1996 - 1998
Leslie Eastman studied literature and philosophy at Melbourne University and completed a Masters in Fine Art at RMIT. He previously coordinated the painting program in the Department of Fine Arts at Monash University. He is affiliated with RMIT Space and Environment research cell, and with researchers at AUT, New Zealand and Central St Martins Arts-Science Masters Program in the UK.
"I was at Studio 5 in 1988 and 1999. The two year studio residency provided the opportunity for a sustained observation of environmental phenomena specific to site: in particular light changes over the first year where documented through time lapse film and video, photography, filtering sun rays through window apertures and finally the development of various approaches to the camera obscura. These were presented as a series of one off studio exhibitions throughout the various seasons of the second year."
Research Statemen by Leslie Eastman: My research commences with an interrogation of the expanded field of painting and issues of representation and perception. The current practice takes many forms including drawing, video, and photography often utilising architectural installation in a context specific to site. The various projects that I have engaged in typically question conventional notions about the form or object-hood of art and art making and by extension propose contingent approaches to materials and process.
I attempt to articulate an experience in the artwork that reveals the circular relationship between the subject and the object, the viewer and the viewed. The notion of the boundary between the interior and the exterior is central in my work. The various screens, frames and mirrored surfaces are materials that I employ to problematise the apparent demarcation between the real world and the internal world of the viewer. In this regard the writings of Merleau-Ponty, Bergson and Deleuze are influential. The work is speculative rather than definitive; on occasions proposing a model of the intertwining of subject and object and at other times an infinite regress.
A corollary of this is the idea of the interrelatedness of place and context. On a number of occasions I have attempted to draw relationships between a particular architectural site or landscape and the expanded field of its geographic, cultural or temporal context that constitutes both its uniqueness and interdependence. I have done this through a number of methods including the camera obscura and internet technology.
I view collaboration as a way of questioning conventional assumptions about the nature of artistic activity as well as working in response to a situation or location as a way of extending and testing the role of my own art practice and its outcomes. As a result I have collaborated with artists such as Andy Thomson and Daniel von Sturmer and in recent years with New York based artist Natasha Johns-Messenger. I am currently a coordinator of Light Projects a collaborative curatorial project in Melbourne that has staged a series of projects by local and international artists exploring the phenomenology of perception and psychoanalytic theory.