Photography | Brian Rope
Re-Seen | Various Artists: Peter Bailey, Andrea Bryant, Abby Ching, Annette
Fisher, Susan Henderson, Tessa Ivison, Peter Lamour, Caroline Lemerle, Louise
Maurer, Greg McAnulty, Aditi Sargeant, Eva Schroeder, Sari Sutton, Beata
Tworek, Brian Rope and Grant Winkler
Photo Access | 10 June – 10 July
the author of this review has two works in the exhibition but received no
payment for the review.
Earlier this year Photo Access conducted three workshops,
each spread over several weekly sessions, in which participants explored the
idea of Canberra as a community of people, a built environment, and a physical
landscape. Sixteen artists created new works responding to three of Canberra’s
landmark photographers – Marzena Wasikowska, Edward (Ted) Richards and Ian
North – each featured in Canberra Museum And Gallery’s current exhibition, Seeing
The result is this exhibition, Canberra Re-Seen. There is also an online gallery showing the same works plus others by the participating artists. And there are two solo exhibitions showing simultaneously, both of which explore aspects of portraiture: A Surrounded Beauty by Sarah Rhodes, and Portrait by Melita Dahl.
Inspired by Wasikowska’s interest in capturing the human qualities of Canberra, one group explored the idea that a city is best understood through its people. They had the added benefit of Wasikowska herself leading their workshop.
A second collective, led by Wouter Van de Voorde and with Richards’ involvement too, investigated Richards’ interest in documenting the character of Canberra’s little-known places. They shot on 35mm film and created darkroom prints in response to Richards’ dramatic black and white style.
Working with documentary photographer David Hempenstall, a third group explored the ideas of Ian North’s early 1980s images of Canberra suburbs – vistas both bleak and beautiful.
It is difficult to individually comment on all the works in
Canberra Re-Seen, so I will just look at particular works that attracted my
attention for various reasons.
The highlight for me is Eva Schroeder’s Metamorphis. Born and bred in Canberra, Schroeder has, like me, seen enormous changes in our city over the years. Researching, she learned that 2-4% of Canberra’s community identify as Trans and decided to portray a Canberran transitioning from one gender to another. Her triptych shows Norgaria, who has chosen to use prosthetics, wigs, makeup, and costumes to reveal her real self by entering the world of Cosplay.
Andrea Bryant’s Maria is another fine standout. It is
a portrait of a long-term neighbour, “a strong and feisty woman”. An
internationally recognised scientist, she is portrayed heartily laughing.
Several other gallery visitors pointed to this work as one they loved.
Another very strong contribution is Beata Tworek’s series of
collages, which respond to North’s innovative and optimistic colour treatment
of deserted streetscapes with austere monochromes reflecting disdain for their
lack of individuality.
Ambivalent collage 2 © Beata Tworek
Grant Winkler’s Denman Prospect is very much about the
bush landscape disappearing as new suburbs creep over it, replaced by homes and
other buildings with what remains of nature being “moulded and manicured”.
Grant Winkler © Untitled (Denman Prospect DSCF6388)
Peter Larmour took 3D images of landscapes. His Southern Anaglyph (dye sublimation on aluminium) is worthy of close examination.
Southern Anaglyph © Peter Lamour
Untitled (Fyshwick) © Sari Sutton
And, inspired by the playful use of lines and geometry in Richards’s Dancing in the Mall, 1964, Sutton also sought images incorporating strong stripes - exploring the same general area near where the Monaro Mall once stood.
Other standouts for me were Annette Fisher’s Abstracts,
and Tessa Ivison’s interestingly titled Pastorals.
4 Abstracts, 2021 © Annette Fisher
Pastoral #1 © Tessa Ivison
This review is also on the author's own blog here.