Bethe Bronson, Laura Marker & Elaine Brown begin their collaboration through a drawing by Hieronymus Bosch, which includes the text ‘The Trees Have Ears and the Field Has Eyes’ and like much of his work it features an owl, this time central to the image, sitting on the branch of a tree. The trees are strange, they have ears, and the field they are set upon is riddled with eyes in the grass. Expressing perhaps the paranoia of the artist in this case – the text has been familiar to different societies through time, a metaphor for being listened to and observed by hidden powers, religious authorities, or political enemies. The walls also have ears it seems, telephones have been bugged, tiny cameras have watched, drones can find us, and technology can be hacked. Algorithms are now constantly collected from anyone and everyone. Can we ever be truly alone? Beyond the known we consider what else is lurking in the shadows, out of plain sight, on the edge of perception?
Bethe Bronson and Elaine Brown create site responsive installations that reference the architecture and unique atmosphere of the space that they are working in. Exploring commonalities between their individual practices both artists work intuitively with the space they are exhibiting in to create photogenic drawings, which expose and temporarily capture from the environment ‘that which is not yet visible’. The result is drawing with light that visually marks the progression of time, gradually revealing an unseen thing that manifests itself to the viewer slowly and quietly.
For Bethe Bronson the concept of liminality, as it references that edge between what we know and understand, and what we don’t know and don’t understand; I want to explore what teeters at that edge. I am fascinated with absence and presence and the dichotomy that exists between them. Embracing media that lends itself conceptually to my work I find that lens based media with its ability to capture moments in time, yet be altered to suit the context, is ideal for me to explore.
My work investigates expectations, explicitly societal expectations and the control or lack of control that these expectations can create. I have been examining how this manifests itself specifically through the photographic documentation of families, particularly how it pertains to the women and mothers. The question of just who is in control, the gazer or the one that holds your gaze holds much interest for me. Conceptually as well as concretely, I'm concerned with what's not there, what we don't see and how it affects what do see.