Artist’s Statement

Felicity Spear Visual Artist

My interests lie in the way meaning unfolds through a field of relations, historically, contemporaneously and in the future. An exploration of the production of 17th-century Dutch painting — a period commonly referred to as the ‘age of observation’ — has been a significant influence.

I like to work with the ambiguities that exist between the world we see and mentally construct, and the world as seen and recorded through the optical system of the eye. Over time other instruments for seeing have evolved which enable us to see beyond the visible. This recognises that our grasp of natural phenomena is beyond the full range of our senses. It’s through a machine-produced visibility and understanding that we, paradoxically, see ourselves as both attached and detached from other living things.

I’m interested in the way different systems of knowledge interact to reflect relationships between worlds: the natural and constructed, and the human and non-human. Mapping is a process by which we try to organise, understand and negotiate these spaces and our place within them. And when we lay culture over nature, like a map, we raise questions about the way we observe, influence and imagine the natural world and our relationship with it.

With this in mind I developed the Sky Lab project, a series of group exhibitions emerging from speculations about the relationships between our Earth-bound selves, sky-situated knowledge and the cosmos. The works in the Sky Lab project reference observational technologies associated with light and image capture, multi-wavelength radiations and remote sensing, data, digital manipulation, photography, mathematics and science fiction. Further projects are an extension of this interest.

I often work with lens-based technologies, such as the camera, telescope or microscope, as well as remote sensing technologies and data. I make paintings, drawings, photographs (including pin-hole photographs), digital prints, artist’s books, sound works and three dimensional objects. These works reference space and time, art and science, philosophy and history.

Felicity Spear (2019)