In this series, Stuart Spence's romantic melancholy weaves a strange and moody path through a set of images more closely aligned to painting than photography. These images are more like impressions, pointillist suggestions or simply palette knife slatherings. Spence seems to treat the photographic format as nothing more than a vehicle in which the damaged, broken hearted, deluded and peacefully tormented stars of his works can arrive where he needs them to be, like a courtesy bus for the poor, perhaps.
As Yet Unclear also sees another set of artists introducing themselves to the works.
Through interpretation; songs, poems, prose and even a dark video piece by Spence himself, this collection of photographs take on new identities. Here Spence's imagery performs right alongside a whole crop of artists, each compelling storytellers in their own right.
And I Put My Trust in the Current, Tim Friedman's (The Whitlams) last will and testament tune, fits seamlessly with Spence's disturbing dedication to surrender, a weightless body floating in a sea of gold.
The Verdict (in pale pink) finds a couple high on a balcony, lost in a moment, behind them, mountains? Clouds? The landscape of another planet? In front of them, Mark Seymour (ex-Hunters and Collectors) sings their soundtrack, a tale of neglect, and its cost.
In Spence's Tonight Show Over Claude, when Luke Davies (Candy, Allen & Unwin, 1997) writes “We were weatherless and the waves boomed as we slept,” ('Study for the Weather Station'), one can almost feel the soft shock waves moving one by one through the high cliff top apartment. The pinks and peaches inside the room suggest the lightness and high vantage point of new love.
These couplings, artist with artist, are arranged marriages that somehow work, the deep connections clearly felt as words and music wash over the images like the tide might cover an exposed point from all sides.
Spence is currently in development to expand As Yet Unclear into a one man, cross-platform theatre piece, combining a number of these images with character-based monologues.
He has received an Australia Council for the Arts grant to pursue this project.