Torpor Auras (Honours thesis)

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Exegesis abstract: 

Through visual art practice-led research I am developing a language that can express emotional experiences affected by illness under the weight of a patriarchal influence. This research is framed and influenced by the theoretical ideas of Hélène Cixous who argues that women are lacking words to describe their personal experiences because the language provided to them is made within the patriarchy, and the ideas of Virginia Woolf who discusses the concept of experiencing illness as a neglected topic of exploration and the absence of words to express it. This project uses the conceptual framework established by Woolf and Cixous to explore ways to develop a language through experimental analogue photography and projection installation, which act as a corporeal and poetically engaged visual language. Relying on empathic allowance to articulate affectual experiences that are in a liminal space between what can be verbalised.

This research aims to contribute to an ongoing feminist dialogue, especially concerning feminine centric illness, furthermore the research will address the issue by employing the liminal qualities of analogue photography to promote mindfulness and healing through practice.


As the projected light paints the image and contrasts the darkness, the greys of liminal space are also expressed. Together the spaces in between are able to form a language that exists to communicate unspoken ideas such as illness that are disadvantaged within a patriarchal structure.

Analogue photography can be used as an important tool to develop a language that involves a tactile and grounding experience and go beyond the words that are made under patriarchal influence. Connecting to the ideas of Hélène Cixous, who writes about how there is no way for a woman to adequately verbalise personal experiences without becoming more focused on utilising the body. This interlocks with the ideas in Virginia Woolf’s piece On Illness (Woolf, 1993) that speaks about how there is a lack of ways to express the experience of illness. Also established is a link with the liminal and how there is a space that is between words and between expressions.

To build this language that lays in the liminal, I use empathic allowance and study artists such as Chris Kraus and Sophie Calle who work with diaristic formats to create omission and enable space for empathy to be manifested. This all feeds into my work with installation to create artwork that communicates my experiences with liminal illness and also make an intimate and mindful space.

The desired outcome of this practice-led research project has been to contribute to this communication of liminal language by developing projection installation and analogue photographic work. Unpacking the intricate theoretical concepts and the process of creation also acts as a mechanism for healing during the experience of being an ill woman. Alongside my research, I have explored experimental analogue photography as a tactile and mindful process of creation to produce installation work that acts as a way to communicate my personal experience with illness within the patriarchy, and its relation to liminality that sits in between binaries and spaces.

Feature in F*EMS zine issue 11 (Threshold)

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Combe, E 2018
F*EMS Zine Issue 11

The kind of hyper-real details of the architecture combined with the strange colours is reminiscent of a dream; when it seems like it could be real but something is very off. I think also its significant to me because moving from Bendigo to Melbourne has made me feel very liminal but reflective – like I’m neither here or there.

Zine information:

F*EMS Zine features visual art & writing by a bunch of awesome female- aligned people. F*EMS acts as a platform to enable voices to be heard & always aims to be as inclusive & accessible as possible.

Issue 11 of F*EMS zine was made & edited by Freya Alexander, Tegan Iversen & Anna MacNeill in August, 2018.
This issue has the loose theme of Dreams.

Cover Art by Hayley Martin.
Contributors (in order of appearance in zine):
Hayley Martin, Alexis Winter, Tegan Iversen, Rach H, Sabelle Mebane, Alice Fennessy, Anji Vara, Layla Homewood, Isabella Radevski, Kitri Williams, Lyn Patterson, Lori Camarata, Brooke van der Linden, Chloe Manglaras, Holly Godfrey, Fiona Smith, Helen Morley, GC Smith, Anna MacNeill, Angela Cornish, Madi Sarich-Prince, Amelia Dowling, Devana Senanayake, Freya Alexander, Kate MacNeill, Tamasine Loves, Sonia Jude, Malicia, Andie Macario, Imogen Owens, Elizabeth H, Nahian Parvez, Naomi Barnes, Carly Smith, Isabella Kottek, Louise Latter, Sian Dunn, Aila Stefansdotter-Franck, Vonne Beyer, Beckie Stewart, Courtney Heffernan, Eliza Freeman, Marine Fisch, Amy Matthews, Edwina Combe, Tessa Kent, Claudia Van Eeden, Brigit Lambert, Kennedy Shaw, Elsa Kate, Hannah Forsdike, Amy Sainsbury & Emma Jensen


enlighten photo ex 1.jpg

Combe, E 2018
Enlighten Festival of Projection & included as part of the Enlighten Precinct in White Night Bendigo
August 29th- September 1st 2018
Held at The Subtle Eye, Bendigo

A unique photographic work using images that have been carefully produced over the span of more than two years, using only analogue cameras and no digital editing. The distinctiveness of each image is created by modifying the 35mm film and lenses, as well as through hand-making cameras. The meditative and drawn-out nature of the creative process is reflected by a darkroom-inspired installation and the slow transition between each photograph.

Like a horizon it signifies endings and beginnings, as well as qualities of liminality and ambiguity.

The photos themselves are sometimes familiar and other times they resemble blurs or dreamlike distortions. They aim to capture not just imagery but rather a subtle sense of their creation and the moment.

