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Mandy Martin, Puritjarra 2, 2005. If there are diverse kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing place, then we need to learn to value the different ways each of us sees a single place that is significant, but differently so, for each perspective.
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looking for something firm in a world of chaotic flux

Stephanie Valentin: Unseasonal   September 11, 2014

The photographs of Australian landscapes in Stephanie Valentin's recent Unseasonal project are structured around creating strange juxtapositions - a single tree with a ladder propped on its side standing alone in a glassy lake, a silver cube sitting among sand dunes or twin bedheads rising from a flooded lake bed.

ValentinSunseasonalstillwater1.jpg Stephanie Valentin, Still Water 1, from Unseasonal

Many of the images in the series have been created on location in and around the Murray River and its wetlands in eastern South Australia. The sites she has chosen often show evidence of an environment in transition.

Valentine's staging small interventions within these landscapes suggests some sort of recent upheaval:

ValentinSunseasonalwatercycle.jpg Stephanie Valentin, Still Water 1, from Unseasonal

A flood perhaps from unseasonal rains? That would explain how the interior spaces of the domestic, personal, blur into the exterior realm of land, weather and the river.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:54 PM |
Shimmer Photography Biennal 2014: Alex Frayne   September 2, 2014

One of the exhibitions that I have seen in the Shimmer Photography Festival in Adelaide is Alex Frayne's stimulating Adelaide Noir series at Magpie Springs.

This exhibition by the Adelaide based film director and photographer represents the beginning of a shift from the 'night-scapes’ in Adelaide and on the Fleurieu Peninsula to landscapes in the magic hour.

FrayneAServo.jpg Alex Frayne, Servo, Port Adelaide, from the Noir series

Frayne's cinematic eye that focuses on the luminousity and surrealism of the urbanscape, landscape and suburbia. Night-time brings out an otherwordly of palette colours and a gamut emotions.

Some of the scenes were familiar to me --eg., the boatramp at Encounter Bay Victor Harbor for instance-- which I have seen at dawn and dusk. on my poodlewalks.

FrayneAEBboatramp.jpg Alex Frayne, Seagull resting, Encounter Bay, from the Noir series

Frayne is able to represent the other wordly quality of the seascape. It is very different view to both the standard picture of a boring Adelaide, city of churches, and the fantastic art concerned with states of dream and hallucination.

Continue reading "Shimmer Photography Biennal 2014: Alex Frayne" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:47 PM |
Shimmer Photography Biennal 2014: Jacqui Dean   August 28, 2014

The Shimmer Photography Festival in Adelaide is slowly growing from its modest roots as a local festival into a Biennale that helps to raise the profile of photographers and photography in Australia.

One of the photographic artists at the Arts Centre Port Noarlunga is Jacqui Dean, who is exhibiting Translucence that has been previously shown in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

This is still life of Australian flowers--native and introduced---that reduces the flowers to their essential, sculptural shapes:

DeanJtranslucencelilies.jpg Jacqui Dean, Calla Lilies, Transluscence

Dean uses using x-ray and digital imaging to highlight the flowers interior structures. She worked with a radiographer. What you see on a screen from an x-ray isn’t interpreted in the same way ias a digital image in Photoshop.

Continue reading "Shimmer Photography Biennal 2014: Jacqui Dean" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:22 PM |
Australian Photography: Kristian Hӓggblom   August 26, 2014

Kristian Hӓggblom is an Australian based photographer working with expanded modes of photography. He is the curator of Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura and is completing his PhD through Monash University.

One of his project is Viewing Platforms that documents Australian touristscapes--the infrastructure, so to speak, of mass tourism.

In this project tourist landscapes are considered as "heterotopian stages" that are charged with both negative and positive possibilities.The photographs explore the physical infrastructure that is imposed over particular landscapes and the intended and unintended psychological effects this has on tourist visitors. Do the tourists' try to get behind the stage that is provided for them to find something real to experience--an authentic experience?

HaggblomKBrokenHIll.jpg Kristian Hӓggblom, Broken Hill, 2010

Hӓggblom's perspective is akin to an anthropology of tourism as a cultural subject and their effects on the landscape and small ethnic communities.It questions the underlying assumption that tourism is bad and that it has negative effects for local communities and landscapes. Tourism does not provide real benefits to local people, that it has a detrimental transformative role in changing local socioeconomic relationships, and that it also destroys local cultural practices and artifacts by converting them into commodities that can be bought and sold.

