Alisdair Tait:  07903945229.

12th October 2013.


The chimera is a mythical animal that is illusory. An impossible entity that is formed from the parts of other animals.

In looking at the chimera, the observer sees multiple realities. The first look is of an animal, quickly followed by a second look. That second, much longer look reveals a disturbing image of an impossible creature.

It is my intention to create a body of work that asks the viewer to look twice, and experience the realization that what he saw the first time, might not be the reality he observed the second time.

In looking back over two years of work, and the deeper history of my photographic practice, it is the face, and the portrait that has remained central. My enduring passion is a deep curiosity with the portrait, and it is from that passion that this third year project is drawn. In looking for the creative impulse it is my intention to draw from that well, and synthesise it into a new body of work.

The exhibition content will consist of a series of portrait images that are edgy, disturbing, and send a mixed message to the observer. I want the viewer to look twice at a disturbed reality.

Influential to this project are a number of artist that cross the boundaries of Art, Fine Art, Photography, Text and Print. The use of mixed media is central, as is the multiplicity of layers within their work. It is this combination of processes that I find inspirational. Artists such as Holly Roberts, Sigmar Polke, and Arnulf Rainer are good examples of this process. Of particular interest to me is Judith Golden, and her “Early Work.” A series of images that combine paint, pastels, and photography into a disturbing composite.

In realising the project a number of problems immediately present themselves. How, where, and with what, will the media be applied. I need a model, and suitable paint. Having found solutions a period of experimentation and discovery will settle the broad direction and destination of the project.

The project will be studio based, and initially the images will be digital. I intend to explore the use of 5 x 4 film and medium format digital technology to maximise resolution, quality and impact of the exhibition images.

My focus is the confluence between paint, and the photograph. In particular, the concept that the sitter becomes the canvas.

Reference and Reading List:

Joyce Tenneson. (2008)  A Life In Photography, 1968-2008. New York : Bulfinch Press Book.

Michael Fried. (2008) Why Photography Matters As Art As Never Before, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Rineke Dijkstra and Katy Siegel. (2001) Rineke Dijkstra: Portraits. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art.

Roland Barthes. (1982) Camera Lucida: Reflections On Photography, New York : Hill And Wang.

G. Clarke (1948) The Portrait in Photography. Reaktion Books. London

Susan Bright. (2001) Auto focus: the self-portrait in contemporary photography. Thames & Hudson. London