Previously in my practice, I have made ‘portraits’ of Australian artists by painting photographs of their bookshelves, in which the book spines and what these objects represented was paramount. In this new body of work I am furthering my investigations into books as objects, by examining how they function differently when used in a very different context.
For the exhibition Spectrum, I am making a series of bookshelf paintings that sit together in a line to form a colour spectrum installation. The shapes of the shelves are modeled on Piet Mondrain’s paintings from the 1920s/30s (a series of works comprising black lines with occasional blocks of colour, forming simple grid shapes). These bookshelves are each filled with similarly coloured books, photographed and then painted. The paintings will have the appearance of a Minimalist installation from a distance, yet function as more literal ‘realist paintings’ when viewed close up, playing with the detailed nature of the objects as they contrast with the sparse vocabulary of Minimalism. The books are disparate groups connected only by their spine colours – using them in this way echoes Minimalist concerns of form over content, whereby the books are stripped of their literary significance and reduced simply to colours. In these works, the books highlight the repetition of geometric forms through a colour spectrum, thus the titles and what they represent are no longer the focus, rather they act as structural tools in a bigger picture.