Elaine Brown, Laura Marker & Bethe Bronson 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?
Elaine Brown and Bethe Bronson's 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.
Elaine Brown’s practice encompasses painting, drawing, photography and film, and engages with the dialogue between these media, specifically in relation to the perception of time within the work of art and the role played by touch, light and memory. Underlying ideas are hidden narratives, absence, presence, disappearance, longing, mortality, memento mori, the subconscious and deliberate meanings that become attached to objects.
I am interested in how the suspension of disbelief operates in contemplating not only the rectangle of the painting but also the film image, and how the blankness between film frames or between individual paintings is filled by the mind.
'If we didn't blink we wouldn't be able to see. Interruption is what allows us to take our distance and reclaim our consciousness from the blindness of sight.'