August 10 – 27, 2016

A Sacred Conversation comprises of two parts. The first is a 19th century oil on panel painting bought in an antique shop on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris in 2000. The small painting depicts St Francis of Assisi and St Louis of Toulouse facing each other with books nestled in their hands. The lives of these two saints did not intersect yet they are depicted together, as the embodiment of the religious word made visible. 

In the second part of A Sacred Conversation, I use colour gradation through monochromatic painting and the geometry of the 19th century painting to explore the connection between people and their word, or spiritual belief. I use the intersecting haloes of the two saints as a motif. This motif is painted in grey onto 42 panels of the colour spectrum. These intersecting circles make the shape of the vesica pisces, the Pythagorean “measure of the fish” that was a mystical symbol of the junction between the sacred and the material plane. These sacred circles represent a portal between worlds. To the Pythagoreans, the whole of creation was based on numbers and by studying the properties of numbers; they believed one could achieve spiritual liberation. The ideas that underlie mystical-occult beliefs were transmitted through books, pamphlets and diagrams, often augmented by illustrations that, because of the ineffable nature of the ideas discussed, were abstract or emphasized the use of symbols. 

The grey circles not only serve as geometric symbols of the divine but also act as a ‘grey scale’ like the kind used in photography, they are the constant by which the other colours are measured. 

– catalogue excerpt Louise Tegart Living by the Book, University Art Gallery, University of Sydney


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