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Australian art

Contemporary art


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The Branching



Pat Brassington


03 Mar 1942 -


Pat Brassington completed her Masters of Fine Art at the University of Tasmania after receiving her Bachelor of Visual Art from the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education. Since the mid-1980s she has worked within a disrupted surrealist aesthetic, engaging the surreal, psychoanalytic and cinematic. With her ability to inflect these themes with a subtle feminist poignancy, Brassington has established a long and powerful career and is one of Australia’s foremost photo media artists.

Brassington has extensively mined the body as a site of creative potential. In one panel of The branching she works with this familiar material, producing a ghostly figure which hovers, unburdened by gravity. The outspread arms create a visual allusion to the crucifixion, while confounding normative representations of the scene through the gender of the subject and her weightlessness. Uncommon in Brassington’s body of work, however, is the motif of the tree. The limbs of the tree and the limbs of the figure create a dialogue between the two panels and heightening the sense of the uncanny. Further, Brassington is known for her use of claustrophobic interior spaces whereas 'The Branching' conveys a sense of depthless space. The notion of branching divergence within the metaphor of the tree of life was formulated in the 19th century by Charles Darwin in his attempts to explain his theories of evolution; here, Brassington pairs tree and woman blasted by light in a form of gothic ecstasy.




Media category


Materials used

2 pigment prints, diptych


1/3 + 2APs


94.0 x 130.0 cm each image; 96.0 x 132.0 x 3.0 cm each frame; 96.0 x 264.0 cm overall :

a - Left hand object (figure), 94.1 x 130.2 cm, visible image

a - Left hand object (figure), 96.1 x 132.2 x 3 cm, frame

b - Right hand object (tree), 94 x 130.1 cm, visible image

b - Right hand object (tree), 96 x 132.1 x 3.1 cm, frame

Signature & date

Not Signed. Dated l.r. verso frame, object part a, printed black ink on white label '...2015...'


Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Endowment Fund, 2015


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Pat Brassington

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history