It took Bendigo artist Joan Harris hundreds of hours at the photocopier to produce the almost four-metre-high collages that form part of her new exhibition Transcriptions.
“I think they got quite sick of me in the end,” Ms Harris said of the copy shop where she painstakingly copied and enlarged each of her photographs, for five cents a pop.
“I think I was using up all their ink.”
Each of Ms Harris’s pieces is created from photocopied photographs, manually manipulated through an enormous amount of cutting, pasting and layering.
Ms Harris is usually a painter but said she wanted a different way to explore her chosen subject: the seven virtues and seven vices.
She was inspired by the works of Botticelli, Pollaiuolo and Giotto on a trip to Italy as part of her PhD.
“I decided to make my own images based on them but in a more contemporary way,” she said. “This medium suited the works I wanted to create. The originals are so elaborate and rich and I wanted some of that.
“These works are big and you can really see the detail with the photographs.
“I found them very exciting because they really took on a life of their own. I found them a lot freer than paintings.”
Ms Harris said the project also allowed her to indulge in her love of elaborate embroidery, jewellery and props.
A commanding “Justice” holds an elaborate sword and much more modern globe.
“Faith” sports a Gothic cross and chalice, while a snake sprouts from the mouth of “Envy”.
“I like collecting things from op shops, pieces of interesting jewellery and fabric,” Ms Harris said. “I found that globe in the hard rubbish.”
Transcriptions will be officially launched at the La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre in View Street, Bendigo, tomorrow from 6pm to 8pm. The exhibition will be on display in the Access Gallery until
February 24. – ELISE SNASHALL-WOODHAMS