gary deirmendjian selected works

clues - world view, work, practice & other


the source

Once a believer I now rest my faith in uncertainty.

There’s been a lifelong personal struggle towards a firming appreciation of our oneness as a single species, and of our extreme smallness in the context of a humming, vast and indifferent universe. The understanding that ours is a momentary existence on a speck of dust adrift in boundless space, has gained considerable density. 

The tension between the felt sublime of this base truth and the many ways in which we are ushered away from knowing it fully, is somehow what has managed to surge the expression in all its forms. 

The core interest lies in the tidal mechanisms of social conditioning and one’s place in the given oceans of unquestioned attitudes and mass acceptance. 

The expression in turn continues to find inspiration in the ever enduring and conquering individual of any time and place, who has pushed through to see beyond the assumed certainties ...


work and practice

I've come to understand art as simply being a form of suggestive communication. The body and range of my work may be considered to be bound more so by a certain underlying unity of intent born of the above worldview, and less so by any conscious attempt at stylistic unity. Through the work I aim only to show, demonstrate and suggest, without consciously taking any moral or ethical position, and without implying or alluding to any remedy.

Aesthetically the work is concerned with creating a suggestive field of visual and physical experience. Typically born of some conceptual impulse, a given work is realised through a process of making towards a felt holistic tightness. I lean strongly towards scale, stillness, the out-of-door and the grounded. Material, formal and symbolic elements at play in any given work are quantifiably reduced and aim at common readability.

The consideration of “actuality” has become an important and vibrant element in the suggestive cloud of works put forward. By this I mean the actuality of “things” themselves holding substantial symbolic and suggestive power that may be harnessed to help consistently charge the potential of meanings in a work.

Here, “things” can be understood as a site, predetermined objects, lived patina, sheer physicality, materials, means and processes of making that can be combined to produce effective suggestion unhindered by language - perhaps pushed even towards the realms of awe.

What always proves exciting is the lure and resistance of an unknown next step, where a leap must be taken, whether intellectual, aesthetic, artistic, physical, material and/or procedural.

Some works take several months - in some cases, years - to realise and tend to be physically demanding. I find the physicality in making to be a source of some satisfaction and a small measure of having put oneself into the work. The aftermath of any felt muscular discomfort and/or superficial cuts to the body attest in an important way to the body’s memory of the given episodic happening.

When the effort is more social - that is involving the skill and assistance of others - the making takes on a mastering flavour where one is at once engaged with an inner field of considerations but must also surface in order to externalise the work's direction.


shared space

The major thrust of my practice in recent years has become to exist in shared space - by definition the public realm in its broadest meaning. I'm very interested in the notion of art in public, as opposed to public art, with the latter commonly understood as being a brief driven proposition.

As an artist, it has become essential for me to find means to connect directly with a broader public, one-to-one and free of any obligation mediation or justification. Hence the demonstrable tendency in the work towards more public or openly shared space.

I've also come to appreciate open vitual internet platforms such as YouTube as simply other forms of shared space.


microvids and youtube

During urban walks and wanderings when real-life moments, encounters or happenings have urged sudden interest and response, the mobile phone in the pocket conveniently presented itself as a footage, still image and audio capture device.

If captured footage serves as raw medium, editing is then the making process towards a discrete suggestive end, typically discovered through the editing process itself. They range in length from several seconds to a few minutes at most.

Such ends I call microvids.

As an artist, it has become essential for me to find means to connect directly with a broader public, one-to-one and free of any obligation mediation or justification. Hence the demonstrable tendency in the work towards more public or openly shared space. I’ve come to appreciate YouTube as just another form of shared space, and a natural platform for sharing these brief little makings.

The channel manumente (click) was established in mid 2008 as an ongoing depository hosting the microvids.

Here they sit free, unmediated and unjustified along with the zillion other things already making up the ocean that is YouTube, and the zillion yet to come. Good, bad, ugly ... who is to judge? As though surrendering little poems in bottles to the ocean, I'm very curious to see how far and wide these makings may drift in time and whom they might reach.



Sandstone is where it all began. It cast an aesthetic lure that slowly anchored my eye urging a photographic response (Sydney Sandstone, Craftsmen House 2002 click), and soon after beckoned its direct carving.

In time it began to carry significant metaphoric value.

A sedimentary stone, it is perhaps the most humble and patient of materials, consisting simply of sand particles bound by a little clay, compacted under its own weight over an enormous span of time. In any significant hunk the sedimentary processes would have taken several hundred thousand, if not millions of years to form. It is virtually an hourglass on a massive scale - how does the measure of one’s life span compare in the face of time itself? Having ground traces of organic and mineral inclusions entrapped within its frozen clay matrix and layers, sandstone may also be read as a highly localised time capsule.

It is absorbent, unable to be polished, and yet is broadly expressive, responding to the slightest change in moisture and light.

In sandstone all time is presented at once, clearly indicating that in all that while the grains - as a kind - have remained unchanged. Any discernible aesthetic variation between stones - even those quarried from the same bedrock - are due mostly to the highly localised circumstantial happenings during sedimentation that eventually characterise the clay matrix as impurity. That is, the initial muddy conditions that harden in time and under pressure, slowly fixing the attitude of individual grains while characterising their immediate physical context.

Here sandstone serves as an efficient metaphor for the story of human existence. Each grain of sand, in a matrix of trillions, may be read as a single human life - at once unique and of its kind. One may readily picture their existence as one such grain of sand with its attitude held and its particular grouping characterised by the immidiate social context of their conditioning.

Sandstone helps beckon the question, how much of our attitudes that we uphold as dear are those of our own arrival, and how much of what we accept in terms of Black & White are conditioned into us by our social contexts and their givens?

The stones presented here are all produced from quarried blocks and were largely shaped manually, using controlled rock splitting techniques. The stones in a life (click) , lantern (click) and chasm (click) were purpose quarried - that is hunted for directly in the bedrock.


muddy waters

Mud and sandstone may in fact be regarded as being the different material states of one another - pre and post sedimentation.

The use of mud in the sediment works helps render the truth of the body as I see it, just another piece of organic debris. The mud encased figures here may also be viewed as magnified individual grains of sand held by the mud of their conditioning, that are yet to harden into rock.

The mud used is extracted from the ground in the immediate vicinity of the work’s making or installtion. It is not sorted and at the time of mixing is littered with inclusions, such as twigs, leaves, seeds, stones and insects.


the square

The square shape features strongly in my work and is normally implied rather than actual. It is perhaps the most austere of the Euclidian shapes and one least connected to nature. In comparison the idea of a circle, oval or triangle are readily derivable from nature, from such things as the sun eggs and mountains respectively.

The square is therefore a purer abstraction of the human mind and in the work it has come to represent the impositions of rationally skewed world views.