The artist statement

2017 Artist Statement - Wendy Catling

The cyanotype series 'Afterimage' was produced during the summer of 2016-17. I have an interest in the confluence between visual perception, memory and imagination. The visions seen inside closed eyelids, and afterimage visualisations are aspects of perception that trouble my sleep and that inform my cyanotype images. My work stems from memories of growing up during the 1960s in a hot Australian wheatbelt country town and the anxieties of navigating a dysfunctional family life.  They are visions of safe places, both psychological and physical, to escape uncertainty and danger.

Using blazing summer sunlight on sensitised archival paper, I have filtered images of real and metaphorical bowers seen during daylight reveries and revisited in late night insomniac states: exploring an imagined world amongst ancient tangled jasmine vines, lying hidden amongst weeds on a vacant block gazing at the sky or staring up through seaweed in a rockpool dream. These are the magic and dramatic places of the subconscious.

Blue sprites are formed by broken shards of my mother's treasured possessions during violent arguments, and shattered windscreen glass at the moment of impact when my father died in a car crash. Drifting clouds are formed by shreds of 1950s organza worn by my mother at a ball before her fateful meeting with her tormentor. Spider webs of crocheted doilies entice and ensnare. These are simultaneously moments of imagined beauty and enduring sadness.

 "My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama." ~ Louise Bourgois

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© Wendy Catling