CRADLING THE SINGING BIRD
A conversation through images requires a keen eye—to articulate ideas, and clarify meaning, and by so doing, prompt another artist to respond in kind. And to move gradually towards, this visual discussion becoming not just an exchange, but a collaboration, where answers merge to become dialectical images—third, united responses that eloquently expand each creator’s work into a new picture. And from this to create a beautiful way to speak through looking …
Both Nathalie Agussol, in her guise as Pan, and Julie Wolfe make images that cast a keen eye on nature and the everyday. Each is concerned with form. Each looks to previous representations of birds, clouds, shells, fragments of bodies, and rethinks them through their own gaze. For Pan, this might mean a cleanly lit black and white photograph of a wig, turned inside out to focus on internal structure rather than the soft, blonde curls it was designed to display.
In Wolfe’s hands, this exploration includes carefully rendered gems, made uncanny by rich, watery overlaid colour that drips from apparently solid minerals. Their images collage together varied media, question how we look and what we do and don’t see, to adjust our focus by drawing attention to hidden or overlooked elements. Together, the images they have created for this project delve deeper, to construct pictures of surreal beauty, and a world reimagined through subtle, interconnected layers.
Having spoken through their images and words, these inspiring women decided to bring their separate but aesthetically and thematically linked worlds together. The new images, collected under a title ‘Cradling the Singing Bird’ — a line borrowed from a Rimbaud poem, is visually rich. It represents a conversation, exploration and friendship developed through the creation of images that will continue to generate further thoughts and pictures in the minds of those who look at them.
Dr Rebecca Arnold
Senior Lecturer in History of Dress
Courtauld Institute of Art
Special edition of 200 copies.
60 pgs, 43 × 33 cm, 2022