We paid a visit to Marisa Purcell’s Bondi studio in the months leading up to her exhibition Polyphony, currently on show until 17 August 2014 at Olsen Irwin. Purcell’s light filled studio was a hive of activity as she put the final touches onto her mixed media on linen works. Be sure to visit Olsen Irwin for the final week of Purcell’s show.
Polyphony: from Greek poluphōnia, from polu- ‘many’ + phōnē ‘sound’.
def: The style of simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with
each other. (“Polyphony.” The Oxford English Dictionary)
“What is the omnipresence of sound? Is it visible?
Is it constant or sporadic? Is there an underlying rhythm?
Sound is essentially abstract, endless and defies visual description.
The expression of sound through painting is by no means a new idea – Kandinsky’s improvisation paintings of the early 20th century allowed painting to enter into a world of sound, rhythm and timbre, liberating painting from the visual world.
Like sound, a painting has rhythm – the regular alternation between silent gaps and beats. The spaces – the voids – are anything but empty.
In these new paintings, sound dissolves, and dissipates into an underlying field. Where does this sound go? And what form does it take? The colours and marks in these paintings are a playful imagining of how sounds relate – how they cross over, how they resonate and then how they disappear or transmute into another state.
Colours blur out of focus, as if the light hasn’t yet reached us, lines feel as though they are moving away and gestures punctuate to bring together a polyphonic composition in paint. The varied forms of tone and mark reveal distant sounds that have always been present, and will always remain.
To depict is to impose boundaries, and a sense of the infinite is boundless, un-depictable. The abstract becomes the language with which to respond to this boundlessness, to respond to sound.”
About the artist:
After an initial career as a high school art teacher, Marisa Purcell (b. 1971, Queensland) moved to Sydney in 1994 to pursue a career in art practice. She went on to complete a Post-technician’s certificate in Printmaking from the National Art School, Master of Art Administration at the College of Fine Art UNSW and a Master of Visual Arts from the University of Sydney. In 2006 Purcell received the University of Sydney Postgraduate Award.
Purcell has been awarded prestigious residencies both in Australia and internationally, including a six-month residency in Zürich, Switzerland in 2003, a 2004 residency at the Cite Internationale des arts Paris, in 2008 at Haefligers Cottage, Hill End with Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and with Waverley Council in 2009. Purcell has exhibited Australia wide and internationally in Italy, France, Switzerland, Korea and Hong Kong.
30 July – 17 August
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra NSW 2025