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Polarity: Portraits and Panoramas

Suellen Symons
This event has concluded
Dates:
Hours:
Entry Fee: Free
Exhibition Event:
Official Opening 25/05/2013 4:00 am

Two series of work both very different to each other made simultaneously over 2012.

In Symons’ exhibition there are two sides to the show: one places the multiple portrait in the landscape or interior while the other shows multiple views of the landscape as a panorama without concentrating on people.

1. Portraits of young women I know, and also a young man, showing each in multiple viewpoints: in repose or engaging with her/his surroundings, in a beautiful environment. The seemingly formal photographic portraits foreground human reality as construction creating a portrait as multiple personas, the ‘self’ perhaps exposed as the product of social and interior interaction. Emotionally powerful, the portraits show the frozen moments, which explain their sequence. Conjecting what beauty might mean in the year 2096, critic Peter Schjeldahl suggested that “it would become a quality of experience, not of things, and not a fixed and pre-determined aspect of human appearance”[1] However I enjoy the discovery and capture of the illusionary and momentary fleeting vision of young womens’ beauty in a wonderfully rich Australian landscape or historic place. It is to savour the illusion of beauty as an expression of hope in the future, of how we are all inextricably bound up in our environments, they shape us, and we shape them. Internally, externally, with emotion, detached- multiple personalities and identities in this digital age. However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Young people playing in the environment remind us of this.

2. Panoramas, which allude to painting traditions of landscape. Devoid of human content, but showing traces of humanity. The timber mill in full view of Mount Warning National Park, Wollumbin is part of a remnant caldera of a much larger extinct volcano. We see the high barbed wire fence, the bitumen road, traces of human debris in the gritty landscape on an overcast day. Another image shows a sunset with the ghostly apparitions of windmills watching and whispering secrets over Lake George, as the cattle settle for the evening in this winter panorama. Another a snow blizzard captured like a Japanese tapestry, sewn up in extreme cold, knee deep in snow, visibility lost except for a thin ink line, a wonderful expression of the harshness and wildness of nature and being in it. Cockatoo Island with its mystery of buildings, history of locking up orphaned and wayward children, women and men, boat building, hidden angst and soaring light and shade, containing cultural artefacts to represent a world view on a stage. These are some of the highlights when the surface is scratched behind the work in this digital ink jet on cotton rag show.

[1] . Peter Schjedahl “Beauty is Back” New York Times Magazine Sept 29, 1996 p.161 as quoted in Mary Warner Marien “Photography A Cultural History” Laurence King Publishing London 2002 p.475 Epilogue On Beauty, Science and Nature.

This event has concluded
Dates:
Hours:
Entry Fee: Free
Exhibition Event:
Official Opening 25/05/2013 4:00 am
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© Rob Johnston

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