Paw, Pad, Path

Haby, Gracia
Jennison, Louise
Production date
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Object Detail

Paw, Pad, Path
Production date
archival pigment on Hahnemühle photo rag 380gsm, cover mounted on black rimmed board, linen Solander box with inlaid drawing on Fabriano Artistico 640gsm, hand bound
32 x 22.5 x 4 cm (box)
Object type
unique state
Secondary maker
Secondary production details
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Printer: Arten
Interpretive text
Australian artists Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison have been working collaboratively since 1999 to create artists’ books. Their practice often centres on the creation of artists’ books that include drawings, elements of collage, hand-coloured pencil and stamps. In this work the artists create a narrative using a collage digital medium, drawing imagery from digital archives that are out of copyright. Digitally printed, concertina fold.
Artspace Mackay 2018.

"A blanching, a blooming, a haze across the painted landscape: efflorescence. A shake of salt on a fox’s coat; white flecks nesting alongside rosy clouds, where the image is breaking down. A smattering of dust, atmospheric pollutants, and mould growth, detectable when you are up close; the migration of free fatty acids, the migration of wax, saponifying. Zoom in and you’ll see the physical deterioration evident in the cracks and fissures of the face of a guanaco (Lama guanicoe). Apply moisture, con rapidez.

Walking through the white spore film of a painted landscape begins with the visual yet for many animals their umwelt does not hinge upon this sense; it is olfactory or auditory, it is beyond our comprehension. Whether cantering, tunnelling, or sleeping on the wing, they have a larger sensory palette than we can imagine. Drawing upon fragments found in digital archives, constructing a forest leaf by wing from historical works out-of-copyright, in a celebration of limitation, a porous pixel boundary emerges on the screen. Animals, commonly shown through a visual, human sense, reveal their forms. In a dense, if cultivated, wilderness, lifted from a painting, suspended as a cut-out: what is it like to be a guanaco or a fox? Using a painted palette younger than (humankinds) experience and buried within, pulling time from centuries past, a moveable orchestra on the monitor, connecting not to cerebral memories but those of marrow.

From canvas to screen and now to page, in the green, by the den, an elbow span from a tiger, a fox sits. With no full stop in the picture plane we’re stitching together, and no adherence to printed page peaks, the fox can travel the entire length of the book, the land, sniffing and hearing an impossible mix of flora and unexpected fauna. The space between our understanding of the world and how a fox sees the world is vast. Painted from human awe, this is another animal entirely. This is the perception of another (artist) looking at a fox. Or is it? Scratching the surface, mixing up the scene, comprised from no less than 167 layers, we find that as Matsuo Basho (松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694) wrote about the monkey, year by year, the animals’ mask reveals the animal. True, to the core, no matter which way spliced. Our (human) understanding is at the beginning, but this much is unvarnished: an animal is an animal is an animal".
Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, 2018
Credit line
Mackay Regional Council Art Collection, purchased through the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Artists' Book Fund 2018.
Accession number