VJ Moreton: The Theatre of the Naked Eye7. Oct - 12. Dec 09 / ended James Hockey and Foyer Galleries
More than any other activity visual expression and its experience offer a space for the countenance of ambiguity and uncertainty. Punctuated with moments of fresh insight and doubt this journey of growing awareness occurs in uneven stages without offering the comfort of a final resolution.
VJ Moreton transforms existing symbols and formats into a visual language for staging an acuity of vision in which the starkness of the image represents a distillation of the many roots which contribute to the overall impact. His creative techniques add to the crisp vocabulary of image making. An elaborate planning stage of procedures precedes the final image: collages are meticulously constructed and stages painstakingly assembled. Three-dimensional stage sets are decorated with blue skies, white clouds, smoking chimneys and a barren pebbled earth and serve as recurring almost cliché environments for animating the main protagonists. The final scenes are photographed under precise lighting conditions.
Influenced by artists from the past as widely divergent as Lucas Cranach, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and Caspar David Friedrich, VJ Moreton develops the satyrical vocabulary of collage, photomontage and expressionism found in the works of George Grosz, of John Heartfield and Francis Bacon. Jackson Pollock's adage 'You do something and then you add something to that and pretty soon you have something' is particularly apt in flavouring the methodical craft process through which ideas are transformed into images.
This devotion to the craft of art awards the works a unique presence, technically somewhere between the many disciplines involved in their creation. Animations are constructed from fragmented components mined from historical and contemporary imagery. Avoiding the use of Photoshop, in his own words 'refusing to bland out the picture', results in images which are razor sharp and curiously in and out of tune with today's visual idiom.
VJ Moreton's mise-en-scene evokes dreamscapes which while relying on the repetitive inclusion of elements of evolution and destruction, such as the skeleton, the horse, the hand grenade and the bullet and incorporating surreal elements of farce project a timeless impact. Realities are assembled which tie the animate to the inanimate together in an inescapable connection in spite of the farcical nature of their interaction. Age old sensibilities are revisited. Of what are we made, where are we now? The works provoke questions of provenance and identity while, at the same time, throwing into sharp relief that true comprehension and closure are unattainable.
Archetypal questions and vulnerabilities are re-fashioned within a contemporary mould, presenting us with recurrent characters imbued with a robotic archaeology. This animated theatre of the absurd with inevitably tragicomic undertones makes manifest a profound sense of irony. The disturbed connections that shape our evolution convey the inevitability of our paradoxical state.
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