Festival information:

Enlighten– Curators Statement
This winter, 2018 brings a new horizon to Bendigo with the Enlighten Festival, an invitation to all local creative people to bring a new light into the area between Bendigo Town Hall and Rosalind Park, by offering experiences – spatial, social, technological, conceptual or experimental, Which explore the magic of projection, As a meeting,
Of light and surface
Of journey and arrival
Of abstract and tangible
Of old and new
Of movement and stillness
Of sameness and change
Of today and tomorrow
…A Horizon.
A universal diverse experience – visual, cultural, political, spiritual- that defines, extends and transforms us within this world.
– Molly Braddon,
Festival Creative Producer

White Night

Are you there (II)

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Combe, E 2017
November 17th- November 24th 2017
Held at La Trobe University, Bendigo

Group exhibition information:


Opening: Friday 17th November 6pm-8pm
Exhibition dates: 17th-24th November 10am-5pm
Location: La Trobe University, Bendigo

Please join us for this celebration of the work of our graduating La Trobe Creative Arts students. The exhibition will showcase the work of Visual Arts, Photography and Graphic Design students, featuring a dynamic array of works across various media. This is a unique opportunity to see the talents of our emerging creative practitioners on display.
The exhibition will activate the La Trobe Bendigo campus, with works installed across the Visual Art and Graphic Design/Photography buildings.
To be opened by Professor Richard Speed, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional), La Trobe University, with an opening address by contemporary artist Gabrielle de Vietri.

Artists: Karissa McDonald, Jessica Bramble, Edwina Combe, Aedan Mckay, Sarah McDonald, Sarah Wallace-Smith, Emma Ciccone, Aleesha Ward, Joanne Osborne, Pamela Isaacs, Judith Warnest, Tashara Roberts, Bridget Trewartha, Jessica Murtagh

Photo credit: Jessie Boylan 2017

Are you there

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Combe, E 2016
Oct26-Nov1 2017
Held at La Trobe University Annex Gallery

As the photographs gently fade in and out they converge into the same everchanging image; occasionally unsure entirely which elements are drawn from which shot.

The mindfulness of the gradual movement is almost meditative, as the painterly colours and shapes overlap to produce a result reminiscent of traditional double exposures and film transitions.

However, the experimental images focus less on conventional representation and instead exemplify the nature of the materials and a subtle sense of the moment they were taken.

Analogue photography creates certain atmospheres which cannot quite be archived by digital means. It innately encapsulates aspects of unpredictably, long-process, likely failure, experimentation, and not being able to see the outcomes immediately.


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Combe, E 2015-2017
September 14th- October 14th 2017
Held at La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo

A red string of fate connects moments captured on film like nostalgic memories. Each photograph on its own carries a significance and when combined they create an organised chaos, as if it were a conspiracy clad wall or a detective’s white in a TV drama; trying to establish relationships between items for various reasons to create some sort of better understanding. The obsessive nature of the process is revealed when elements sit together as a singular mass that feeds off the space occupied.

The reason the title of the work differs from previous installs is that it also represents the resolution of a particular chapter in my practice. As well as it’s way of interrupting and integrating amongst the other artworks and architecture change some of the dynamics compared to Connections.

Group exhibition information:

A continuous flow of fairly aimless movement

Opening: Thursday 14th September 5:30pm-7pm
Exhibition dates: 14th September- 14th October
Location: LAI (La Trobe Art Institute), 121 View St, Bendigo


Edwina Combe | Lisa Guzzardi | Doug Hendry | Jacquelyn Klose | Aedan McKay | Danika Garnet-Rose Tayte | Aleesha Ward  | 2nd Year Collaborative

In October 1969 American artist Barry Le Va presented the exhibition Velocity Piece #1 at Ohio State University. Consisting of a stereo sound recording of Le Va running hard into the gallery walls, the exhibition explored notions of time and space and how audiences experience and visualise these ideas via sound alone. While the space did not contain any objects the work was completely reliant on the architecture of the gallery and the action of the artist inhabiting and engaging with it. In this exhibition, student from La Trobe University’s Creative Arts Program explore the concepts of time and space, presenting works which interrupt, engage and respond to the architecture of the gallery and investigate the spatiality of time, locally and across distance.

Curated by Dr Caroline Wallace and Dr Vincent Alessi

Photo credit: Jessie Boylan 2017

Connections II

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Combe, E 2016-2017
August 19th-27th 2017
Held at White Space Gallery, Castlemaine

Together with a second hanging of Art Therapy with an Eyebrow Razor

Group exhibition information:


Opening: Thursday 17th August 5pm-7pm
Exhibition dates: 19th-20th August 11am-4pm & 26th-27th August 11am-3pm
Location: White Space Gallery, Enterprise Centre, 1 Halford St, Castlemaine, Australia

In the heart of Castlemaine, The Punctum White Space presents a unique collection of contemporary artworks by fourteen regional and international emerging artists.
In their final year of study these La Trobe students are investigating a number of themes; including space & time, self-awareness, microscopic & macroscopic ways of seeing, architecture, and action & consequence.

Artists: Karissa McDonald, Jessica Bramble, Jacquelyn Klose, Edwina Combe, Aedan Mckay, Biba Cole, Sarah McDonald, Sarah Wallace-Smith, Emma Ciccone, Aleesha Ward, Joanne Osborne, Pamela Isaacs, Kathryn Tovey, Judith Warnest