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Sydney Photographic Artist: Edmond Thommen

Edmond Thommen describes himself first, and foremost, as a Photographic Artist, not a digital artist. For him, the art begins with the camera, his photographs. The digital element is simply the palette that allows him to blend and refine his work.

For Edmond, the magic starts with the camera and the human body, usually female, as subject. This is a vital distinction; Edmond’s work uses the human body as the subject, the basis for his work. It is never the object. There is no sense in which the body is objectified, no exploitation. It is the foundation of his art, but not the definition. It is awkward to discuss an artist’s work primarily in terms of what it is not, but when one works with nudes there is a presumption at hand that often labels the work before it has been sighted; thus the need for a disclaimer of sorts. The basis of Edmond’s art may be nudes, but they are not sexualised.

The female body forms the basis of his art works; it may be softened and blended, the lines melding, melting into the layers of the piece until one‘s eyes start to actively search for the lines the mind tells you must be there; or the model’s body may leap from the work like some goddess of old, breaking through time, stone and canvas, demanding one’s attention and admiration; while also seeming to escape the bounds of the piece, of definition, of objectification.

Edmond’s work is ‘layered’ in many senses of the word, the human body is layered between or beneath images both obvious – rock, rubble, architecture, walls, fronds, trees, urban textures and any or all of the above; and detailed, careful compositions that beguile, and draw in both the eye and mind. The works are thus layered both visually, and in the attempt to interpret and define. As one newcomer to his work stated: “I don’t usually pay that much attention to this kind of art, but this makes me want to stop and look at it until I thought I’d seen every detail, and every possible meaning!”

Edmond’s response to this was pure delight: “This is very high praise indeed; especially as they understood in one sentence what I try to convey with my work.”

While the female form, the human body may be the basis for his art, it is not its primary focus. It is certainly a theme, even a framework, but it is often difficult to pick out the lines of the model from within the layered work of the piece, and doing so will certainly diminish ones experience of the art. If one seeks out his art purely for an examination of artistic nudes, one will be disappointed. It is not simply a human body with which Edmond presents us, it is an examination of the Human Condition, our relationship to the Worlds around us and those within. Many of his works are evocative of moods, both his own and ours.

Edmond’s art encourages us to look; and, if we look properly, ‘to See.’ He asks us, his art demands, that we delve beyond the surface, the obvious, and urges us to interpret for ourselves. For his own part, he delights in the interpretations of others! They add to the body of his work giving it even greater meaning, more depth. The titles to his creations are an insight into his interpretation, to his intent; but they are a starting point, not the final definition. His art inspires contemplation and conversation. Appreciation of its complexity grows with continued engagement. Even pieces that appear less layered or more ‘obvious’ are deceptive, they pull one in and seduce us into a conversation with the art, a narrative of sorts; demanding contemplation while coyly avoiding definition.

Edmond Thommen’s art is not something that one simply strolls by. While deeply layered, avoids visual clutter, just as it avoid objectification. It challenges us, invites us to delve in, to meditate upon it, and discover it for ourselves. It asks one to be subjective, to not only see the art and the World through Edmond’s eyes, but to bring our own experience to it and not be afraid that it will cloud the purity of the art itself.

Allow yourself to discover the deep, complex world that Edmond has created. Bring yourself, your point of view, your baggage, to the art and it will reward you far more than any cursory appraisal could. You will not regret it.


Information about my upcoming Exhibition

@ Art2Muse • 9 – 22 June 2015 • 356 New South Head Road • Double Bay • Sydney

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