am scanning my negatives made during the years 1991 – 1997 to preserve them in the form of an online archive as a process of active memory, so that the images are not lost forever. These photographs were images of my life and imagination at the time of their making, the ideas I was thinking about and the people and things that surrounded me.

All images © Marcus Bunyan. Please click the photographs for a larger version of the image. Please remember these are just straight scans of the prints, all full frame, no cropping !

Photographs are available from this series for purchase. As a guide, a vintage 8″ x 10″ silver gelatin print costs $700 plus tracked and insured shipping. For more information please see my store web page.

 

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Untitled (bandsaw)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Untitled (bandsaw)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Inversion' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Inversion
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Growth 2' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Growth 2
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Starry Night (Burke and Wills memorial)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Starry Night (Burke and Wills memorial)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Untitled (bandsaw)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Untitled (bandsaw)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Four ears' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Four ears
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Such is death' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Such is death
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'The wash house' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
The wash house
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Untitled (bandsaw)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Untitled (bandsaw)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'The place where many men have stood' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
The place where many men have stood
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Untitled (bandsaw)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Untitled (bandsaw)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Singer' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Singer
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

ecce-homo

 

Marcus Bunyan
Ecce homo
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Cluster' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Cluster
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

theoria

 

Marcus Bunyan
Theoria
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Parsnips and potatoes' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Parsnips and potatoes
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Burke and water' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Burke and water
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Growth 1' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Growth 1
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Untitled (comet)' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
Untitled (comet)
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'A(r)mour' 1994

 

Marcus Bunyan
A(r)mour
1994
Silver gelatin photograph

 

 

 

The Greek theoria (θεωρία), from which the English word “theory” is derived, meant “contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at”, from theorein (θεωρεῖν) “to consider, speculate, look at”, from theoros (θεωρός) “spectator”, from thea (θέα) “a view” + horan (ὁρᾶν) “to see”. It expressed the state of being a spectator. Both Greek θεωρία and Latin contemplatio primarily meant looking at things, whether with the eyes or with the mind.

Taking philosophical and theological traditions into consideration, the term was used by the ancient Greeks to refer to the act of experiencing or observing and then comprehending through consciousness, which is called the nous or “eye of the soul” (Matthew 6:22–34). Insight into being and becoming (called noesis) through the intuitive truth called faith, in God (action through faith and love for God), leads to truth through our contemplative faculties. This theory, or speculation, as action in faith and love for God, is then expressed famously as “Beauty shall Save the World”. This expression comes from a mystical or gnosiological perspective, rather than a scientific, philosophical or cultural one. (Text from Wikipedia)

 

 

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive page

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23
Sep
09

Review: ‘Ivy’ photographs by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 2nd September – 26th September 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966) 'Ivy #1' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #1
2009
Pigment print
89 x 75 cm

 

 

This is another outstanding body of photographic work on display in Melbourne. Featuring 10 large and 2 small sepia toned, vignetted pigment prints Burton’s work creates dark enchanted worlds of faceless female figures placed in the built environment that balance (meta)physical light and shade creating ambiguous narratives of innocence tinged with a darker edge.

The eponymous photograph Ivy #1 (above) is the seminal image of the series: a dark brooding house, hunched down positioned low in the photographic space, covered in ivy with black windows and dark eves has an ominous almost impenetrable presence and sets the tone for the rest of the work.

There are wonderful references to the history of photography if one cares to look (not simply generic references to Victorian daguerreotypes, postcards and family photographs). Ivy #2 (below) is a powerful photograph where the female figure is blindfolded, unable to see the encroaching tumescence of vegetation that surrounds and is about to engulf her. The placement of the hands is exquisite – unsure, reaching out, doubting her surroundings – with the 3-bladed fan hovering behind ready to devour the unwary. This photograph has resonances of the magical photographs of the garden by the Czech photographer Josef Sudek.

Ivy #3 (below) has echoes of the work of the American photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard and his placement of masked people within built environments. In Burton’s photograph the broken umbrella becomes like insect wings, the faceless whiteness of the three-legged and three-armed creature cocooned among the overhanging predatory ivy, the luminescent sky offering the possibility of redemption. Other photographs such as Ivy #6 (below) and Ivy #7 with their wonderful colours, depth of field, heavy shadows and elegiac romantic feel have references to Eugene Atget and his photographs of the parks of Versailles (see photograph below).

Still further references to the history of photography can be found in the photographs Ivy #9 and Ivy #10 (below). In Ivy #9 the intersection of the two female bodies through double exposure forms a slippage in (photographic) reality and the disappearance of original identity in the layering of the photographs and into the empty non-reflection of the mirror. This non-reflection is confirmed in Ivy #10 where the faceless nude woman holds a mirror with no reflection. These photographs remind me of the photographs of New Orleans prostitutes in the early years of the 20th century by the photographer Bellocq with their masked faces and the ornamentation of the wallpaper behind the figures (see below).

I feel that in these photographs with their facelessness and the non-reflection of the mirror investigate notions of ‘Theoria’ – a Greek emphasis on the vision or contemplation of God where theoria is the lifting up of the individual out of time and space and created being and through contemplative prayer into the presence of God.1 In fact the whole series of photographs can be understood through this conceptualisation – not just remembrances of past time, not a blind contemplation on existence but a lifting up out of time and space into the an’other’ dark but enlightening presence.

The greatest wonder of this series is that the photographs magically reveal themselves again and again over time. Despite (or because of) the references to other artists, the beauty of Burton’s work is that she has made it her own. The photographs have her signature, her voice as an artist and it is an informed voice; this just makes the resonances, the vibrations of energy within the work all the more potent and absorbing. I loved them.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to Karen Woodbury Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Installation view of 'Ivy' by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

Installation view of 'Ivy' by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

 

Installation views of Ivy by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #2' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #2
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #3' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #3
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

 

“Jane Burton’s exhibition, Ivy comprises a series of photographs captured in black and white. The final prints are rendered with a sepia, peach-champagne tone, with many displaying a mottled hand-coloured effect in faded pastels of pink and green. These works hope to suggest an era past, perhaps Victorian. The imagery is evocative of old picture postcards from Europe and old photographs from the pages of family albums.

Central to the series is an image of a house covered with ivy. Depicted as dark and malevolent, the house is ‘haunted’ by the traces and stains of family history, habitation, and the buried secrets of all that occurred within.

Anonymous female figures are seen in garden settings where the foliage is rampant and encroaching and the shadows deep. There is an air of enchantment perceived with unspecified darker edge. The figures are innocent and playful. The viewer is asked to question if the and girls aware of the camera capturing their activity? Are the poses staged or caught spontaneously. In another photograph, a dilapidated male statue stands broken and armless, the texture of stone worn, and bruised with dark lichen and moss.

In the interior photographs, several nudes are depicted in the style of 19th century French daguerreotype photographs. These vignetted images display women against wall-papered backdrops with theatrical props reminiscent of earlier works by Burton such as the series ‘The other side’ (2003). Posed suggestively for the camera and the viewer’s gaze, the subjects themselves are faceless, their own gaze and features hidden behind dark hair. The surface and texture of these particular works suggests the patina of decay and the damage and wear of time.”

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 20/09/2009 no longer available online

 

Bellocq 1912

 

E. J. Bellocq (American, 1873-1949)
1912

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #10' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #10
2009
Pigment print

 

Eugene Atget. 'Versailles, France' 1923

 

Eugene Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Versailles, France
1923

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #6' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #6
2009
Pigment print
75 x 75 cm

 

 

Jane Burton website

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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