artist statement

I see myself as an image maker, recording people, places and patterns I find around me.

I use my digital camera to layer and juxtapose multiple exposures creating images which might tell a story, depict a character, create an impression or simply provide a whimsical perspective. I enjoy the factor of chance, John Cage called it ‘The proposition of chance’, which emerges inherently from the in-camera technique I use. I also enjoy the ability to ’paint’ colours and shades of light, which the process also allows.

My 2014 ‘More about eden’ show follows on from the 2013 exhibition loosely connecting ideas on the myths surrounding the word Eden, together with the everyday experience of living in suburban Mt Eden in the presence of Maungawhau. People and places are brought together, and patterns are found from objects I see around me.

Histories Aotearoa is a series celebrating settlement of New Zealand, from pre European times through to the present day. Its aim is to record some of the people and cultures that have contributed to our rich and orderly life here today.

Thanks go to Ralph Robertson and Ethan Rush for permission to use of their portraits and Dylan Rush for the use of his art work. The black and white image is from a video work by Henry Coombes shown at Carriage Works, Sydney, in the Sydney Biennale 2014.

Photography using multiple exposures has a long history. My own experience goes back to schoolboy experiments and ‘box brownie’ days. Man Ray and Maurice Tabard, early avant-guard photographers, were creating multiple exposures in the 1920’s. Clarence J Laughlan, an American Surrealist, was producing multiple exposure work in the late 1940s trying to capture the vanishing southern urban landscape and keep memories alive. Fredrick Sommer’s famous double exposed photograph of artist Max Ernst shows the wild-eyed painter melding in and out of a water stained concrete wall. It appeared on the cover of ‘Aperture’ in 1956.

American Gordon Parks experimented early with multiply exposed colour photographs and was followed by other artists including Andy Warhol and New Zealander Billy Apple. Contemporary American photographer, Julie Connors, in a residency at artist Sol LeWitt’s home in Campania, said ... ‘I explored how the layering of structure upon the landscape transforms by juxtaposition and intersection, exaggerating and suffusing light. Sometimes I laid down parts of LeWitt’s work in several tiers upon my own, never quite sure what would be revealed.’ Her work features on the front cover of ‘Aperture’ in Fall 2011.

British artist Helen Sear’s series ‘Inside The View’, which borrows the title from collages by Ernst, fuses together the formality of landscape and portraiture. These are overlain with shimmering veils resembling lace which are hand drawn in the computer. Her painterliness emerges in the image as a worked surface. My own experience has led me to explore both the overlapping of photographic and cultural ideas. I prefer to use my camera’s capability to merge images rather than using computer work because of the chance and sheer fun it can bring. It lets me create something uncommon, my own view of the world.

I am grateful for the help and guidance provided by renowned Australian photographer Ken Ball, who got me started on this line of endeavour some years ago. Through his continued assistance and interest in my work I have been able to take on a teaching role in recent workshops in Auckland and the on the Gold Coast.

Murray Noble

June 2014