For those who've come across the sea 2014

Free Falling

I was recently invited to perform For those who’ve come across the sea in the glass cube, at The Oxford Art Factory, over two nights for their Free Fall program. It was accompanied by text explaining the work:

For Those Who’ve Come Across The Sea is an exploration of Australia’s troubled relationship to the sea and migration, particularly our colonial history, the White Australia Policy and our current stance on asylum seekers. For the duration of the performance work, Tom Isaacs will be boiling sea water and collecting the salt left behind. Sea water is toxic to those who drink it, but through the process of distillation it can be separated into more efficacious parts. Salt, water and fire are all common elements in purification rituals from various religious traditions. Isaacs’ position as priestly intercessor echoes the work of Joseph Beuys, I Like America and America Likes Me, in which he acted as a shaman-like medium for the purpose of inspiring social change.

I also gave an interview about the work which you can view:


Hungry for Art

I was recently invited to perform Prima Materia at Top Ryde City as part of the Hungry for Art FestivalIt was accompanied by text explaining the work:

 Prima Materia is a performance piece that involves the simultaneous creation and destruction of the painting space. The old is continuously destroyed to make way for the new. The artist is painting in a style reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s action painting, dripping from above, but the use of body rather than brush hints at a connection to Yves Klein’s anthropometries. This work unites two disparate streams of the artist’s practice to create something new.

Prima Materia is a development of previous work by Tom Isaacs from the exhibition Critical Tension. The series of work exhibited in Critical Tension explored the notion of the physical evidence left over after a performance. It began with an investigation of painting and performance practices and their interrelation, before moving into a more general investigation of the artist’s relationship to performance documentation and artifacts. Prima Materia continues this line of thought by working within the tradition of abstract painting to create an art object which differs radically from the traditional painting.

Prima Materia is also connected to the more spiritual stream of the artist’s practice. In this performance the colours used, Black, White, Red and Gold, relate to the different stages of the alchemists Magnum Opus (great work). Alchemy is a philosophic tradition whose best known goal is the transmutation of base metals into gold. However, esoteric and hermetic traditions interpret this claim as a metaphor for personal transformation and purification, also known as ‘internal’ alchemy. Through his performance practice, Isaacs is proposing a similar reinterpretation of the practice of art making. Inspired by Joseph Beuys, the proto-typical artist-alchemist, and Alex Grey, author of ‘The Mission of Art’, Isaacs aims to promote and embody the dual-office of artist-as-alchemist and to argue for the role of spirituality in the creation and experiencing of art.


Hungry for Performance Art

I have been invited to present my performance piece Prima Materia as part of the Hungry for Art Festival in Ryde.

The performance will take place at Top Ryde City on Saturday, August 24 from 11am – 3pm.


Tom Isaacs is a local performance artist and sculptor. His practice is an exploration of art and spirituality. Tom’s performance art piece Prima Materia offers an alternative to the traditional creation of an image as he uses a dripping paint technique without brushes. He is inspired by abstract painters such as Jackson Pollock and Yves Klein.