‘The ABBEE’ Photographs by Ian PROVEST emanating from a now defunct abattoir in Woy Woy, New South Wales - Australia 2010 – 2013. ABBEE images are on abbeeillumination.tumblr.com blog at present and are password protected for production purposes until ‘ABBEE illumination’ installation / exhibition launch. —————————————————————————————————————Kon Gouriotis OAM on ‘The ABBEE’ Exhibition Extract / edit from Opening speech 16 March 2013 at Sandy Edwards ARTHERE - Sydney Australia By way of an introduction to Ian Provest’s exhibition ‘The ABBEE’, I quote: “… The photographs of Ian Provest … lost in the past; they depict memories of people and places. Yet the patient and loving manner in which he renders his subjects suggests an act of commemoration, a reassertion of life in the face of death, the celebration of an eternal presence in lieu of silence and absence.” Dr Benjamin Genocchio. - Referring to Ian’s late 1990’s series ‘Cherish 1’. Those are the memorable words of Australian art historian and once art critic for the New York Times, Dr Benjamin Genocchio referring to Ian’s 1990’s series ‘Cherish 1’. Genocchio’s words are prophetic, because of the wanderings within time, memory and place in Ian’s new work ‘The ABBEE’. Ian has earned his important place in Australian art photography. His work reveals an inner beauty in his subjects that will transcend this time and place. Mr Kon Gouriotis OAM 2013 ( full speech transcript available on request ) —————————————————————————————————————————— Sandy Edwards on ‘The ABBEE’ exhibition by Ian PROVEST If we were asked to elaborate on what the essential elements of life or of living are, what would we say? What makes us ponder the value or cycle of a life? In photographer Ian Provest’s case rather unusual circumstances led him to contemplate these matters. While practicing on his art exclusively, he was offered an unusual opportunity to create a new body of work. This opportunity was to be Artist in Residence in a now defunct abattoir at Woy Woy on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. The custom built interiors, architecture, colour and history has a strong resonance and a poignant energy for Provest. A new body of work is emerging through a visceral passion, elevated by this place and the experience of living and working there. The photographs that have emerged have a visual style that speaks strongly to the emotions and the spirit. The primary colours are red, black and grey. These are the tones of the painted concrete floor and walls of the abattoir. Provest zooms in, highlighting abstract details of the surfaces of walls, floors and on found objects such as fragments of bones. He describes with wider views the somewhat spooky open spaces of the multiple chambers, where different activities relating to slaughter took place. One can be drawn to imagine a pulse and feel the echo of the sentient nature of all beings. However with a true humanity Provest’s interpretation is both uplifting and transcendent, as well as creating a space for reflection. He has found evidence of the spirit again and again in unexpected places. Many of the images have water in them as a result of strong rain downpours, water being a key element of life. So too is the element of fire present with candles referencing a spiritual and meditative calmness. By placing burning candles in the space Provest illustrates one of the reasons he chose the title THE ABBEE. There is an image of a candle burnt into and emerging from a red floor, it wields a delicate beauty in a way that words cannot match. The recurring reds symbolize blood and the blacks offer darkness and emphasis. There is one Mandela like image of a pink and yellow flower offering such joy in the mix that it stands as one of the most powerful images. There is poetic impact in these images providing space for reflection on life itself. The works in this exhibition represent a flowering of the human spirit. Sandy Edwards ARTHERE 2013 ps This is an extraordinary project and left a strong impact on me long after my visit to the site.
—————————————————————————————————————————— words by Ian Provest - 2013 “ I find the times I’m most inspired are in extreme weather like rain downpours and at the beginning and end of the day when I best respond to the quietness, especially the colour, the light and energy. It has been both rewarding and challenging working on ‘The ABBEE’. I feel stirred with the energy of its idle, cathedral height industrial interior, the colour, the red, greys and greens. It’s an existential meditation and expression that the abattoir evokes for me with this work - as a place of past animal slaughter, it’s underlying voice from the past, evidence of labour, and the always arising next moment – sometimes holding, confronting, … or beautiful, … always an opportunity if I am mindfull ”. Ian Provest 2013