cameraless Spectrum Project Space October 2008
Edith Cowan University Bradford Street Mount Lawley WA
Spectrum Exhibition Space Beaufort Street Northbridge
Panizza Allmark Catherine Gomersall Karenne Rees Daniel Nevin Lizzi Phillips Trinity Brown Teresa Hall Shannon Linton Samantha Tully Madeson Tabanao Krystal Davies Jessica Chambers Aneta Szczucki Alexandra Wilson Zoe Baldock Rhiannon Broome Aimee Wainwright Darryn Ansted
This exhibition was brought about by a discussion between myself and Cath Gomersall earlier this year on our common interest in photograms. This simple photographic technique, often taught in introductory photography courses, produces images by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing it to light. The results seem more akin to shadows or spectres than photographs. While the process is simple, the method has been practiced by many notable artists including Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy. The graphic and distorting characteristics of images it produces are compelling and intriguing. While all the works in the exhibition have a common origin of being made without a camera, they display a wide range of different techniques. My images and Karenne Rees, and the works by students from Governor Stirling Senior High School (a collaborative project led by Cath Gomersall) are photograms. Panizza Allmark and Trinity Brown have produced scanograms, using a scanner to produce the digital equivalent of a photogram. Cath Gomersall has made digital collages. Each technique makes use of the capacity of the photograph to preserve the impressions of objects they have been formed by.
Daniel Nevin October 2008
Dancing around handbags
The handbag serves an important role, not only for its utilitarian features but also as a marker of status as well as style and conveying the personality of the owner. It is an “accessible accessory” for women (Street 2002, 156). A handbag is also a symbol of femininity, which carries many hidden lifestyle signs and the trappings of femininity. Its outer skin on public display suggests aesthetic tastes and fashion trends. But the inside cavity of the handbag is “a private space, often concealing secrets or evidence of multiple identities” (Street 1999, 97). It would be deemed an invasion of privacy to rifle through a woman’s handbag without consent. The interior space is so intimate and personal, and could be considered as an extension of the female body. An example of this could be seen when women in clubs or parties dance around their handbags in what might be viewed as ritualistically protecting their contents from prying eyes and hands. Their body may be on public display, but the intimate contents of their handbags are safely protected. Nevertheless, in our times of heightened security the bag is surrendered to the cold specular gaze of impersonal officials and their security scanners. My series of digital scans of handbags attempts to provide an insight into the hidden often somewhat chaotic range of contents concealed within the handbag’s interior space, as well as suggesting the forensic fascination and specular gaze directed toward the fetish fashion object. References: Street, S. (2002). Hitchcockian haberdashery. In Framing Hitchcock: Selected Essays from the Hitchcock Annual by S. Gottlieb, C. Bookhouse, 147- 158 Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Street, S. (1999). The dresses had told me: Fashion and femininity. In Rear Window. In J. Belton, 91-109, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Digital Collage from 'UK Hair', 'National Geographic' and 'Style'.
"To take a picture is to have interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a "good" picture), to be in complicity with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing - including, when that is the interest, another person's pain or misfortune." - Susan Sontag (1977) On Photography. Penguin Books.
These images are from a series of photograms and scannographs of water pistols. I have named these images Positive and Negative because thatâ€™s exactly what they are the negative and the positive photogram. The images were produced by placing the objects directly onto colour photographic paper processed and then scanned to produce current size. Our world is running out of that precious resource water and these images mirror our present and future predicament. The positive image like a jewel we must have and the negative image full of what seems like blood.
Making photographs without a camera might seem to be a strange idea as photographic materials are designed to be used with a camera. Doing away with the camera seems somehow to be skipping a key step! Nevertheless I find one of the ways to understand things is to look at their individual components, a kind of dissection (in this case of the photograph) to see what can be uncovered. I enjoy the process of play and experimentation that the photogram involves. I donâ€™t know how a particular image will appear when I commence making it so that element of chance and revelation is very enjoyable. To see a photogram is to view something quite different to seeing the object itself. What we see is the shadow of the object, an impression that is left by something that is taken away. I think this is what gives photograms their spectral quality, particularly when they are made from clothing. When we view it we are seeing something that has gone, an absence made explicit. The photogram also appears to mimic the action of memory and dreams, in their imperfect, inverted and confused re-presentation of things.
My work is intuitive, vigorous in structure and abstract in nature. Translating through drawing design elements from the urban space into abstract landscape design is the language that I use to express my emotional response to the city streetscape. These works are made in response to the contrast of the landscape of the city using urban materials and forms. My style involves distinguishing aspects of the simplicity of urban motifs by abstracting the textural elements then applying the designs using materials from the urban space, such as paper collage, bitumen, glass, steel, spray paint an ink to build layers and depth, manipulating the works with a photocopier to finally create photograms that are unique expressions of our contemporary landscape.
"The Medium is the Message" Marshall McLuhan
This work capitalises on the parallels between digital technology and human cognition highlight the limitations of both. We are all confined by our ability to make sense of our surroundings just as the digital scanner use to take these images was inadequate to absorb any of the visual information outside it's range of focus or ability to illuminate. The resulting self-portraits have a mysterious quality which speak of an internal head space.
Governor Stirlingâ€™s Girls
Year 11 TEE ART
This group of young high school art students have undertaken a 10 week project to create expressive artworks that demonstrate a sense of purpose and understanding of the relationship among form, materials, techniques and subject matter to design a picture using drawing on transparent, translucent and opaque papers to build the layers of the photogram. These drawings were then scanned and transferred into Photoshop where they undertook a number of processes to manipulate, transform and discard sections of the original drawings to put onto acetate and use in their photogram. In the darkroom process the works use a variety of objects for the self-symbolic aspect to build the layers of their final photogram artwork. As a result the students have each produced a unique and individual artwork that express and explore the photogram process in a highly sophisticated manner whilst still maintaining the traditional process of photograming. Catherine Gomersall gave an artist talk and ran a workshop to facilitate this process, leading to the studentsâ€™ involvement in this exhibition. Students: Teresa Hall, Shannon Linton, Samantha Tully, Madeson Tabanao, Krystal Davies, Jessica Chambers, Aneta Szczucki, Alexandra Wilson, Zoe Baldock, Rhiannon Broome, Aimee Wainwright.
The camera obscura is an effect created through the hole in the wall of a darkened room. Light reflecting off objects passes through the hole onto the rear wall of the room. The rays of light create an inverted image of the object. Although this phenomenon was prototypical of photography it was also instrumental in the execution of paintings at various stages in its history in Western Europe. For this exhibition the apparatus is again tested for its use in representational painting as a rendering will be produced from the projected image. Darryn Ansted is currently completing a PhD on Gerhard Richter through the University of Western Australia.