Artist statement: This series was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria for my recent survey exhibition Polyverse. The photograph further develops themes that I have explored in previous series into a more abstract visual language.
The human figure is less identifiable in MORPH, evoking images of myth, nightmare and hallucination. Despite the visible abstraction of human form, the central framing and portrait format of the image is classical in composition and very much informed by my background as a portrait photographer. The body in these images is on the precipice of dissolving completely into an amorphous state – both human and inhuman.
The sitter in the MORPH series is London-based academic Sibylla Phipps. After modelling for me for seven months Sibylla subsequently wrote the essay A voice from inside the gimp suit for the accompanying book to the series, in which she describes how ‘... the sensory deprivation was stifling, disorienting, claustrophobic and panic-inducing. But I slowly became accustomed to my new home. As I did I would fall into what I would call phantasy states.’ I think that knowing this internal experience of modelling for the photographs adds another layer to the reading of the subject in the photograph.