My work expresses my response to Jakarta over a forty-year period, from the time I first arrived as a youth in the late 1970s to when I returned full time in the early 1990s.


Originally trained as a documentary photographer, one of my first modes of expression was photographing posters on walls around Jakarta. The overlapping that occurs when posters are placed atop each other in successive generations, and the weathering and peeling away of the paper, suggested to me a way to capture juxtapositions of text and image that include a high degree of improvisation and luck.


My current mixed media work is my way of creating that process myself, of choosing text and building layers of images onto a frame that is then subjected to the random effects of weathering, stripping, and other chemical reactions in order to create a scenario in which luck plays a significant part of the final product.


For me, luck is a positive attribute, especially as expressed in Eastern cultures, that fits a theme of my work that is given physical prominence in my use of Chinese joss paper as a mode of cultural appropriation. That local/exotic dynamic is further extenuated by the use of images and text that comment upon both that dynamic as well as the construction process itself.


The use of very high-resolution digital photography allows me to finalize the process with a technical media that requires a degree of perfection not found in the process of physical creation.

My original mixed media pieces as well as my photographs encourage the viewer to engage with my work on multiple levels of expression while enclosing that experience in a unique aesthetic bordered by the influences of my interactions with the culture of Jakarta.

@Martin Westlake

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©2019 by Rob Pearce