Monday, September 26, 2016

Letter from America 1...

Letter from America 1...detail of archive

'Letter from America 1' is composed of 100 hand-made muslin envelopes whose surfaces and interiors have been embedded with etching, collage and beeswax. The collage images are a random collection of encyclopedic-like illustrations gathered from various sources. Once enclosed within each envelope they attempt to evoke an ensemble of ambiguous narratives and poetic associations. The use of bees wax creates a duality of possible responses...its transparency suggesting a certain fluidity yet the figure, the event remains inaccessible and motionless, All of which have the capacity to reinforce a measured reference of not wanting to relinquish the small pleasures of everyday life. The title of the work relates to the demise of a favourite radio program that I had listened to for almost fifteen years on ABC's Radio National.
Letter from America was a weekly radio critique of contemporary social and political life in the USA presented by London Times foreign correspondent Alistair Cook. He possessed one of the most sublime radio voices. My doctorate thesis made a number of unnecessary and over emphasised connections with Barthes references to notions of punctum and studium...interesting concepts in themselves but the deciphering of these works is in the descriptions made available in the work itself...figures fixed and frozen within a certain moment devoid of any particular space. The envelope form is an overwhelming symbol of correspondence...but in a form (the implied letter) that has almost quietly become obsolete...the transparency heightened by the use of bees wax
creates a sense of things being  accessible...obtainable..but they remain both veiled and if not fixed than adrift within the shallowest of spaces.


  1. enjoying this dissembling, especially the veiling of "the implied letters"

  2. it surprises me how this work and it's connections for you are iconographic for viewers...and the tactility when i look at close-ups of muslin envelopes printed and waxed really evoke connections of memory and loss.

  3. Two of my favourite 'commentators'...always extending my reflections on works. Thank you.

  4. Alistair cooke was a favourite in our house too. This work resonates with those same sounds and pauses of this memorable radio program.