Photography | Brian Rope
The Pandy Shuffle | Eleven Artists
Huw Davies Gallery, Photo Access | Until 22 December 2021
Curated by Wouter Van de Voorde, The Pandy Shuffle shows works from eleven photo artists. The name? Well, it’s not the Melbourne shuffle - a rave dance from the ‘80s. And the artists didn’t learn how to shuffle and cut shapes in the usual dance sense. But they certainly had to shuffle their arrangements and plans, creating a Pandora’s Box of ideas as they coped with the pandemonium of pandemic times.
Van de Voorde mentored them through a Concept to Exhibition project at Photo Access in 2021. He wanted to connect people, have discussions about how images work and how they communicate when juxtaposed with each other. It became a shared endeavour, no-one expecting to be working together online through lockdowns.
As curator, Van de Voorde wanted there to be an overarching narrative binding the works together. He and his participants have executed a varying quality, but successful, coherent and collaborative show - celebrating their doggedness and creativity.
Each artist brought their distinctive style; an admirable consonance between them. All created work revealing their individual thought processes and confirming their endurance through this year.
Claire Manning’s excellent artworks feature diverse and interesting subjects, and include a magnificent large self-adhesive vinyl print A Place to Hide, 2021.
Sara Edson’s wonderful contemporary work explores notions of home and connections between family, friends and strangers, recording “experiences and feelings in a strange year, that sometimes seemed a blur.” An image of a panda mask wearer along the Queanbeyan River path reveals a delightful encounter.
Tom Varendorff planned to document the ever-increasing number of dog toys that lie around his house and yard. In the end his – also contemporary - photos weren't as focused on the toys as he'd first thought.
Andrea Bryant’s works are all seductively lit and worthy of close examination. Still Life 2 is not a traditional still life. It has much to consider in a different composition.
Grant Winkler’s four exhibits of abandoned spaces adorned with the nowadays inevitable “street art” additions are replete with detail. His use of sunlight in two Walking on Sunshine works is wonderful.
Thomas Edmondson’s artist statement reveals that he is colour blind (mild deuteranopia) and that his work attempts to visualise “happenings left in places”. One impressive piece, Kambah Drains, reveals an amazing collection of graffiti on various surfaces – the words cave, temple, grim and aspire invite interpretation.
Erin Burrows says, “works were created from a period of chaos to calm in an ever-changing world, how busy and messy life can be, then clarity and balance can be found.” Each work is full of stuff for our eyes to tour.
Phil Carter found quiet suburban roads to show us, seemingly devoid of people, built probably at great cost and barely used.
Briony Donald’s images of pigeons - and their titles - made me smile. One of two others featuring rhino birds stands out because of the bird’s juxtaposition with a young person.
Caroline Lemerle is interested in capturing the ‘layers’ of inner city living, suggesting her images “illustrate the silent fraught conversation between middle-class affluence and the inner-city poverty of marginalised people”. They do, although two prints titled Newtown Disconnect 1 and 2 have a clear connection - dominant colours in each tying them together.
Kathy Leo took her photos while exploring the beauty around Canberra on a personal recovery journey. She has compiled images and poetry into an artist book, some copies for sale along with prints of Birds in the Pond. The works share her discoveries and their healing wonder with us, her audience.
This review was published in The Canberra Times on 18/12/21 here. It is also on the author’s blog here.