Approach employs painting to stage of some of the psychological devices of cinema. Scale, focus and framing, for instance, are critical filmic camera techniques that are used to draw the spectators into the film's graphic narrative scenario.
The work was exhibited in "LookSee: five contemporary painters" curated by Natasha Bullock in 2001 for the Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne.
In this installation of seven unique panels, every painting depicts the same image of a house on fire. Although the size of each canvas reduces gradually, the scale of the housefire image remains the same, embedded within the surrounding blackness. The effect of this visual trope is the illusion of the viewer’s approach towards the event as it unfolds.
The trope is twofold. Firstly, as the scale of the image is encroached upon by the edge of the picture frame, the fire appears to draw closer to us, as if movie camera was panning in. Additionally, as each panel becomes smaller, the rendition of the image is increasingly focused, so that the spectator is simulataneously given signals that the camera has approached its subject as well as being invited themselves to approach and engage with the intimate scale and detail of the closest view.
Extracts from the “LookSee” exhibition essay by Natasha Bullock
For something to exist in space it must first move through time. Lily Hibberd's work is concerned with the dynamics and interplay of spatial and temporal relations and the capacity of paint to engage as cinema does with psychological space. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film Rebecca, Hibberd's work Approach is based on the final dramatic sequence when the male protagonist Maxim approaches his burning mansion estate.
The spectator is involved in the unfolding of this narrative-type sequence, in its scale, structure, pictorial size and mutable perspectives. These elements mirror cinematic devices that entice the viewer into considering comparisons and repetitions amid passing moments in time (or in this case between the canvas or frames before and after).
As the images visually amass, the viewer is ultimately enfolded in a drama, enacted by the bright seductive colour of the work, by the very nature of the subject matter and in the work's clear undulating manipulation of space - where physical, psychological and perceptual space(s) collide.
The text on this work by Natasha Bullock is available here to download.