TIM MOSELY: An Eskimo climbing to a plateau
Tim Mosely is a PhD candidate at the Queensland College of Art. He is working through the research processes that students engage in to position their academic imprimatur on some aspect of human knowledge. Mosely over the years has developed a significant international practice in artists’ books, handmade paper and the book experience as one in which the tactile senses are evoked.
Make like An Eskimo, at first appears as a mixed exhibition originating from many individual artists as each body of work teases out an idea, a gesture, a memory – blurred, or a theme. These are experiments, the research level is PhD so we do expect something that presents a challenge, or expresses a cathartic moment or even a line of questioning that leads … nowhere. This work does not leave this viewer wanting. The stones have been turned over and what has emerged are things that show Mosely’s Inuit traverse of the smooth white space where he has drawn on his intimate knowledge of printmaking medium, of his personal semiotics and his dreams.
One monumental piece explodes from the wall – imagining mt giluwe. It’s a multi-sheet linocut – dark and brooding with markings made by Mosely’s tools that resemble some kind of tribal scarification. The wild landscape overpowers the smooth white gallery wall and entices the viewer to move in close. There is a hidden map implied by the transecting vertical and horizontal lines of the individual printed sheets. Is it a map of the physical, the metaphysical or is it just mere tactile experience – for touching with the eyes? There is a movement through the monochrome surface and a red rectangle of paper overlays a part of the image – is this order implied over chaos? Colonial blood over Nature? Or could it hide a didactic code with its intention to perplex the viewer – or maybe it is there to just hide the fact that no code exists?
Another work, a series of books attempts to contain the big lino imagining mt giluwe. It is in fact, books made from pages of the large work. Once again there is a calling to explore and this time it is easier as the dividing and sectioning of the work into book form creates a path through the act of page turning. Some pages have been slashed and red paper shows through the jagged shapes implying similar questions as the red rectangle in the larger work. I am comfortable with this work, and perhaps Mosely is as well, as it is derivative of the language that he has employed in the past.
As I reflect on the experience of the POP Gallery I can confirm that Mosely is interrogating his practice, his experience of life and what it means to be an artist. What stands out is his haptic encounter in the making of his artworks and the profound need that he has for that vital energy to be infused into the art. And in that I think he is not alone – the materials seem to respond to his interaction. Here I am reminded of a discussion that Barbara Bolt has about a mode of thinking informed by Martin Heidegger’s techne and Paul Carter’s ‘material thinking’, where she states,
‘In the place of an instrumentalist understanding of our tools and material, this mode of thinking suggests that in the artistic process, objects have agency and it is through the establishing conjunctions with other contributing elements in the art that humans are co-responsible for letting art emerge.’ (Bolt 2007:1)
Mosely’s work and the materials in his work do emerge to present the viewer with communiqués that are enriched not only by what is embedded in them but also what they invoke in the mind of those who encounter them. We wish him well in the ascent to his academic plateau.