Narelle’s artwork uses digital technologies and new media techniques to explore the inspiration she draws from her own experiences.
“New media art is quite distinctive in that it uses digital technologies rather than the other modes of more traditional art,” Narelle says. “For me, creating art is done through discovery. It starts in my studio with sketches, and then the photography, and then transforming the image from light and code in a digital camera to putting it into the computer and playing with it through different software.
“The starting point is never anything remotely like the end result. The artwork is transformative as it goes through the process of play and flow.”
As a Creative Media and Arts PhD candidate, Narelle draws inspiration from academic literature as well as her own life experiences. However, much of her work explores ideas about nature, beauty, femininity and the divine.
“We live in a world today where we are overexposed to so much unrealistic imagery in regards to women and beauty,” Narelle says. “It creates comparative judgments about the female and it’s shaping and cultivating the image of women. I want to shift that to focus less on the physical and more on the inner beauty of women — the inherent beauty of the female.”
In her Glorious series, Narelle photographs women and digitally incorporates images of natural elements, such as flowers, to symbolise natural beauty.
“I obscure the face and that’s really important,” Narelle says. “The first question I would like to raise from a spectator is why did I hide the face? What am I hiding? Am I concealing or am I revealing something?
“By obscuring the face, any woman can look at it and visualise themselves as that person of inherent beauty. I photograph women from 18 to 65 with all types of backgrounds. I love that diversity. It’s not curated, it’s whoever volunteers to sit for me.”
The series’ title, Glorious, holds meaning as well.
“The inherent beauty that I’m portraying through the symbolism of the flowers relates to the concept of the divine. Flowers are beautiful in their natural state, and so is the female. It’s a divine beauty.”
JCU PhD Candidate, Narelle Delle Baite