Felicia Kan photographs the sky, sea and land which she at times displays alongside monochrome paintings and objects in order to create a dialogue between them. As she has written: 'Central to my interests in making art is the investigation of the reciprocities between mediums, processes and visual thinking.'1 Her interests are also in the ineffable, the untranslatable aspects of thought, which she traces to her bilingual history. Kan grew up in Hong Kong and when she moved to Sydney, space, nature and the countryside were strange and exotic locales that took time to discover.
Typically, her large vertical photographs deny the horizon line and are not obviously of a particular place, revealing minimal slices of the sky, ocean or landscape. Kan's glossy images describe the nature of representation's effect and, by implication, the processes of seeing and observation. This relates to her monochrome paintings, where large expanses of one colour suggest a range of expression. She has also studied photographers with similar interests, who are likewise interested in making images where the content is other than what it appears, for instance, Alfred Stieglitz's 'Equivalents' of the 1920s - cloud photographs which approximate music, poetry or other subjective relationships. Kan's image 'Reservoir' draws out these conceptual preoccupations, even though there is more visual information in this photograph. The cows' reflection in the pond's surface along with the fringe of the Blue Mountains alters the viewer's perception so that the orientation of the work becomes perplexing. This image subtly shifts awareness, registering a mood and reconfiguring space beyond what is 'real'.
1. Stanhope Z 1998, 'Graphic', Monash University Gallery, Melbourne
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
type C photograph on aluminium
120.0 x 79.5 cm image / sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Viktoria Marinov Bequest Fund 1999
Not on display
© Felicia Kan
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 1 publication
Natasha Bullock, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Time - memory - place', pg.288-311, Sydney, 2007, 309 (colour illus.).