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Pat Brassington

From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s Pat Brassington’s work was dominated by black and white analogue collage images. It was not until 1996 that she began to use Photoshop manipulation and digital colour printing techniques to produce the pigment prints for which she is most well-known. These images of misshapen feet, hair, mouths, limbs and holes are both alluring and unsettling, and interrogate notions of the body, gender and the gaze.

Surrealism and psychoanalysis deeply inform Brassington’s practice: “I have long been interested in psychoanalysis and have been intrigued also by strategies used by some Surrealists. If I add these to my own life experience I come as close as I can to providing a rationale for my images of fantasy”. (Pat Brassington, artist’s statement, Natalie King, Supernatural Artificial: Contemporary Photo-based Art from Australia. Tokyo: Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2004, p. 12.)

In important ways, Brassington’s work also challenges the surrealist legacy: “… there is no allegiance, no endorsement, no salute to the father. Everything is troubled in one way or another: from horror imagery that is violent and abject, through the hauntingly strange and uncanny, to the hideous, the hilarious and the banal. Brassington interrogates and extrapolates on the psychoanalytic: orifices exhale, threaten and protrude; the feminine is hysteric, phallic, powerful; the father is demented, perverted (the père-version of the father) and menacingly psychotic” (Anne Marsh, Pat Brassington, Hobart: Quintus, 2006, p. 6).

Pink has become a dominant colour in Brassington’s work since 2000. Sickly, fleshy and suffocating, this pink disturbs essentialist notions of the feminine and enhances the uncanny quality of Brassington’s imagery. “Pink for Brassington is yet another denial: ‘I am saying what is not, again and again". (ibid., p. 27)