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The Wall

Jess MacNeil

The Wall is an abstraction of an everyday scene, an ocean pool against an ocean backdrop at high tide, under the onslaught of a set of waves. The rotation of the picture plane, organic motion of the water, and underlying geometry of the pool allow this scene to slip unhinged into abstraction; a volatile picture plane, akin to a continually oscillating, collapsing, disintegrating colour field painting.

Both compositionally and conceptually the contest in the work is between and within chaos and order, separation and disintegration, segregation and exuberant collapse. The wall itself is built to demarcate the Bondi Icebergs ocean pool from the ocean, providing comparative shelter and a conceptual separation of a body of water. The work pitches that which we can control against, and within, that which ultimately we cannot.

The wall is presented at its bare functional essentials, splitting the image vertically down the centre while it demarcates the pool from the ocean. It at once fulfils this function and fails to do so. Interspersed with periods of calm resolution, the force of the waves repeatedly breaches and transgresses the wall’s authority and wipes out the notion of separation, collapsing the screen into homogenous heaving whiteout. 


Jess MacNeil, The Wall, 2009, High Definition digital video, stereo sound, 7:00 min