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Dance by John Skillington

16 May, 2024

Albury-based artist John Skillington’s Dance is the latest artwork to be projected onto the exterior of Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery.

The piece features shirts dancing across the screen on a soft stage of fronds, inspired by those seen at the neighbouring Woodland Grove.

According to Skillington, inspiration for the work came to him in a quiet moment.

“I was sitting in a laneway Café and there was a stiff breeze blowing, unusual enough. A shopping bag was caught on the wind and was moving about quite a bit before taking its time to settle back to earth,” he said.

“That simple experience seemed like an interesting departure point for a freeze shaped painting, a narrative of sorts.

“The bag itself was creating interesting forms and shapes as it billowed and collapsed in turn, in my mind it appeared like a dance but required figuration of some kind.”

Dance was not originally conceived as an animation, but Skillington saw an opportunity to present the figures as a moving image.

“The process of turning a painting into an animation can be anything from very simple to highly complex,” he said.

“The paintings were originally oil on a watercolour wash, so I firstly had to digitally remove the ‘dancers’ from their background as cleanly as possible to avoid any artefacts that can prove problematic later.

“It could have been recreated entirely in a digital form, but I much preferred to combine the traditional with the digital as the latter has a glossy sameness that I find particularly tedious.”

Skillington has been painting for over sixty years and has taught Visual Arts for forty. His creative process is different each time, which he says is important to ensure you’re continually learning and not repeating yourself.

“The qualification of ‘artist’ is all too easily bestowed but so difficult to really earn,” he said.

“It would be great if people just enjoyed the sequence simply for what it is, free to interpret the Dance according to their own experience.”

Dance will be shown until Saturday, July 6.

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