Tom Blake: holding leaves (index).: N.Smith Gallery

Tom Blake’s practice draws on fragmented moments, looped imagery and recurring motifs as potential sites for contemplating the psychological, architectural and technological frameworks that surround us.

With drawing as a starting point, holding leaves (index) sees momentary gestures, cinematic compositions and recurring motifs fragmented, re-composed and repeated across the space. Viewed together, themes of opacity, time, disintegration, touch, reflection and the potential for the chaotic within apparent moments of stillness, emerge across the works.


The allegorical forms, gestures and notations that recur across this exhibition fall apart in constellations (holding leaves) and we are left to draw our own connections within the residue of disintegrated lines, scattered like seeds across the ground. This piece also marks the final step in the ongoing process of repetition and fragmentation at the centre of the artist’s practice.


holding leaves (index) draws on the writing of Clarice Lispector, in particular Água Viva (‘living water’) and the attempts at holding on to an instant of time. This is echoed in the moving-image work index / silt – a pair of looping videos that commence together, however, as they refresh at slightly different rates, the frames soon diverge and meet each other in different moments throughout the day, creating myriad versions within this small fragment of the final seconds of the 1986 film The Beekeeper.


Tom Blake's hand-etched de-silvered mirrors draw on themes of opacity, repetition and disintegration. By scoring the back of each mirror panel with etching tools, the three layers that make up the reflection (paint, copper, silver) are removed — revealing drawings made from fragments of light.