Double Exposure

Page 1


Blackfriars off Broadway


19 May – 30 June 2010 Laurence Aberhart Pat Brassington Jane Burton Tamara Dean Garth Knight Ben Ali Ong Zorica Purlija Julie Rrap Darren Sylvester William Yang.

Curated by Sandy Edwards

We would like to thank

Bett Gallery Charles Hewitt Gallery Darren Knight Gallery Karen Woodbury Gallery Rex Irwin Art Dealer Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Sara Roney Gallery Stills Gallery Sullivan & Strumpf Fine Art Tim Olsen Gallery

Bronwyn Bancroft Merilyn Fairskye Joyce Parszos And the exhibiting artists who have made this exhibition possible

Blackfriars off Broadway

Viscopy is Australasia’s rights management organisation for the visual arts. Viscopy provides copyright licensing services in Australia and New Zealand for a wide and varied customer base on behalf of our members. We represent over 7,000 Australian and New Zealand artists and their beneficiaries. Our membership includes many famous names as well as up and coming artists. Viscopy represents approximately 43% of all artists in Australia and New Zealand. Indigenous artists account for almost half of our membership. We also represent some 40,000 international artists and beneficiaries of artists’ estates in the Australasian territory through reciprocal agreements with 45 visual arts rights management agencies around the world. Blackfriars off Broadway is Viscopy’s new exhibition space for artists which is located at our premises in Chippendale, Sydney. There is an annual exhibition program which aims to showcase the quality, beauty and diversity of the visual art created by our members. We are delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit the work of 10 contemporary photo artists from Australia and New Zealand in Double Exposure curated by Sandy Edwards. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Sandy Edwards for the catalogue essay and assistance in making Double Exposure possible. For more information about Blackfriars off Broadway, please telephone 02 9310 2018.


DOUBLE EXPOSURE Double Exposure presents some past and current treasures from within Australian contemporary art photography. Ten artists each provide two works, one old and one new. These artists’ trajectories over time provide an opportunity to observe some of the recent changes in photography and reveal the concerns of the artists. Over the last fifteen years the transition to digital technology has allowed unforeseen opportunities for photography to position itself alongside other media through the production of large-scale images, the ability to print onto almost any surface, and the capacity to alter images with digital tools. Not every photographer has chosen to follow this path. Many prefer traditional methods. There are always gains and losses with technological developments and especially when it seems the very nature of photography is at stake. Many photographers also work with analogue and digital methods combined where photographs can be produced digitally and still be printed onto light sensitive photographic papers. The manipulation of images has engendered confusion about the authenticity of the image. This is not a new debate. Photography’s authenticity has been questioned since its beginnings, but notably since Susan Sontag wrote her challenging book ‘On Photography’ in 1977. The computer is an amazing tool, however once mastered, the variety of technical approaches and applications employed are no different than those witnessed in other mediums. Of greater interest are the current concerns of artists and the ways these are realised conceptually through this popular medium. Laurence Aberhart’s 10 x 8 contact prints (the negative is laid directly onto the paper to make a print) represent chemical photography in its basic form. Aberhart says the papers he used for prints in his recent exhibition are now ‘extinct’. He demonstrates photography’s widely accepted ability to record aspects of the world and act as a cultural and historical document. Aberhart’s exhibition ‘Northland Maori Churches’: 2007 is a profound and moving record (especially to a New Zealander) of the meeting of Maori culture and European settlement through Christianity. William Yang honours the contribution of key Sydney celebrities by acknowledging their role within artistic life and recording them for posterity. His recent theatre show ‘My Generation’ revealed the way a community of talented people orbited the giant literary figure of Patrick White. Alongside his theatrical storytelling abilities that combine photography and performance, Yang’s portraits of White are amongst his greatest achievements. He is also well known for his erotic images of men which have his diarist thoughts literally written over their bodies. Ben Ali Ong takes us back to the roots of photography and in his new work to abstract expressionism. By crafting his source material by hand he is in a unique position amongst this group of photographers. He scratches the negatives and sandwiches layers of them together when printing. His subject matter includes landscapes, portraits, nature and the details of artworks. He explores themes of mortality and the soul. Ong’s black and white images offer a sublimity that is rarely seen in photography at the moment. He is a both a poet and a sage.


