c3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford
August 17 - September 11, 2016
Subtly discerning faces I have never seen in the flesh,
gently interpreting inexplicable movements of the heart.
Delicately consoled by a longing that ever increases,
slowly reading books that never end.
So near (always), so palpable (sometimes).
Bathed intermittently in the light of a heavenly country.
So near seeks to combine James’ research interests of sacred art and contemporary non-representative art making, in the hope of offering small moments of revelation and dissipation in small abstract icons. He has long been fascinated by the aesthetic, historical, and spiritual depth of Byzantine iconography and mosaics, and Gothic stained glass. Traditionally, such images act as windows for communication, the gazing back and forth between persons on opposite sides of eternity/mortality. Having simultaneously been captured by contemporary abstraction with its myriad languages, James has adopted some of the visual and spiritual elements of these forms of sacred art into the non-representative context. This is in order to open up the possibility of an experience at first visceral, and then maybe even spiritual; where form, light and meaning are at times vivid, yet just as quickly slip away.
Thanks to Jon Butt of c3, Tony Fuery (artwork documentation) and Vivian Cooper Smith (exhibition documentation).