Gillian Iles
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Body of work: Towards eternal glory

Towards Eternal Glory  
Towards eternal glory (Teg) was the official name given to a guided missile frigate in service to the Indian Navy in 2012.

It all started with the pictures of the North Koreas missile program and their attempts to develop ICBMs. For all the horror the missiles represented they were also visually beautiful. The sublime nature of power holds us in its spell. This exhibition is a response to the idea of power - its indefatigable presence, but as a construct, the vulnerability of it as well.

Societal power is a fabrication that requires constant molding, flexing and wielding in order to continue to exist. Despite the external hyperbolic posturing, its persistence is tenuous and it is a fragile thing. Some of the work represents this dichotomy - the boldly presented, accessible and overt paintings. These images are direct and unavoidable, demanding the viewer to engage, react and navigate within their presence. Simultaneously, effects beneath their surface seep through, fracturing the continuity of the image and suggesting their impermanence. These images are painted on top of existing unrelated imagery, underlining the temporary and cyclical nature of their existence.

Within the installation, a companion body of work exists which requires a proactive effort by the viewer. Imagery is tucked away, at first not obviously visible, appearing or literally being inaccessible. Imagery sits on acute angles to the walls, the scale is small, and some are positioned out of reach. The imagery requires the viewer to seek it out, to physically work or be uncomfortable in order to view it.

These are the small yet sublime presences of power. The moments we seek out- search for & find, that are reminders of the existence of alternate or elemental power, bigger than us all - power as a subtle presence, but persistent, undeniable and ultimately outlasting the rest.

The installation combines large paintings, small-scale intimate imagery and constructions and 3-D objects. The installation is environmental in scope, with both 2-D & 3-D work assembled, staggered and clustered, constructing spaces and incorporating both real and illusionary environments as extensions of each other.

Although fuelled by geo-political events, the work references the individual experience, tapping into primal sensations and providing visceral opportunities for the viewer. The viewer is always considered to be the final element within the installation.

Symbolic imagery draws from reoccurring themes within contemporary media, digital culture and historical contexts. The composite imagery presents an infinite array of ideals and desires as a sensory collage of fleeting instants that shape greater social identity & individual perception.

Using bias variables - like point of view, scale, clarity of definition, proximity and content relativity - the interactive constructions, obstructions and strategic positioning of imagery demands the viewer interact in particular ways with the work, influencing perception and highlighting and inspiring objective inconsistency and the malleability of response.

The work draws on the existence of social ideals, social orders, idealized lifestyles and beliefs especially as they pertain to colonial Western culture. Their manufactured existence, illusionary value, tenuous persistence and questionable motives are of particular importance. Tenuous social constructs, precarious systems of belief, ephemeral perceptions and the transient nature of opinion are relevant. The inevitability of change as an innate and implacable inclination of all systems is an underlying theme.

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