Lucy James

In the broader context of James’ practice, symbols, signs and signifiers are collected and categorised by item, size, colour. Flowers, gemstones, weapons, hands, tools, structures and of course, a continued parallel collection of Men with Glasses.


Pieces are sourced from found books, with a preference for particular paper stock and eras of publishing, usually pre 1980. Particular authors and photographers are prized features in my collection, with Allan Seale taking pride of place as a co-conspirator in floral collections. Multiples of the same publication are used, with delight found in tonal variations across prints.


Images are cut with a sterile medical scalpel (number 11 blade) that is changed the moment it starts to catch on the paper. Once cut, images are categorised and stored, sometimes for years, until the composition is ready to begin.


Composition is everything.


With a practice informed by intuition, collection and composition, Lucy James’ work spans drawing, painting and collage. Armed with a medical scalpel, James harvests images from discarded and forgotten books, recontextualising them into carefully composed hybrids of form and meaning. Touching on issues of inherited folklore, the exploitation of natural resources and relationships with the body, her work evokes fantasies emerging from the vast expanse of our collective imagination. Sometimes humorous and often absurd, her work brings the viewer into a dreamscape where reality is ambiguous, space defies gravity and history is rewritten.


James has exhibited nationally and internationally, with artwork housed in private collections in Australia, Japan, the USA and the UK. She has been a contributor to inaugural publications such as Cat People magazine and the Key of Sea journal, and is one half of the married artist duo Bonus Card.