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exhibitions

architecture, exhibitions, topographics

Weltraum

July 22, 2016

The 2016 Shimmer Photographic Biennale will take place in the City of Onkaparinga in Adelaide, South Australia between 2 September and 2 October. Shimmer at the Magpie Springs  gallery is Weltraum.

Weltraum itself refers to world (Welt) and space (Raum). Literally translated it means ‘world room’. As an photo-based exhibition Weltraum refers to worlds or spaces waiting to be explored and opened up by Australian photo artists. The exhibiting  photo-artists  in Weltraum are Judith Crispin, Jeff Moorfoot, Stuart Murdoch, Gilbert Roe, Gary Sauer-Thompson and  Beverley Southcott.

The curatorial idea behind Weltraum is based around photo-media artists working on long term projects over a couple of years. This slow photography develops critical and poetic insights. The exhibition presents some work in progress from 6 projects,  some of which includes lens-based film based photography.

The image below is a behind the camera  shoot of Gary Sauer-Thompson photoshoot along the  Mallee Highway  for his silo project. Several images from this project —in black and white and colour— will  be featured in Weltraum:

silo, Galah, Mallee, Victoria

silo, Galah, Mallee, Victoria

Philosophically speaking the curatorial idea underpinning the work in progress  of long term projects   is that of a qualitative multiplicity. Multiplicity originates from a folding or twisting of simple elements. Like a sand dune, a multiplicity is in constant flux, though it attains some consistency for a short or long duration. Qualitative  multiplicities  differ in kind from one another, and their   porous boundaries suggests  ways in which things creatively evolve to form new and surprising assemblages. Qualitative multiplicities are associated with poetics, painting,  writing etc.  Continue Reading…

exhibitions, film, Mallee, topographics

The Mallee project starts

July 13, 2016

The Mallee project is now up and running. It kinda came together, spontaneously. How about that?

Our initial  meeting  earlier this week  at Henley Beach  to kickstart  the Mallee project was able to take place  because  Eric Algra had flown over to Adelaide from Melbourne  to  work for a week on his new Elizabeth project.  It was a fruitful meeting that covered a lot of ground. All of   us share a fascination with the Mallee,  its history,  and its social and agricultural landscape. This is a dry, hot region featuring sand dunes, salt bushes, shrubs and  strange dwarf gum tree, Eucalyptus Dumosa, usually called Mallee.   What’s more we  are are comfortable in  each other’s company.

We–Eric Algra, Gilbert Roe and myself — reckoned that we would have enough work  from our previous road trips to  the Mallee to have a modest   group exhibition this year. This initial exhibition, which kicks the public side of the project off,  will be  in  October at Atkins Photo Lab’s new gallery space in Adelaide. This is  at the same time as   APSCON16 is happening in Adelaide— that is,  the annual conference of the Australian Photographic Society, which is the national body of the very active,  state based camera clubs.

garage, Tailem Bend

garage, Tailem Bend

This is the first time that I  will have worked  on a project with a group of photographers,  and it will be interesting to see how the project  develops over the next few years,  as we  continue to build up a body of work from our future  road trips and exhibit in various towns and cities. Maybe we could exhibit online or bring some writers or poets  in? It’s  envisaged as a multidimensional project.

Continue Reading…

black + white, coastal, critical writing, exhibitions, landscape

connections

June 9, 2016

One of the interesting  movements  is the emerging  connections  between the contemporary  arts and sciences around climate change driven by human activity.   These emerging connections stand in opposition to “denialism,” a highly ideological formation dedicated to defending deregulated  economic growth and the protection of the entrenched power of the fossil fuel corporations that made Australia into a modern  industrial capitalist  society in the second part of the 20th century. This is  the assertion of naked  political power for short-term self-interest.

A local example of the emerging  connections is the upcoming  Dire exhibition at the South Coast Regional  Art Centre  (Old Goolwa Police Station), which  is part of the Alexandrina Council’s Just Add Water 2016  festival. It is entitled Dire because our western civilisation  during the  Anthropocene  is still unable to  live within its ecological limits;  in spite of the new climate reality and  Australia being identified as one of the developed countries most at risk from the adverse impacts of climate change.

This is an out take from an eco-photoshoot in the Coorong, in South Australia,  for  the Dire exhibition:

 

Melaleuca, Coorong

Melaleuca, Coorong

In southern Australia the reduced rainfall scenario isn’t good news  for  the ecological health of the rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, whilst  the coastal cities and towns on both  the eastern and southern seaboard face threats from  the rising sea levels. What is happening to  the ecological health of the Coorong  from the reduced environmental flows  gives rise to feeling blue—- depression, sadness, melancholy–associated with  a sense of deep time and climate crisis.

