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Thinking outside the bubble

A painterly approach to the photographic medium can be seen in Gisborne woman Julia De Cleene’s response to living in a bubble during the lockdown.

The artwork Caged by Covid features a woman trapped inside a cage which is held by a gloved hand. Birds fly from the cage and into a brooding sky.

In a second picture, Wrapped In My Bubble, the woman is enclosed in one of several transparent bubbles that float in a cloudy blue sky as a teddy bear hangs by a ribbon from another bubble.

De Cleene is the figure in both pieces and the props are made up of items found around her home.

“I couldn’t go out and buy props, so I looked around to see what I had at home and found a candle lantern I thought looked like a cage. I feel a bit hemmed in so I put myself in the artwork. The birds represent freedom. I’m in the cage but lockdown hasn’t affected the birds at all.”

For the atmospheric backdrops, De Cleene took photographs of clouds and selected a section of each picture and photoshopped in the other elements.

The two pieces are part of the coursework for an online programme called conceptual fine art photo artistry that De Cleene began in December. “It’s about thinking about an idea then collecting images and putting them together.”

De Cleene plans to create a collection of 12 images that are thematically linked.

PHOTO ARTISTRY: Wrapped In My Bubble is one of two works Gisborne artist Julia De Cleene has created in response to the lockdown.