Amanda Norton

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Holding Light: things unseen and the spaces between

Light enraptures me – that intangible but see-able thing, or thing that is seen with. It transforms, it activates, like a force to be reckoned with, yet can be quiet and gentle. Its caress can be felt but not held. And how do we return its embrace?

Although the concept of this research project is expansive and multidimensional, it could be summarized in one word: light. Light can mean and be so many things in both definition and experience. Its’ meaning, like its’ form, is fluid and elusive. Holding Light is a paradoxical and whimsical search for understanding and meaning while acknowledging that this, like light, cannot be fully grasped. It is a contemplation on the multifaceted nature of light and its contradictory manifestations as an epitome of life’s unanswered questions. Guided by the characteristics of light and sight, this body of work is an enquiry into the possibility of the unknown, otherworldly and spiritual, and a critique against anthropocentric perspectives.

Whilst light is often taken to be the agent which makes things known and visible, this project ponders also on its limitations: what cannot be seen or is not known, and ironically attempts to use light to illuminate such things. Using various materials, lighting and movement, the exhibition strives to develop an awareness of the invisible through the transiently visible and whispers of the otherworldly through worldly material means. It has also formed part of a personal journey and process of seeking out the supernatural and spiritual amidst the mundane and dark of this world, believing that it is present whether or not perceived.

The exhibition experience is intended as an immersive space for wonder and for questioning in which one can reach between and beyond preconceived limits. Motivated by my recurring battles with life’s uncertainties and unanswerable questions (which have become particularly poignant to many since the Covid-19 pandemic), it grapples between dichotomies such as absence and presence; knowing and unknown; permanence and transience. Blurring the boundaries between these extremes, through illusion and the visual entanglement of matter, light and audience, the installations demonstrate the complexity and fluidity of meaning, resisting dualistic thought which typically divides and denies different perspectives. They call for a more nuanced, cross-disciplinary understanding of the world.

In both their transitory forms and limited physicality, the works which constitute Holding Light are reminders of human limitation, the fleeting nature of the material world, and thus, of all that is beyond us. In this place of heightened smallness and awareness, the embodiment of light in the exhibition allows the viewer to indulge the possibility of the otherworldly and what those things ‘beyond’ might look or feel like. It prompts one to step beyond the comfort of known structures with the possibility and hope of finding something beyond imagination. If we do not dare to step into the darkness, we might never know the light awaiting within it.