Australian Artist Anna Glynn

contemporary multimedia artist


The ‘Wonderment’ exhibition of Chinese ink paintings, video, projection, installation and soundscape was created when I was
Artist in Residence in the Department of Visual Studies at Lingnan University.

It was held during November and December 2013 in the Leung Fong Oi Wan Art Gallery, Patrick Lee Wan Keung Academic Building, Lingnan University

Wonderment Catalogue

A major component of Wonderment was the first showing of work done as part of my multimedia MEOAW Project: My Extraordinary Onomatopoeic Animal World. Onomatopoeic words mimic the sounds they represent; the sound of the word imitates the sound the object makes.

The words are creations of our human minds and in different cultures and languages the words for the same sounds differ. The Lingnan University community responded enthusiastically to my call for volunteers to participate in the MEAOW project.

I spent many happy hours collecting and recording sound and video from members of this wonderful, culturally-diverse population.

Wonderment – an exhibition by Lingnan University’s Visual Studies Department
Artist-in-Residence Anna Glynn

"The very existence of play continually confirms the supralogical nature of the human situation. Animals play, so they must be more than merely mechanical things. We play and know that we play, so we must be more than merely rational beings, for play is irrational."

Johann Huizinga

"Elegant beasts crane their necks skyward, balance on impossibly fragile legs, rabbits somersault beneath moonlit trees. Anna Glynn’s animals occupy idiosyncratic landscapes that remind us of traditional Chinese ink paintings, of the Australian bush, of fables and fairy tales. Anna’s animals present as human: they strut, they posture, they strike quirky poses. Yet while their silhouettes are sometimes paper-cut sharp, their translucent bodies are marbled by the soft tides of spreading ink that the artist also uses to render their habitat: trees, ground, clouds and sky.

Anna’s paintings use two kinds of markmaking and balance two kinds of interaction with materials. One kind of mark-making – that which traces the graceful contours of animals and trees – highlights a deliberate and intentional mode of painterly mastery. The other –evidenced by the patterns created by spreading ink as it gathers and dries in the folds and hollows of the lightweight Chinese paper – is an instance of ‘nondominative’ mark-making.1 Such marks foreground the intrinsic and incidental qualities of artistic materials and methods. They do not play a key role in the project of transforming the matter of painting into a transcendent design. Rather, this kind of mark-making registers the artist’s surrender to the nature of her chosen materials and to the embodied experience of painting.

The tiny animals that appear in the ‘Wonderment’ exhibition dwell in colossal trees. A diminutive red bird appears in the topmost branches of one tree. Miniature deer, cranes, and horses emerge from the ink-clouded bark of others. These creatures inhabit, and are inhabited by, places and worlds that appear every bit as alive, as impermanent and fragile, as they are. Anna’s animals remind us of the connections between species, between aspects of nature, and between ways of being, doing and thinking. I sincerely thank Anna for sharing this world and this knowledge with us."

Carol Archer Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Studies

1 / The term ‘non-dominative’ is from an essay by Josephine Donovan entitled ‘Everyday Use and Moments of Being: Toward a Nondominative Aesthetic’ (in Hilda Hein and Carolyn Korsmeyer (eds), Aesthetics in a Feminist Perspective. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993).