An exhibition which is perennially one of Sydney's best opens at the Art Gallery of NSW http://www.artgallerynsw.gov.au/ on February 22. ARTEXPRESS will display works submitted for the 2011 NSW HSC Visual Arts Certificate examination and provides ample proof that Oscar Wilde was, for once, wrong when he wrote "Youth is wasted on the young." Past years have shown that the students have approached their various art genres (including photography and photo-media) with energy, invention and burgeoning talent. Not to be missed. Until April 22.
Melbourne's Queen of Darkness
Katrin Koenning http://www.katrinkoenning.com/ has established a unique form of street photography - observing human figures suspended within urban canyons - capturing her strolling subjects as random rays of light illuminate their paths through pools of darkness. "Once, while venturing through the city in search for faces and light," recalled Koenning, "I came across this place in the Melbourne CBD. Light reaches it directly for only 20 minutes a day, around lunchtime, when people rush away from work to get sandwiches and coffees. During these few minutes, a transformation happens ... faces are illuminated, dust twirls through rays of sun, cigarette smoke becomes an almost glistening silver- blue against dark buildings." There is timelessness in Koenning's interpretation of these moments - with her subjects appearing preoccupied as they make their way across Melbourne's streets. Katrin Koenning is one of a number of Australian fine-art photographers finding inspiration in depicting city life (Trent Parke, Gary Cockburn and Narelle Autio are three others with similarly passionate concerns for "the street") Koenning also chooses moments in which her subjects often seem passionately internalised, as if slightly bruised by light's sudden intrusion on their journey. Koenning is currently exhibiting "Thirteen:Twenty Lacuna 2009-2011", a suite of colour images which remind us that the street remains one of the most timeless challenges photography can offer us - capturing any city's ancient aspect freshly, while paying homage to social arenas as defining as any found in cities as disparate as New York, or Pompeii. At Edmund Pearce Gallery http://edmundpearce.com.au/ Melbourne, until February 18.
The Language of Time
The photographs of Rennie Ellis (1940-2003) are making a welcome return to their public, this time at MOSSGREEN Gallery in Melbourne on February 10th, with an exhibition mischievously named T.I.T.S. "This Is The Show" which references the dark days in Melbourne when nightclubs could only legally advertise adventurist strip shows by using initials only - which collectively might then suggest something else entirely. In this spirit MOSSGREEN, with the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive http://www.rennieellis.com.au/ are presenting a selection of Ellis's affectionate, unsentimental observations of a vibrant Australian subculture from four decades ago. It was my pleasure, as a friend and contemporary of Rennie Ellis, to contribute this short essay for the invitation to visit MOSSGREEN Gallery.
|"Spring Lunch 1992" Copyright Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive|
The mythic alliance between women and serpents is also strongly implied in “Snake Woman, Kings Cross 1970-71”, (pictured, left) the only photograph in which Ellis’s focus is capable of being deflected from sharply rendering female nudity, as his camera instead focuses on the flat, malevolent head of a python as the serpent tries to pull away from the dancer. Rennie Ellis also finds a casual counterpoint to women’s roles as erotic dancers in observations such as “Backstage Dressing Room, The Ritz, St Kilda 1977” where nudity, and by inference eroticism, are only incidental to this beautifully observed moment expressing the close fellowship women find when working together. Ellis’s pictures are present in this exhibition almost exclusively in black and white, a documentary medium that suits his direct, sometimes pungent observations well. There is, however, one impressive exception. By observing “My Bare Lady, The Ritz, St Kilda 1977” in colour, Ellis achieves an almost Degas-like delicacy, momentarily dismantling any preference I might have felt for his black and white images. In showing T.I.T.S.“This is the show … by Rennie Ellis”, Mossgreen Gallery offer a vivid, revealing segment of the extraordinary archive created by Rennie Ellis, of which the National Gallery of Australia’s Senior Curator of Photography Gael Newton once said, “the record will speak for itself over time … as it (the archive) ages it will surprise us with its depth and significance.” ©Robert McFarlane 2012 www.ozphotoreview.com Until March 3
One Door Opens ... Another Closes
"Native", an exhibition featuring four different artists, each with complementary visions, is coming to the end of its run and will sadly close at Syndicate, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo this Saturday. "Native" is curated by Sandy Edwards of ARTHEREhttp://www.arthere.com.au/ and features works by Tim Hixson, Sally McInerney, Anthony Amos and Peter Solness. All are presenting colour landscapes which seem linked by both strength and delicacy of colour, an affection, indeed, love of landscape and four noticeably individual visual signatures. Seeing work with this degree of evolved vision underlines how varied and unpredictable Australian landscape photographers are. Far from merely transferring the seductive U.S. West Coast visions of photographic legends such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, Australian landscape photographers are establishing their own dialogue with the very different vistas they face on this continent. Until February 11
IMAGING DAYS OF MIRACLE AND WONDER