IN + THE + BLINK + OF + AN + EYE
Anne Scott Wilson's video and photographs explore the sublime in relation to 'terror sublime'.
According to Edmund Burke (1756), painting, when used as a medium to evoke 'the sublime' could not be considered as effective as poetry. He proposed that unless imagery depicts,' something beyond human comprehension juxtaposed with beauty'; painting's ability to transport the viewer was poetry's poor cousin. The physical beauty of Geelong, its space and light quality coupled with Covid conditions, is both a scene of trauma and beauty – it penetrates deeper than beauty alone because it induces fear. I think of how Turner's paintings are both beautiful and frightening. He uses light to create the human form, tiny specks in the middle of an immense and dangerous body of water. Turner's use of scale and contrast, paired with his choice of how to depict a scene; lead the viewer into what Burke describes as ‘terror sublime’ much like Covid.
Today, during Covid, 'terror sublime' could be thought of as held within the light of screens where we search for something and unwittingly embark on an AI curated journey through a labyrinth of disasters that often sit on the sides of an article or video. The screen is taking us into unintentional wormholes.
While screen light seduces us into new territories laden with disaster, it reveals what we cannot unsee. Tonya and Annie’s screens are a studied reflection on ‘sublime isolation’ then and now.
Tonya’s digital triptych presents fragments of food waste grown and materially cultivated from the beginning of Covid 19’s emergence in Australia around February 2020. Searching eagerly for some form for metaphysical evolution, in quarantine Tonya’s scenes of mould have been cultivated as a by-product of lived experience pre-Covid. However, they continue through our isolation. Sparked by tiny specks of eaten matter, which are feed, and watered this organic growth develops each day transforming at its own pace. The organic has visually formed into an abstract and unique living 3D sculpture. The work continues to develop, and the digital triptych Sublime, 1, 2, and 3, present the viewer with snapshots the organic form as graphic, and chaotic. The work urges an in-progress open-ended dialogue on isolation in the time of Covid, coupled with notions of documenting a life ‘in-between’. The digital triptych theoretically operates on a metaphoric level as well as a on a documentary mode. A comment on our lived but quiet stationary presence juxtaposed with our silent yet hauntingly beautiful growing encounters the mould represents yet dangerously questions both the beauty of isolation and the terror sublime.
Anne Scott Wilson
Tonya A Meyrick