Jess MacNeil’s practice encompasses painting, photography and video. Much of her work explores the convergence of these mediums and the recurring themes of absence/presence and stillness/movement. A set of photo-paintings made by the artist of people traversing the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House provided the source material for the video work, Opera House Steps March. In the series of photo-paintings, the artist traced and delineated the figures and their various trajectories in opaque white paint. In the video, Opera House Steps March the artist uses digital manipulation to meticulously remove the physical forms of people using the steps, leaving only their shadows as evidence.
On a recent stay in Varanasi, India, Jess MacNeil filmed boats on the River Ganges at twilight. In The Shape of Between, the artist plays with time and focal point – extending one hundred seconds of this original footage to almost thirteen minutes. The artist has slowed, and looped the video – the four boats and their occupants never complete their journey, which is circuitous and unending.
Jess MacNeil was born in 1977 in Nova Scotia, Canada. She completed a Master of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in 2004 and was a recipient of an Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2007. She has exhibited widely and was recently included in Strange Times at the Art Organisation, International Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2006) and in the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney.
Jess MacNeil is represented by Gallery Barry Keldoulis (Sydney).
The Shape of Between 2006
Still from DVD
sound: Marcus Kaiser
Hamilton Art Gallery Collection
Courtesy the artist and Gallery Barry Keldoulis (Sydney)