An image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literalAn image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literalAn image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literalAn image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literalAn image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literalAn image of Here photography seems to escape the strictly literal

Bruce Searle

(Australia 1949 – )

Here photography seems to escape the strictly literal

Location
Not on display
Further information

Bruce Searle was born and educated in Sydney and graduated from Sydney College of the Arts in 1985. He has taught photography since the 1980s and in 1983 was co-director (with Paul Hewson) of Images Gallery, Sydney. In 1984 he co-curated the groundbreaking exhibition ‘After the artefact’ which included work by ten artists including Jacky Redgate, Geoff Kleem, Ingeborg Tyssen and Mark Johnson. In 1987 Searle wrote:
‘Gary Catalano, in his ‘The bandaged image’, characterised artists’ books as vehicles for ideas, rather than monuments to craft. I would lean towards an acceptance of this pronouncement, although often the ‘finish’ of the book work is an important component for me in the realisation of a conceptual whole. The modest scale particularly, the flexibility possible in form and the intimate sequential unfolding, means that often I can carry to fruition notions of quite novel or ‘antic’ dimension in a way that is rarely possible in work conceived for wall display.1

Searle’s enigmatic book work ‘Here photography seems to escape the strictly literal’ fulfils this promise. The black-and-white images have an elliptical relationship to each other and to the texts. The loose-leaf ‘Odyssey’ photographed through glass reinforces the turning of the page and the notion of the journey into the unknown, both of which are frozen by the action of the camera as much as the glass. Searle’s subtle sequential works emphasise the move away from the single image which reflects the real and into the realm of the imagination where reality is a constantly shifting ground.

1. Ennis H & Davidson K 1988, 'Australian photography: the 1980s', National Gallery of Australia, Canberra p 80

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Year
1983-1984
Media
Album, Photograph
Medium
bound album: 10 leaves, 7 photographically derived images
Dimensions
10 leaves: 31.0 x 41.7 cm each leaf; 31.7 x 42.1 x 0.5 cm album closed :
a - The Odyssey; 19.1 x 28.5 cm; image
a - The Odyssey; 23.1 x 33.1 cm; sheet
b - War memorial; 19 x 28.5 cm; image
b - War memorial; 24 x 33.8 cm; sheet
c - Get the good oil here; 19 x 28.6 cm; image
c - Get the good oil here; 23.1 x 33.8 cm; sheet
d - Keep left; 19.1 x 28.6 cm; image
d - Keep left; 23.6 x 33.9 cm; sheet
e - Lawn bowls; 19 x 28.5 cm; image
e - Lawn bowls; 23.4 x 33.7 cm; sheet
f - Marilyn 1; 19.1 x 29.4 cm; image
f - Marilyn 1; 22.2 x 31.9 cm; sheet
g - Marilyn 2; 19 x 29.5 cm; image
g - Marilyn 2; 23.5 x 32.9 cm; sheet
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. verso leaf j, pencil "BS/ aug 1987". Dated l.c. leaf c, pencil ".../ 1983-4".

Credit
Gift of the artist 1987
Accession number
537.1987.a-g
Copyright
© Bruce Searle