Photography at photoaccess September 2016
During September 2016 photoaccess presented simultaneous three exhibitions: In the Landscape, Annika Harding and Amy Dunn, River, Peter Ranyard & New Paintings, Oscar Capezio.
Anika Harding & Amy Dunn In the Landscape
From the photoaccess blurb: ‘In the Landscape’. In this exhibition emerging artists Amy Dunn and Annika Harding use the photograph as a starting point and add paint to explore the relationship between the artist or figure and the landscape.
I wondered why the two artists were intermingled as each is distinct enough to be exhibited separately.
Annika Harding exhibited series of photo-media works. Her methodology is to take a series of landscape photographs with a figure, herself. She then paints into the photograph to provide a message and/or to highlight something.
The works have been displayed in a series format that require the viewer to read not just any of the single images but to look through the whole set.
Her images retain a photographic look. They are not high quality photographs. The works depend more on her additions to the surface.
The multiple set of 25 works above was moderately successful. Because of the small size, it was necessary to get up close to see what was happening in each. Whereas when one stepped back, quite different things happened.
There’s a long history of photo-media works such as these and Annika Harding is exhibiting some success in her use of the techniques and efforts to get across a series of messages. I suspect there a lot more to come from this artist.
For more about Anika Harding – click here.
Amy Dunn’s works were far more painted over and reworked. The use of the photographs of someone walking were being used as just the first step in production. These works were mixed media works that relied on the gesture of the distortion of the original images.
I am still not sure if these were successful.
The third artist, Peter Ranyard, has exhibited titled ‘River’. It is a series of black and white photographs taken in New Zealand.
Peter Ranyard digitally enhances the images to exaggerate the atmosphere he wishes to portray. His images are not records the landscape he visited, rather they are enhanced images he wishes to remember based on his visit rather than the reality as produced by the taking of the photograph.
The works are highly crafted and produced in a small size to to draw you to them. The result is an imagined documentation of the sites with an aesthetic charm for those who enjoy such digitally enhanced atmospheric works.
There’s more on this series – click here.
Finally there was a back room that contained an installation titled ‘New Paintings’ by Oscar Capezio.
The blurb told me that: “Utilising modest materials and photographic technologies, emerging artist and curator Oscar Capezio builds installations of found and fabricated objects, documented actions and staged images, to play out processes of making and encountering art.”
I wondered what relation the exhibit had to photoaccess – given that photoaccess is about photography or the current fashion of photo-based art. There must be a story to why this work was on exhibit at photoaccess. I missed it.
A comment on the whole set of exhibitions at photoaccess.
The whole exhibition felt jammed into the fairly restricted spaces that photoaccess has to offer. In fact it would have been better for Annita and Amy to have exhibited separately in each of the two front spaces, and for Peter Ranyard to have free reign in the back room.
Annita Harding’s work was compromised by being squeezed into the corner of the first room. The larger multiple set screamed out as if it required to be rethought, each image to be at least a little larger and the series arranged differently with more space in the room for the viewer to step back.
Photoaccess is to be congratulated for staging the exhibitions by Annita Harding, Amy Dunn and Peter Ranyard.
There’s a lot more to be said about organisations such as photoaccess that have adopted the term photo-based art – or even photo-media. They seem to be afraid of using the word photography. They do not accept that photography has its own history and its own nuances. Photo-media and photo-based art is something different – it is not photography.
I suspect there are now people in the former photography based organisations in Australia that do not comprehend the strength of photography internationally and how it remains a very dominate form of contemporary arts practice. More on this another time.