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.
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.
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.
Alex Frayne, landscape, Wistow, from the Noir series
When we think of Surrealism, what most comes to mind are Salvador Dali, dream-like images and psychotic-like madness as capstones of a cult-like movement among artists in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s or the post war Surrealism of James Gleeson. This is a narrow stereotype of a broader artistic and cultural development that shattered traditional views of art with a revolutionary philosophy that consisted of prioritizing the irrational, non-logical and non-traditional over the aesthetic representation of the real external world.
Frayne's emphasis is on the emotional response to the landscape: its effect on our subjectivity. The above landscape is almost a dreamscape--ie., the psychological dimension of the landscape. Hence the significance of surrealism and the unconscious processes for this photography. The narrative of the Noir series creates a tension between what is familiar and what is distinctively surreal.
This work is being produced when the fictional elements in the world around us are multiplying to the point where it is almost impossible to distinguish between the "real" and the "false" -- the terms no longer have any meaning. The faces of public figures are projected at us as if out of some endless global pantomime, they and the events in the world at large have the conviction and reality of those depicted on giant advertisement hoardings.