‘I have long been interested in psychoanalysis and have been intrigued also by strategies used by some Surrealists. If I add these influences to my own life experience I come as close as I can to providing a rationale for my images of fantasy.’ Pat Brassington 2005 1
Pat Brassington’s images of fantasy are decidedly odd. They intentionally provoke our perception and imagination, presenting curiosities that demand attention and engage the mind. With her suggestive and enigmatic images, Brassington’s work elicits from the viewer an attempt to decipher meaning, playing on the mind’s natural impulses and predilection for games of mental association.
‘In my mother’s house’ comprises four images that, typical to Brassington’s practice, are drawn from existing images – either found photographs or from personal archives that are then altered, with new, often disturbingly eccentric, images emerging. Brassington’s work has always incorporated manipulated images. Even before the advent of digital technologies (her background combines printmaking and photography) Brassington would produce images by re-photographing collaged images.
In this work Brassington uses images taken by herself in her late mother’s home, combined with portraits of young goitre sufferers from an old medical text. Applying similar treatments to the images she enhances the sense of interconnectivity between disparate elements, lending the work a visual cohesion. Viewing ‘In my mother’s house’, we are left to consider these images as equal fragments or components in an intriguing and silent narrative. The mind seeks resolution, linking images like clues, searching for answers to resolve the mystery, to understand this scene of psychic disturbance. Brassington knowingly anticipates our response – in later works the floral print of the pillow reappears, thus becoming imbued with implied significance, while the repetition of motifs ties into the idea of recurring or re-surfacing memories.
1. King N 2005, ‘Supernatural artificial: contemporary photo based work from Australia’, Tokyo Museum of Photography, Tokyo p 12
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
four gelatin silver photographs.
4 photographs: each 52.0 x 35.5 cm image; 76.5 x 59.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
© Pat Brassington
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography!, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 23 Jul 1996–10 Nov 1996
Pat Brassington work in progress, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville, 13 Jul 2002–15 Sep 2002
The surreal aesthetic, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Jul 2007–14 Oct 2007
Pat Brassington - The body electric, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 Aug 2017–11 Feb 2018
Referenced in 3 publications
George Alexander, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Tableaux - memento mori - screen culture', pg.313-335, Sydney, 2007, 318, 322 (illus.).
Linda Michael, Photography is dead! Long live photography!, Sydney, 1996, 105.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Imprint, Melbourne, Winter 1998, 9 (illus.), 10.