Artist Statement

The spectrum of my work takes its starting point with moments in time and the energy within urban environments. I have a passionate engagement with life and energy, the art-making process, and film. I am concerned with the beauty and energy of the ‘everyday’, ordinary living has a simplicity and expressionistic quality while abstract when separated from its context. My images emerge from connections with transitory sightings and moments in time; they are sourced from a flow of recorded viewings. We inhabit an environment of change, parallels, layers and differences in sameness, edges and boundaries are mutable, random observations and thoughts connect and lead to moments of insight. An abstraction is created and expressed by the movement across the city and through the city’s energy. I use the life and energy within each image and bring that out through the canvas; raw, expressionistic and abstract as it may seem.

In the initial stages of making paintings from the current series, I film and photography events in the urban environment. I collect local imagery in film and photo format, these are then used as the reference to each individual moment from the city experience. The film and photographic imagery become vital documentary trace elements in the work, having a ‘diary of time’ notation to them. Images caught on camera are part of a universal connection. They have life before and after the event. Film making is about communicating ideas, collaboration, the visual image; it is a medium that reaches a lot of people in one go. Film uses similar ideas as painting does in relation to the use of layers of information within an image. Images hold significance towards each other, the emotions, time and expressions from within. I film to grab the energy of life, love capturing life. Life is a continuum with accretion of moments – an accretion of the experience of each hour, each day, each place, each relationship, capturing and juxtaposition moment of reality caught freeze framed. The city as an image is built up with layers of information, responding to time, movement, emotion, form, shape, light and colour. Concerns relate to environments, moments in time, local and universal connection, emotions, reflections, expressions and reactions. Images connect and disconnect with each moment, overlapping and running through each other. When moving across the city, a photo is taken, the image is abstracted layers of information are muted and hold minimal data of a city, while some layers hold detailed outlines and block sections of details from cars, bikes or people. Other ground holds minimal solid information, yet still vague and ghost-like.
The environments inhabited in the works are space of transit; walkways, crossings, streets and roads; everyday events; people walking in the city, shopping; everyday activities; bikes, walking dogs, parties. These are all part of the everyday ‘doing’ – the carrying out of something. There is a lot of information out there and most of the time my references are merely scratching the surface and are simple observational thoughts. The shimmering of information of cities is seen from various views to close up viewpoints of figures, buildings and objects in urban environments. Shifts are seen of grainy and blurred passengers of luminosity and shadows of figures moving through the city. What surrounds me is important because it is connects with my consciousness. Each encounter stores a memory or leaves a recorded trace. I draw energy from my experiences, and this drives me to create forms of visual expression.

Showing people enmeshed in the momentum of life, passing on their journeys in there here and now and across generational divides. In the many arbitrary aspects of daily life, there are possibilities for glimpsing something of the inherent energy, continuity and illusive mystery underlying human experience and memory. Our thoughts are created by what we think about, what we see, what we say, what we do, and how we act and feel. Every word we speak, every action we take, and every thought we think, conscious or subconscious, this affects us as a whole, a Universal connection and everything and everybody in it. Everything happens for a reason, and connects to each other is one form or another. There is a lot of information out there caused by the impacts in our lives, and livelihoods and our concerns with social and political events, these reflect and express particular concerns on city dwellers and this is expressed into the environment. While working with old technologies such as oil on canvas which is 400 plus years old, then introducing new technologies to drive the image out, the use of photography and film, this opens new suggestions and interests into materials used in the studio the study and development, and application of devices, machines, and techniques for manufacturing and productive processes, while still using traditional recipes like Tempura to complete the final stage.
I jump between styles and the ways in doing something. Manly due to the fact nothing is the same, there is a universal resemblance to things, but it is altered in its appearance and feel. Change is difficult and hard to work with at times but hold great possibilities in the art-making process. Transforms of appearances and feel is evident in our environments by the juxtaposition of objects in space. In the studio I start with a random collection of imagery broken up into three sections, Ordinary, Abstract and Footage. Materials used are egg, water, pigments, gesso, and oil mediums. These are critical to the outcome of an image. Each material holds an important part to the next and in the final body of work.
I am passionate about painting and the combination of materials I use such as tempura, pigments, oil paints, oil mediums and charcoal and graphite powder. Painting and my energy towards this is as important as my recordings; I am passionate about and fascinated by the process of making my own paints, and this becomes another important part of the works. My work is informed by such diverse movements as Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, minimal abstraction, the New York Art School, Romanticism, Decoration and Urban and Street art. These become observations of contemporary urban life and transmuting them into atmospheric street stories.

Human condition reflected through the prism of urban experience.

Melissajay Egan

Immortal Insight

Journal Comments

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