Drawn from the Gallery’s collection, this exhibition featured recent work by Australian and international photographers who expand the limits of photographic representation. These artists are preoccupied with the material properties of the photograph and challenge our tendency to treat a photographic object as a passive conduit that we look through, not at.
The selected works resist the category of the purely representational. They experiment with the abstraction of form and acknowledge illusion and artifice as inherent to the medium. Exposing fissures or gaps in the image that either camouflage the subject or render it illegible, they offer new ways of reading and interpreting photography itself.
The artists – most of whom are in the early stages of their careers – include Jacqueline Ball, Walead Beshty, Matthew Brandt, Danica Chappell, Zoë Croggon, Christopher Day, Charles Dennington, Cherine Fahd, Deb Mansfield, Todd McMillan, Luke Parker, Kate Robertson, James Tylor and Justine Varga.
Isobel Parker Philip, assistant curator of photographs and curator of 'New matter'
Isobel Parker Philip, the Gallery’s assistant curator of photographs and curator of 'New matter’, introduces the exhibition and discusses the way each artist expands the limits of photographic representation. Emphasising the material properties of the photograph over its ability to transcribe a scene with exacting and documentary precision, the work in the show poses the question: what are we looking at when we look at a photograph? Isobel addresses the nuances and complexities of this question and trace connective threads between each artist’s practice.
Luke Parker, artist
Through his artistic practice, Luke Parker attempts to reconcile and navigate the overwhelming proliferation of images that was precipitated by the development of photo-mechanical reproduction 100 years ago and has exponentially increased in the digital age. Working with collage, he combines his own photographs with found objects and images he has collected over the last 20 years. Luke joined us at Art After Hours to discuss the themes and processes behind his work 'Entrance to the underworld’ 2014 on display in the exhibition.
Deb Mansfield, artist
Experimenting with the surface and material composition of the photographic image, Deb Mansfield challenges our expectations of what a photograph is. Her photo tapestries achieve this feat by embracing unconventional printing techniques and converting the image into a textile.
Deb joined us at Art After Hours to discuss the themes and processes behind her work '(Swinging) I am trying to quieten my love for you’ 2015 on display in the exhibition.
Todd McMillan, artist
Todd McMillan’s artistic practice, encompassing video and photographic works, could be loosely described as an extended portrait of a figure alone against the world, a role often embodied by Todd himself. Integrating themes derived from Romantic literature and existential philosophy into his work, McMillan weaves poetic narratives of failure and endurance. The solemnity of his thematic preoccupations, specifically his fixation on the concept of the sublime, is often offset by a self-effacing sense of humour.
Todd joins us at Art After Hours to discuss the themes and processes behind his work 'Self portrait (Bayard study i)’ 2013 on display in the exhibition.
Cherine Fahd, artist
Cherine Fahd’s work broadly explores the relationship between bodies and sculpture, often to surreal effect. Since the late 1990s, Cherine’s trajectory has moved from simple portraits of her family wearing fabricated plaster creations, to street shots where the subject is unaware of being photographed and, more recently, various forms of self-portraiture. In all guises, she employs some way of ‘sculpting’ the body for the camera.
Cherine joined us at Art After Hours to discuss the themes and processes behind her work 'Plinth piece, study for woman bitten by a snak’e 2014 on display in the exhibition.