“The empty space is a stage onto which viewers can project their own eidetic shows in an attempt to staunch the sense of loss and heal the ache that absence brings.”
Depopulated interiors and sites bereft of human occupation form the principle focus of my photography. I am enamored by the beauty ‘absence’ brings to a place. Its ability to allow the observer to contemplate minute intricacies which are ordinarily forfeited in the haste of everyday life. I relish in the scrutiny of an environment’s history, exploring the layers of habitation accumulated over an extended period of time. I am intrigued by how subjective this exercise is and am fascinated by how individual experience can dictate a viewer’s impression of a space. Subsequently I am interested in how locales of personal reverence can become so profoundly associated with particular memories or emotional connotations and in doing so progress into a conceptual expression of our hidden psyche.
I am transfixed by the hypothetical idea of ‘belonging’ to a distinct place and have become interested in examining how a geological region or interior setting can ingrain itself so thoroughly within an individual’s sense of identity. I am especially engaged by how prevalent this trait is within working class communities. How neighbourhoods, such as housing estates, can assume a fortress mentality and the feelings of entrenchment I myself have endured in living in such an environment.
My approach is unequivocally introspective, often instilled with an inherent significance to a notable family matter. I am heavily influenced by the dissemination of cultural traditions into my family from Ireland, specifically the communal discussion and documentation of the past. Frequently a family photograph or venerated story forms the foundation of my work, bringing into question the dichotomy between remembrance and reality. As a consequence of this factor I have developed a resolute belief in the importance of my imagery as unique artifacts rather than reproducible commodities.
Roy Exley. Sites of Absence. Contemporary Visual Arts. Issue 20. 1998