Artist Profile: Pat Brassington

11 July 2012 | 5:45 am | Paul Andrew

Five minutes with Pat Brassington.

Influential Australian Artist Pat Brassington hails from a printmaking and photography background at the University of Tasmania. The artist is considered the foremost Australian practitioner in photomedia and is the subject of a large survey show this month as part of ACCA's Influential Artist's series.

“The '80s were heady times – ideologies were under the microscope and theories linked to the politics of representation were all pervasive. Perhaps I was revving up then in attempts to get off the ground,” reflects Brassington of a time when Postmodernism was the prevailing trend in the cultural sphere and the idea that nothing was original anymore permeated Western thought. She continues. “The notion that nothing is original anymore is a conceit and that makes me melancholy.It's still a very big world and there are vast terrains yet to be negotiated.”

We talk about the cusp of analogue and digital during the late-1980s and how it felt at the time, the challenges at the brink of a new imaging age. “I felt resistance for a time. The tide of digital imagery did not lap at my consciousness until the '90s. Art practice often includes a good deal of musing, of untied thoughts and fanciful mental image concepts that are mostly little rehearsals that which will never reach the stage. Making requires thinking in material, a heuristic process of discovery and lots of dead ends. The evidence of a stream of thought is there to be pushed about in the hope of redemption until you click it off.

“I was not particularly attracted to colour photography, I preferred working in black and white. But I recall vividly experimenting with hand-colouring black and white silver gelatine prints. Interestingly enough I found food colouring quite effective and relatively stable. And yes, the artificiality or quirkiness of those hand-tinted studio portrait photographs seduce me. I frequently continue to call on my archive of black and white negatives. These are scanned to a computer then via Photoshop I introduce colour. Yes, it's akin to tinting and I do have a predilection for shades of redness. Blood in the veins.”

À Rebours by Pat Brassington runs from Saturday 11 August to Saturday 23 September, ACCA.