HaggblomKBunkerWoomera.jpg Kristian Hӓggblom, Bunker (with heart), Woomera, 2000

The negative view has its roots in both tourists often behaving irresponsibly, an unrestrained tourism development in ecologically sensitive areas and in places where tourism is out of the control of local communities and key archaeological sites being overrun by tourists.

Continue reading "Australian Photography: Kristian Hӓggblom" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:00 PM |
Australian photography: Jeff Moorfoot   August 22, 2014

Jeff Moorfoot is a former advertising photographer, a former Vice President of the Victorian Division of the AIPP, who is currently the Festival Director at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. He does a magnificient job at ensuring that Australians have access to contemporary art photography in a printed form.

One of Moorfoot's projects was Legumes Morts, which was made with a flatbed scanner replacing the camera as the imaging device. The subject matter was bits of vegetable matter that come from his garden and which were in an advanced state of decomposition. I love the subdued palette and the subtle lighting of this work:

MoorfootJLegumes Morts#1.jpg Jeff Moorfoot, Untitled, 2013, from the series Legumes Morts

This series references, and contemporises, the photograms made in the analogue darkroom and Anna Atkins ' cyanotypes of British algae.

MoorfootJLegumes Mort#2.jpg Jeff Moorfoot, Garlic with Bamboo Leaves, 2013, from the series Legumes Morts

I don't know the process by which this work was done. It looks like careful studio photography (using a Kodak folding camera?) to me along with high grade printing. Is the print then scanned with a flatbed scanner.

Moorfoot currently has a show at Manning Clark House in Canberra entitled Requiem for a Lost Love, which takes a more abstract turn.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:01 AM |
The Sievers' Project   August 20, 2014

“The Sievers Project” is one in which six “early career” photo-media artists respond to Wolfgang Sievers’ photographs in both direct and more esoteric styles. It was organized by Melbourne’s Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) and the artists – Jane Brown, Cameron Clarke, Zoe Croggon, Therese Keogh, Phuong Ngo, and Meredith Turnbull – were given an open brief.

Therese Keogh departs from photography entirely by replying to an uncharacteristic Sievers photograph by creating a delicate pencil reproduction alongside a conceptually based sculpture. In contrast Jane Brown, like Cameron Clarke, responded to Sievers' legacy by returning to actual locations Sievers photographed and focused on some of Sievers' more industrial images.

Brown, for instance, revisited various sites including the Ford Factory and AMCOR’s Australian Paper Mills in Melbourne.

BrownJ AmcorAPM.jpg Jane Brown, Former Amcor and APM site, Fairfield, silver gelatin print, toned, 2014.

Wolfgang Sievers is an icon in Australian modernist photography and his industrial photos of Australian manufacturing was the core of his photography. That was an era when Melbourne was a manufacturing hub. Now the bulk of Australian industry is a distant memory, with the remnants of manufacturing probably being melted down for scrap.

Continue reading "The Sievers' Project" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:08 AM |
2014 Bowness Prize finalists: Claudia Terstappen   August 14, 2014

Another interesting contemporary art photographer amongst the diverse 2014 Bowness Prize finalists is Claudia Terstappen whom I've posted on before in relation to her In the Shadow of Change exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art, at Wheelers Hill, Melbourne, Australia.

That pictures in that exhibition were part of a vast archive of landscapes and places undergoing significant change. The picture in the 2014 Bowness Prize continues this as it is part of a series of Vanishing Landscapes and it alludes to the human influences on Australia’s natural environment and the prospect of impending change.

TerstappenClaudiaBouldering.jpg Claudia Terstappen, Bouldering, from Vanishing Landscapes, 2014, pigment ink-jet print

In her Artist's Statement Terstappen says that:

the small signs of human intervention often herald the beginning of larger changes that negatively impact on the ecological system. The small and secret paths of our childhood wilderness have been traded for dirt roads, bitumen and housing developments. Since European settlement, hundreds of species have gone extinct and it is likely that many more species will follow in the near future.

This is especially so with the impact of global warming on the Australian continent. According to the IPCC, the world has warmed by about 1C over the past century and will get even warmer – by between 0.3C and 4.8C – by 2100, based largely on the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

The Great Barrier Reef, for instance, is under pressure from the oceans warming due to climate change, pollution running off the land into the sea, coastal development and direct impacts such as fishing. Then we have the dredging near the reef for the expanded Abbot Point port, near the town of Bowen, will require five million tonnes of seabed to be dug up and dumped within the reef’s marine park. The latest healthcheck of the Great Barrier Reef shows the overall outlook is “poor”, and getting worse

Continue reading "2014 Bowness Prize finalists: Claudia Terstappen" »
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:58 PM |