Ultra Violent

February 24th 2011

My favourite film teacher used to talk about light as a compulsion born from evolution. She believed the reason we all sit in dark movie theatres watching shadows move across a screen is because, ever since we were water-bound amoeba, flickers of light on surfaces is all we’ve known.

Sean Rafferty is no stranger to the effects and physical presence of light. He’s clocked a few years as a projectionist, and has already had an operation for skin cancer on his nose. His latest work, Violent Light, is his own artistic demonstration of the destructive and creative capabilities of the big bright.

Known for his sun-bleached works – images that have been painted onto polyester film, applied to cardboard, and exposed to sunlight for weeks – Rafferty exacts an imperfect science and an element of un-control in his work.

“Control is something of a conundrum for me and always has been," Rafferty told FBi. "I aim to try and have control over what image is produced, but essentially the process, at this stage anyway, is one I use for discovering new ways rather than perfecting old ones.”

Violent Light is the newest development in his luminous discoveries. Taking its name from the rapid flickers of cinematic images and the heat and UV light of the sun, it continues Rafferty’s use of sunlight to make images on paper. As a 6minute film titled Black Horizon is projected onto a large sheet of cardboard, images are bleached into its surface, creating interplay between the moving and the still.

The projection is what Rafferty calls a "junk-film montage", compiled from unwanted scraps of film he collected during his time in cinema projection rooms.

“[T]he rapidity, or violence of the light produced by the text and other information on the film running through the projector is something that I am drawn to…It’s about the light – its tempo and its residual.”

VIOLENT LIGHT – Presented by Gallery 9
One night Only Screening
Friday 25 February 6-9 pm
Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall
Cnr Oxford Street and Oatley Rd, Paddington



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