“The cosmos has long represented ‘the final frontier’ from our human perspective here on Earth. Scientists and astronomers have transmitted coded electronic messages, as well as actual objects, into space for several decades in an attempt to contact possible alien life. I have drawn inspiration from imagery, colours and symbols related to this cosmic call-out to create this series of intimate mixed-media pieces. Humankind’s lonely search for connection through the vast darkness of space also serves as a kind of a metaphor for our on-going search for meaning, connection and understanding amongst our own species, as well as within ourselves.”
“Through these works I aim to draw wordless awareness to the underlying ties we have to each other, as well as to the mystery and beauty of all that surrounds us.”
“In terms of the process, I began this body of work by sourcing vintage astronomy photographic prints. I had these enlarged and printed onto canvas and card. Using these prints as a jumping-off point, I utilised other media including acrylics, aerosol paint and fabric to create mixed media pieces that responded to themes of Transmission. Several of the pieces also incorporate a collaged ‘portal’ shape – a symbol that speaks to the visual language of space and connection.”
At the heart of the work of Kirsten Duncombe is an abiding interest in materiality and abstraction. Varied media, including: printmaking, drawing, painting, and, collage are used to explore how chance and the power of the ambiguous can provoke a unique visceral response in the viewer. Pouring, layering and cutting reveal the unexpected, mysterious, and unconventional, as elements are positioned and repositioned to create these intimate works. A passionate and experienced art educator, Duncombe’s work is informed by the post-painterly abstractionists, (including Helen Frankenthaler and Ellsworth Kelly), surrealism and minimalism. More notably, her interest in the abstract goes beyond the familiar Western 20th Century tradition, to include a scholarly knowledge of abstract principles that stretch back millennia and reference the profound human connection to non-representative form. Sources as diverse as pre-historic petroglyphs, Tibetan beadwork, Navajo weavings and particularly the elusive tradition of abstract Tantric paintings from Rajasthan, India are used for inspiration. This is abstraction in its broadest sense, revealing a common thread through history, bypassing language, crossing cultural borders and linking to something elementally human. Drawing on these themes, Duncombe’s works explore how non-objective form and materiality can be used as a meditation on the possibility and mystery that are inherent in the world we live in but also deep within each of us.
Exhibition 30 March – 22 April
opening Saturday 1 April 2 – 4 pm
see a listing of Kirsten’s work here