Deliquescent Light – Open Letter From Multimedia Artist Daniel O'Toole

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Daniel O'Toole Daniel O'Toole Image © James Whiting

Curatorial+Co. in Sydney present an exhibition of new works from Melbourne-based multimedia artist Daniel O'Toole, titled Deliquescent Light.


Deliquescent Light combines 13 paintings, 3 video works and a custom-created soundtrack informed by synaesthesia (a condition merging senses not normally connected) to enhance the exhibition.

The work focuses on video works that draw on music; visualising the experience of listening.

To talk more to the inspiration behind the work and how it came to be, Daniel pens an open letter.

“This new body of work Deliquescent Light explores light and space in the form of sculptural paintings that use mirrors and frosted screens to refract and reflect light inside the frame. The work is concealed in a mysterious apparatus of industrial materials and appears quite minimal and manufactured, although the painting behind is actually on canvas and this more human element comes through and softens the aesthetic.

I enjoy the tension these frames create, and the framing method has certainly been one of the big challenges. They are, in some ways, more the focus of the work than the paintings themselves. I see the colour field paintings as a convenient vessel for my explorations of the behaviour of light, and an appropriate way to incorporate my sound and video work, and I will no doubt continue to experiment in my practice to find new ways these ideas can be communicated.

DanielOToole VapourStudy
Daniel O'Tool - Vapour Study

I'm trying to create a synaesthetic language that connects the colour works with sounds, and at the same time looking to subvert painting traditions by my reframing method which removes the surface-based concerns of mark. It’s an interesting flip for me, because my figurative work has always been so mark-based and I think there was an element of that mark that becomes an identifying limitation, and an ego trap that others help to reinforce when they recognise your work and praise you for how distinguishable your mark is.

I hope that people have a sort of meditation-like experience with the works and can feel immersed in the colour fields, as their faculty of sight is undermined by the distortion screen. Being able to surrender to this can be a challenge for some, but this tension is what keeps the practice interesting for me.

I have so much fun when I am playing with light, lenses, and cameras to capture these moments in nature and the unexpected colour shifts and patterns that emerge from those studies are intended to be retained. It’s a document of natural phenomena and an invitation to slow down and allow your perception to be altered for a moment.”


Deliquescent Light is on at Curatorial+Co. Studio 1 (Sydney) 10-20 February.

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