There are some introduced plants in Australia that have gone beyond adaption to rapidly evolve into new species found only here and there is yet to be an explanation why, scientific or otherwise. This is the starting point for Mike Gray’s latest series, ‘New Australian Plants and Animals’. He metaphorically aligns his subject matter, the partially naturalised immigrant’s psyche, with the immeasurable effect that Terra Australis has on introduced species.
As a way of approaching the ‘immeasurable’ Gray has created a body of multi-disciplinary works that speculate on the unknown aesthetic that takes place inside the human eye. Through photographs, sculptures and installations based on single element lenses the viewer is re-introduced to the fundamental, preconscious sensation of the physical world interfacing with the physical self.
By devolving the lens to a point prior to photography’s invention Gray has created unique works that remove the mind’s role in rendering flat, sharp perception to reveal an ‘arc of focus’ which, on different subconscious levels, both makes sense and unsettles.
The disquiet experienced through isolating the body from the mind informs the impetus for this series; Gray's belief that there is something about Oz that exerts itself on the partially naturalised immigrant in ways that can’t be sensed.