Photography | Brian Rope
Under the Sun & Cyscapes | Jane Duong
Reading Room Gallery, Rusten House Art Centre |
Jane Duong is a Canberra-based photographer. She majored in photomedia at Edith Cowan University in 2003 for a Bachelor of Communications. Then, in 2007, graduated with a Diploma in Museums and Collections from the ANU.
As with her Sunkissed exhibition in 2022, Duong has used the cyanotype technique for this show. Under the Sun is more substantial - both in terms of the number of works and their content. Once again, the works do not shout seeking attention, but quietly encourage visitors in for a closer investigation. The cyanotype process dates back to the dawn of photography and was invented by astronomer Sir John Herschel in 1842. Prints are created with the use of a light-sensitive chemical mixture coated on paper, ultraviolet (or sun) light to expose, and water to wash before drying.
So, what are we looking at here? The artworks result from an exploration and celebration of public spaces and historical places in Queanbeyan - through the magic and coincidence that comes with the cyanotype process. Her subjects include The Dog & Stile Inn, the Queanbeyan River, Rusten and Benedict Houses, and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Each exhibited print is a one-off, handmade on cotton paper. Some have unique borders. Some have been created with negative contact sheets. And some exposed artworks were washed by dipping them directly into the Queanbeyan River.
|Cross to bear - Jane Duong|
|Rusten House I - Jane Duong|
When I learned to make prints from negatives in a darkroom years ago, it was drummed into me to use clean water for the processes. Nowadays, a growing number of artists seem to be using “unclean” water. Some collect water from creeks, dams, oceans or wherever to use. Others immerse the paper or other material on which they are printing directly into a water source, as Duong has done here for some works. In the last couple of days I have seen this approach questioned on social media, with someone wondering aloud whether it was appropriate to “contaminate” the ocean with cyanotype chemicals. Responses have been varied.
The collective states that it ‘strides’ to bring local culture and active travel together, to reclaim community ownership of the street and public spaces. It asks that we think of the collective’s members as art street vendors. They screen virtual exhibitions, lighting up parks, paths, and plazas on night walks and scooter rides.
|Cyscapes-3 - Jane Duong (Still from video)|
|Cyscapes-2 - Jane Duong (Still from video)|