Garth Knight’s work is clearly a product of digital photography. His radiant creations dazzle like jewels and absorb the eye with their surprising detail. Knight starts by photographing an object or a person, then replicates, mirrors and merges the images to create constructions akin to two-dimensional sculptures. The images become fractal fantasias made up of thousands, perhaps millions of image fragments. Pat Brassington remains one of the most original artists in contemporary photography. She archives her own black and white photographs then morphs and distorts them with what appears to be provocative intent. Her mainly female bodies are strangely distorted. Erogenous zones such as the mouth and tongue, the legs, the hand and the nape of the neck commonly recur. For some viewers there is a distinct discomfort with the work. Yet for others there is attraction and recognition, like a guilty pleasure or an old love revisited. Jane Burton creates fantasy worlds that evoke the Victorian era or the remoteness of a country landscape. There is a sense of containment in these enchanted narratives. The images of women are overlaid by eroticism and sensuality. The transition from adolescence into womanhood is suggested. Yet the women appear sexually experienced like characters in a film noir. Stylistically the work suggests older methods of print toning and the use of vignettes found in old family photograph albums. Zorica Purlija shows an intuitive understanding of maternal childhood alongside mature sexuality, establishing their connection. In ‘Fervor’ a couple appears to be kissing although this is open to interpretation. There appears to be a touch of Pat Brassington in this work, yet Purlija describes another stage of life. In her earlier work she photographed her daughter Yumi in a manner that reveals great skills for portraiture. One of the memorable things about Darren Sylvestor’s work is his titles. They imply a much broader narrative. The works are stylized and mannered in the way of advertising or pop culture. His larger than life portrayal of young men, women, and couples is completely contemporary. Embodied within them is a line of enquiry based on experience. He has an interest in relationship and how it evolves, which is rarely explored in contemporary art. His men seem larger than life and just a little trapped in their roles. Tamara Dean has a natural ability for recording intimacy in a life affirming way. Her many areas of expertise include motherhood, childhood and the stages of life marked by ritual. Dean has established a fine name for her work in journalism. Her press portraits stand apart in their visual skill and sensitivity. However her latest work ‘Ritualism’ steps well away from documentary into the tradition of staged photography. She places couples, women and children into Australian landscapes which resonate with the work of Australian painters such as McCubbin. Her use of colour contributes to a richly evocative mood. Julie Rrap has a history of self representation through the body. Her recent exhibition ‘Escape Artist: Castaway’ 2009 combines self representation with a muddling of physical realities. We see Rrap’s strong body dressed in a Marilyn Monroe dress clambering between the beams of a wooden structure. Asking us to join her in an uncertain virtual terrain, her work questions the meaning of the image and the relationship of photography to reality. While ever difficult to draw conclusions about the concerns of photographic artists, look to the images for clues about realities which include gender, spirit, humanity, and meaning itself. Rrap’s quote from ‘Escape Artist: Castaway’ 2009 neatly sums up the conundrum of multiple realities that contemporary photography currently finds itself within. “Ultimately it is about the desire to imagine; to imagine is to expand the world in order to inhabit the world more vividly in its virtuality”. Sandy Edwards


Ben Ali Ong Mithras Slaying the Bull 2008 C-type print 120 x 150 cm Š Ben Ali Ong 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Tim Olsen Gallery


Zorica Purlija Fervor (Awakenings Series) 2009 Archival fine art print 100 x 62 cm Š Zorica Purlija 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Sara Roney Gallery


William Yang Patrick White#1 1980 Inkjet print 35 x 54 cm Š William Yang 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Stills Gallery


Laurence Aberhart Interior, Church, Maraeroa, Hokianga Harbour, Northland, 2 May 1982 Silver gelatin POP print, gold toned, 19.4 x 24.5 cm Š Laurence Aberhart 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney


Pat Brassington Postmark 2010 Pigment print 55 x 80 cm Š Pat Brassington Licensed by Viscopy 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Stills Gallery


Garth Knight Caught in her Web 2003 (from the Menagerie Series) Digital type C print 100 x 125 cm Š Garth Knight 2010 Courtesy of the artist


Jane Burton Wormwood #1 2007 Type C photograph 110 x 110 cm Š Jane Burton 2010 Courtesy of the artist, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne and Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney


Darren Sylvester Take Me to You Again 2009 Light jet print 90 x 120 cm Š Darren Sylvester 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf Fine Art


Tamara Dean Purification, Ritualism Series 2009 Pure pigment print on archival photo rag 76 x 102 cm Š Tamara Dean 2010 Courtesy the artist and Charles Hewitt Gallery


Julie Rrap Escape Artist: Castaway 2 2009 Digital print on archival rag paper 120 x 120 cm Š Julie Rrap 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Viscopy 1 Blackfriars St Chippendale NSW 2008 ABN 98 069 759 922 Phone: 02 9310 2018 Fax: 02 9310 3864 Email: Web:

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