Seeing is Believing
Neon, steel stand
H.600mm X W.1200mm
Mary-Louise Browne uses words as the crux of her art. The visual qualities of language, the conventions that dictate the ways we read and consume text, are inherent to Browne’s sculpting of words in to challenging and experimental artworks. Her striking, avant garde neon piece Seeing is Believing reverses our thought processes, questioning the metaphorical visual power of language and the integrity of the material.
Certainly the bold materiality of Browne’s artwork are what catch your eye when walking through the dense native bush. Suspended almost eerily in the forest, the mirrored text glows, electric, left imprinted on one’s eyelids. We look at the work as if we can make sense of it, trying to reconcile the backwards lettering with our ease at reading the phrase. As the artist has said: “I am interested in blurring the boundaries between art and life and the viewer. The viewer is drawn into conversation and sometimes, as with the mirror works, into the work itself.”
Not dissimilar to René Magritte’s pivotal painting ‘The Treachery of Images’ which featured the famous ‘C’est n’est pas une pipe’, Browne is invested in issues of perception. Seeing is Believing and her other mirror works play with the age-old questions of the nature of art and objecthood, just as Magritte did back in the 1920s - a double entendre is constantly at play. Browne’s characteristic wit and irony acts as a gate to explore the metaphoric transcendencies of language; it encourages us to enter the sensory and cognitive experience that is seeing, and understanding the visual text.