A response to Mia Rappel's The Passage,

by Harb Gill.

Bare skin, bathed in warm orange light, rests against a soulful sky. An upturned arm, vulnerable inside of the wrist exposed, extends towards the unknown. Shapes emerge and disappear.

Mia Rappel's latest body of work places her own body amid her intricate windows that draw the viewer into the mysteries that lie within. As the hidden elements emerge, they offer glimpses that allow the viewer to create or recall their own stories.

Mia has spent more than a year in forming her series of collages, ink drawings and the repetitive and ritualistic sculpture for The Passage, which asks the question "As the invisible emerges ... which path will you take?"

She has used photographs from her experiences, including her artist's residency in the south of France late last year. We see images of stones from an ancient cemetery in southern France, a church containing an altar to the goddess Artemis, reflections of the Franklin River, stone ruins of the Cathar people, and chestnut groves where at one time there was nothingness until paths emerged through repetition.

Mia allowed the materials to guide her, one step at a time, using inks, pigments and hand-made paper she has gathered from around the world. At times, hours would pass as she sat before her artwork in the studio, patiently allowing the next expression to reveal itself.

Once the collages found their rest, Mia built a plastic cocoon in the garage of her home, drove out the dust, heated the space to 30 degrees, donned her shower cap and began the painstaking process of covering the collages with a fine layer of resin.

The meticulously detailed yet energetically dynamic works speak for themselves.


Harb Gill, Mia Rappel and Jess Huon at the opening of The Passage May 2011

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