SAMSTAG ALUMNI 2001

John Spiteri
Born 1967, Camperdown, New South Wales

In the work of John Spiteri painting is extended through the medium of video and the logic of installation. His paintings exist in their own right: scenes and objects drawn in outline with a cartoonlike simplicity, and filled in with a limited palette of saturated colours. But through the use of video he develops their narrative impulse.

In Nightlife the camera tracks through the painting, now like a stageset, while the soundtrack provides dialogue between unseen characters. The camera pans an empty streetscape stopping at a lit window, the soundtrack repeats a repertoire of inconclusive conversations between a central protagonist and the people he meets. Installed in the front window of 200 Gertrude Street, the viewer attracted by the lighted window is placed in the same position as the protagonist in the video  drawn in as they pass by, tempted into engagement, breaking off, going home. In this way Spiteri sets up an interaction between the fictive space of representation and the real space of the viewer, blurring the boundary between them.

Similarly, in Police Line-up, the viewer is implicated in  caught watching  the line-up of suspects. Spiteri's work is slowacting and laconic, with a deadpan, wry humour that reels the viewer in.

Robyn McKenzie from her Samstag catalogue essay, Art and Research
 
2001 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2001 Associate Research Student, Goldsmiths College, London, UK 
1999 Master of Fine Art, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney 
1996 Associate Research Student, Goldsmiths College, London 
1994 Post Graduate Study (Painting), College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney 
1989 Bachelor of Eductation (Art), College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney