How audacious of me to take a photo of a photographic artist. I cant help myself though. As you see, Lyndal Walker, photographer and latest Artist in Residence at Montsalvat, is pretty photogenic, so not too hard to get a good pic thankfully.
She's only a few weeks into her residency, so there is not a completed body of work to show you.....yet. But I had the best time chatting with her at The Meeting Pool and then finding one of her favourite hidden away places at Montsalvat to get this pic.
I've been really impressed by the intellectual rigour that is evident with the Artists in Residence at Montsalvat. None more so than with Lyndal. Her creative process goes something like this.
Without giving too much away...the themes she has been exploring in relation to her project at Montsalvat are- time, gender, history and neo gothic architecture
Researching the theme includes the written word plus logistical and visual research.
She allows research to percolate down which involves filtering out what's superfluous and continually refining the theme.
During this phase, random things will sometimes happen at the last minute which leads to a perfect outcome.
Choosing images is a massive task. Sometimes the work doesn't take shape until the images are chosen.
I can't help commenting on the strength of her VCA education...so evident in all phases of her process. During her time studying painting there, she found that photography better addressed the themes she was interested in exploring.
In answer to my curiosity as to why she pursued a residency at Montalvat there was an equally thoughtful response. She explained the link with Montsalvat and the Holy Grail that I wasn't aware of. Apparently Montsalvat is named after the Grail Castle referred to in Wagner's Opera 'Parsifal'. In the opera, the main protagonist, Parsifal ends up at Montsalvat (the Grail Castle). Lyndal herself is fascinated by the search and research that surrounds the concept of the Holy Grail and sees herself searching and researching while she is at Montsalvat. This connection fascinates her. The theme of time is also ever present for her. Especially given that Montsalvat references medieval architecture. She also has a sense of it's being 'out of time' and presently in a phase of transition. Being a part of all of that even for a short time was very appealing to her. The other attraction was the creative legacy that is entwined in Montsalvat's history...she is also interested in exploring this as a universal concept.
I also picked up a theme of fashion appearing in different places throughout her work. So much so in fact that she is speaking at a fashion symposium in New Zealand after she has completed her residency. From there she will spend one month participating in a residency in China where she intends to research fans and scarves. She also has a show coming up in March of next year at the Murray White Room in Sargood Lane. Phew, busy woman!
The two photos below took my attention from her existing body of work. Partly because August Skipper is the subject and because they are taken at Montsalvat.(You already know I'm obsessed.) You may remember that August is a poet and grandson of Matcham Skipper. The first one is from a series called Stay Young, where Lyndal sought to,
"...capture the fleeting beauty of men in their early twenties...The boys are not the sportsmen or corporate successes so often seen as models of masculinity." Quoted from Lyndal's website.
"August, I promised myself I would drown myself in mystic heated wine." 76x50cm. 2010
August features in another of Lyndals series- Taking Pictures Some Time Later. Each photo in this series includes another photo taken by Lyndal. In that photograph the reference to Carol Jerrems iconic photo 'Vale Street' is clear. It's a way of commenting on what youth culture looks like today and where it's come from.
"August Holding Pole St. Montsalvat" 2010
These photographs are reproduced with Lyndal's permission. I'm hoping to follow the progress of her current project and show you a little of the work that results from her residency at a later date.