Abstact: Depart without return

The visual artist uses the known to depict the unknown just as the writer uses words to express the ineffable. From this paradox the premise of my research arises: an exploration of how we conceive of absence though marks or masks of presence.

In attempting to apprehend the unknown, I consider the notion of negative thought. This acknowledges the futility of describing the unknown, and approaches it by speaking of it by what it is not.

The project presents several ideas concerning the themes of emptiness, impermanence and unknowing. The unknown is principally beyond knowledge; yet its significance and meaning is apparent across cultures as evidenced through diverse artistic and literary investigations. 

My art practice is experimental and process driven, culminating in the thematically interconnected installation Depart Without Return. Through the varied mediums of photography, video and sculpture, I have explored death, the desert, the ephemeral, written language and erasure. Death is one unknown that I believe most worthy of creative reflection; it is the only certainty and holds the ultimate potential to make us aware of the sublime wonder of life.

I conclude that absence and presence are not as separate as they may appear; similarly the concepts of death and life are an inseparable continuum of each other. To explore absence one must do so through presence, similarly nothing and something are inextricable linked. By visually representing absence as presence, I aspire to draw attention to this essential paradox.

Through its presence, Depart Without Return is a personal reflection on death and the meaning of emptiness.  It is both a lament on the transience of life and a celebration of its mystery.