Tolmie MacRae is a video artist from Sydney, Australia now based in Cologne, Germany. His background comes from studying digital media at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney and also VJing – from parties to working with a progressive metal band to performing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the Sydney Opera House’s 40th birthday. He tries to blend these different spheres, (allowing the ideas from the various subcultures to cross over and influence his art works). He is also a cofounder of the Sydney based collective Tame the Pixels.
With influence from Oskar Fischinger, he tries to discover creativity in a form of abstraction through video. Other influences on his practice are James Turrell’s large scale light rooms and Bill Viola’s video installations as well as the works of Juraj Dobrović.
Through his art practice Tolmie MacRae explores the multiplicity of existence predominantly through the medium of video. Over the past five years his work has explored themes of meditation, transcendence and immanence by investigating the flow of light and time on people and landscapes. He plays with opposing ideas and then fuses them together. Rather than transcendence and immanence or creation and destruction as binary opposites the artist explores the tension of these seemingly competing states of existence as combined dualities. It is not a political or spiritual investigation for the artist but rather an individual exploration of the state of existence. As the poet Fernando Pessoa wrote:
“…. here’s what my senses learned all by themselves:
Things have no meaning-they have existence.
Things are the only hidden meaning of things.”
He tries to present the subject as something that is timeless but real and immediate at the same moment. In his first solo exhibition entitled ‘Transimmanence’ he explored the torsion of transcendence and immanence; what Jean-Luc Nancy termed as ‘transimmanence’. He created meditative spaces where the audience could explore themselves within this state, where time dissipates, presenting a space for existential inquiry. Exploring this state (and other philosophical ideas such as existentialism) through the medium of video, allowed the artist to catalogue time and space into a language of frames. Once captured he would play and challenge their linear hierarchy , distorting it, pulling those moments and perspectives through each other. Like the cubists trying to represent every perspective at once, video allows him to pull each of these catalogued moments through themselves to paradoxically see each frame at once, whilst also allowing things to evolve and flow over time. The artist also works with how we as humans perceive, ignore or embody time, hence people often become the subjects of his works. The artist allows their movements and actions to fold upon themselves so that past and present meet in various layers (generating a visual and temporal abstraction of the moment and the body).