Artist Statement 2015 Nikala Bourke Photography Major
“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos.
These images are camera-less photograms capturing the relationship between light, shadow and water. Collaborating with the environment of Browns River at night time, I interact with the water, imprinting the marks and forms made by the movement of fluid and sand onto photographic paper. Hand cut, photosensitised sheets are submerged into the water and exposed with light. The landscape a dark room, the water a negative. The dynamic aquatic forces are revealed in the chemical developing process of the dark room.
The large scale photograms are intended to persuade the audience to contemplate immersion within water, making a sensual connection with the 'experience of water materiality' (Susan Derges - British Photographer), with a direct relationship in scale to the body. The smaller light boxes illuminate the intricate detail and phenomenal activity that this process reveals, enabling a close up experience of the eloquent patterns made by nature itself. Infinitely complex and never ending patterns that repeat themselves across the universe on a microscopic to macroscopic spectrum.
The water phenomenon is translated into unique images, revealing a natural language of symbols and traces: cosmic phenomena of the river contents, mirroring it's motion, strangeness, wildness, stillness and peace. The large photograms, as authentic objects in themselves, as well as the minute intricate detail within the light boxes hold cosmic associations that reflect the composition of our world. This picture of Chaos – never-ending and infinitely complex patterns – are fractals. They are self-similar across the many different scales of nature, including body fluid, skin, flowers, trees, rivers, sea shells, mountains, clouds and the galaxies above.
Water has soothing and healing qualities, specifically within the context of the intriguing beach front and river mouth setting. This is my way of sharing the emotion of place, my haven, and the deep feelings arising when there. It is my hope that this body of work may encourage meditation and contemplative presence – slowing down and allowing mindful space, enabling thought and reflection.