Climate change is deeply disturbing and very hard to live with. We know and understand the implications of the science but we continue living–habitus— as we have been—an emotional denialism with its resistance to change.  So we  continue to live in parallel worlds. We think in one way and live in another.  Continue Reading…

abstraction, black + white, coastal, exhibitions, nature, rocks

Fleurieuscapes: Outtake 3

January 12, 2016

This abstraction of the granite rocks at Kings Head, which is n near Victor Harbor on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia,    is another out take from the Fleurieuscapes exhibition at Magpie Springs. One  reason for  this image not making the cut is that I decided that there would be no abstractions  in the exhibition, given my 2015  Australian Abstraction exhibition at the Light Gallery in Adelaide during the SALA Festival.   Another reason  for  its  exclusion is that the  people  helping me  to curate the  pictures   for the exhibition judged  that  the image  was too forbidding and  austere. It was a part of the  grotesque mode of expression in the visual art and it didn’t really fit in  the exhibition.

This exhibition  is part of the emerging trend in contemporary art photography  in Australia and New Zealand  that shows a marked and widespread interest in landscape. There has been a tendency to trivialise and overlook landscape photography, including the photography of wilderness.

rock abstract, Kings Head

rock abstract, Kings Head

The  textual background to the exhibition is that the genre of landscape has been desperately unfashionable across the arts for so long, the preserve of the Sunday painter and the happy tourist snapper. While the photographic canon includes the greats of landscape photography,  more recently photographers have tended to avoid a genre that is so easily linked to the vernacular (ie., happy snappers and tourism) and so difficult to connect to serious intent.
Continue Reading…

digital, exhibitions, mobile phone

on cameraphone photography: Skrambled Eggs 6

December 16, 2015

Scrambled Eggs has  been an annual photographic exhibition in Adelaide for the last six years,   and the  2015  exhibition  of  iPhoneography or more correctly, mobile phone photography, is back in the form  of Skrambled Eggs 6 at the  De La Liff  Gallery in Rundle Place in Adelaide’s  Rundle Mall until January 15.

The  ethos of the Skrambled Eggs  collective is  that you don’t need the latest,  expensive professional gear to make  photographs,  since  it’s all about working with what equipment that you have with you at the time. It’s an ethos  that I  wholeheartedly concur with. It shift’s the emphasis from gear acquisition syndrome to the imagery and what it means for us.

Alice Healy, Underwater

Alice Healy, Underwater

The work on show in the   Skrambled Eggs 6 exhibition is what happens when you put a trained,   professional eye  of the  members of the photographic industry in Adelaide behind  the camera of a mobile phone.  The  cameraphone is deemed to be a viable creative option,  and the  show highlights that photos  produced by a modern camera-phone with a designer’s eye is quite different to the world of a mass  of low-quality, self-serving images  that was used by the early critics of mobile phone photography to trash  it as kitsch,  decry it as the cult of the amateur and  dismiss the imagery as not photography, properly so called.

Firstly, Skrambled Eggs 6 is not a curated exhibition. It is a collection of two dozen,  mostly industry-based photographers,   who have a number of images each in their own  allocated space . I looks as if they were given free reign by the organisers with respect to the work.  What unites the  diversity of images and approaches (abstract, experimental, street, landscape, urbanscape etc ) is the view that the camera does not make the photographer.  It’s not what gear you’ve got, it’s the way you use it. The emphasis  is on the trained professional eye.

‘Professional’ is left undefined, but it conventionally refers to a profession and  to the qualities that are attributed to this profession. Usually professions are identified by their organizational structure (in this case the SA branch of AIPP) that ensures that certain standards of quality and expertise are upheld. Judging from the exhibition the inference is that a photographic profession is a  loosely defined collection of individuals who earn money by taking and selling images.

The work of Kate Burns (Atkins) shows the emphasis  of  the trained professional (designer’s) eye.  The large black and white toned images made while driving through North America on  a recent trip in the US have an emotional edge that references, and contributes to,  the Australian Romantic tradition’s representation of mystery and darkness and our attraction to, and fear of,   dark places.   The work is distinctly local,  and  its  contestatory embrace of  internationalism breaks with the provincialist bind that both continues to define Adelaide and South Australia and  identifies  Romanticism with the sublime of nature as wilderness.    The representation of a sense of desolation and foreboding with respect to  the US in Burn’s images also have  traces of  the world-wide shift from modern to contemporary art.

Kate Atkins, Overhead

Kate Atkins, Overhead

This work shifts Australian Romanticism away from a   melancholic yearning  or a nostalgia for communion with nature to on that acts as a critique of contemporary  US society from an Australian perspective.

Mobile phone photography has  definitely come of age,  and  its current intersection with social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) has taken photography into new territory. Mobile phone photography is essentially  a networked camera in that mobile phones are the central  device that has a networked output and audience  for the work. The web is becoming more visual and the easiest stories to consume, create or share aren’t text based. They’re photo based.

The social form of photography is where we are now,  and  no doubt the image quality will continue to improve as well as the interconnectivity with the newer mobile phone models. Apple’s marketing for the iPhone  for instance, really pushes the capabilities of its camera and the  good  quality of pictures it produces.  In the rapidly approaching, mobile-first world mobile devices are the new glossy magazines; text-ridden sites are boring, black and white newspapers.  Continue Reading…