QCA Phd candidate Carl Warner, whose work is currently on display in the QAGOMA 10th anniversary exhibition Sugar Spin: You Me Art and Everything, is one of two recipients of the inaugural Brisbane Consortium for the Visual Arts (BCVA) scholarships.
Carl’s PhD research project at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, entitled “Dark views in a new light: The Claude Mirror now”, aims to recast a forgotten piece of technology for contemporary use in art.
The Claude Mirror was used by tourists in the 18th and 19th centuries to reconfigure and contemplate landscapes at the height of the picturesque movement in Britain. The portable convex mirror, the size of an iphone and made from tinted glass or metal, was so named because its reflections were reminiscent of landscapes painted by Claude Lorrain. The optical qualities of the dark glass unify a scene through distorted perspective, lowered colour saturation, and changes in tonal values that accentuate form and line, making complex landscapes easier to draw and record. These qualities helped travelling British artists translate strange and unfamiliar landscapes from the new colonies in the Pacific and Australia for audiences at home.
The view in the convex mirror is a seductive and a compelling visual experience that Carl will use in conjunction with photography to address our relationship with natural landscapes today. As part of the research he will explore the collections of QAGOMA and the State Library of Queensland in order to consider debts to the Claude Mirror in historical Australian landscape painting and photography.
The research will also trace links between the Claude Glass and the broader use of the distorted images available from convex mirrors in art, the influence of which can be seen from Renaissance painting to Anish Kapoor’s contemporary public art works.
Carl’s research will combine both art practice and a written thesis, working in tandem towards a better understanding of the techniques that artists have employed in observing and representing the environment and the impact of this upon attitudes to landscape and its use.