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Tired of intellectualising everything, Kate Ballis’ new series challenges us to think about what a place feels like.
“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” – Oscar Wilde
Can’t one be satisfied with the raw sensation of consciousness? Constricted by a painting? Moved by a film? Enveloped in a warm field of sound without wondering why?
One of the strangest things about being human is that our wonderful ability to entangle things with meaning also makes it hard to feel.
In the Galapagos Islands Kate Ballis was turning these thoughts over in her mind. There was so much to think about and photograph. She was surrounded by wonderfully strange animals and volcanic rocks and tourist boats, walking the ground where Charles Darwin clung onto the first threads of the Theory of Evolution, in one of the only places on earth that evolved in a vacuum, making it easy to imagine what life might look like on another planet out there in the cosmos.
In spite of all of this intellectualising, Kate found herself searching for what the Galapagos felt like. So over the days that followed, she immersed herself in the raw sensations that one gets when they step off the boat and set foot on the islands. Exploring not our text book history but the colour and mood, the refractions of light on the water and the belting sun against the rocks.
According to Kate, the collection (comprising of eight images) does away with line and physical form to allow the colours themselves to become the composition and the basis for interpretation and connection. In turn, the images take you somewhere down below in the undergrowth. Somewhere more visceral. Somewhere you can feel but haven’t seen before.
Kate shot Spectrums of the Galapagos on a digital SLR, covering the lens with an acetate film that she’d borrowed from a fashion Atelier in New York. The acetate refracts light and abstracts the images. Using water as a backdrop, Kate created scenes reminiscent of the nighttime sky, with a surrealist and beautiful eye, asking us to let go of what everything means and instead focus on the stream of raw consciousness we get from light, colour and movement.
Kate’s Spectrums of the Galapagos series will be available to order at the opening of the ‘Spectrums of the Galapagos’ exhibition on March 28, 2019 and sold exclusively in all Jardan stores and online.