Artist’s Statement

Felicity Spear Visual Artist

My main interest is in the way meaning unfolds through a field of relations both historical and contemporary.

My exploration of the production of 17th-century Dutch painting — a period commonly referred to as the ‘age of observation’ — has been an important influence.

I like to work with the ambiguities that exist between the world we see (and construct), and the world as seen (and recorded through the optical system of the eye). By laying 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.

I’m interested in the way different systems of knowledge might interact to reflect relationships between worlds: the natural and constructed, and the human and non-human. Through a machine-produced visibility and understanding, we paradoxically see ourselves becoming both attached and detached from other living things.  

The depths of the night sky are associated with the awe and mystery of nature. The recent Sky Lab project emerged from speculations about relationships between our Earth-bound selves and sky-situated knowledge. Our grasp of natural phenomena is beyond the full range of our senses.

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.

My work references light, optics, and ideas about mapping space. Images are often created using lens-based technologies, such as the camera, telescope or microscope, as well as remote sensing technologies and data. I make paintings, photographs, (including pin-hole photographs), digital prints, artist’s books, sound works and three dimensional objects.  These works reference ways of seeing and memory, space and time, art and science, philosophy and history.

Felicity Spear (2019)