Photography Exhibition Review
Un/known | Susan Bell, Emily Blenkin, Fiona Bowring, Andrea Bryant, Saini Copp, Sophia Coombs, Annette Fischer, Lucy Found, Saskia Haalebos, Kristian Herman, Lia Kemmis, Eunie Kim, Kathy Leo, Louise Maurer, Kleber Osorio, Margaret Stapper, Beata Tworek, Sarah Vandermar
Photo Access | 15 SEPTEMBER – 8 OCTOBER 2022
Featuring works created during PhotoAccess’ Concept to Exhibition 2022 workshop, Un/known brings together a variety of artists examining, confronting and sharing personal stories. During nine months, mentored by 2021 National Photographic Portrait Prize finalist Marzena Wasikowska, the displaying artists went beyond their settled methods of working. Bringing varying levels of skill and past practice to the workshop, the artists have each advanced their photovoice and produced new work, expressing their one-of-a-kind approaches to image-making.
The resultant exhibition is substantial and diverse. Sixty-three works, including two video pieces and a photobook, take quite some time to explore properly. And it is impossible to properly do justice to all eighteen artists and their works here.
The catalogue speaks of two images by Kleber Osorio showing evidence of a style familiar to him, and of a new approach emerging. His four new works effectively use water and reflections in that new approach.
Louise Maurer shows two fine prints layering elements of multiple images to create new works. Both can fairly be described as compilations of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations – as encountered in dreams.
Sophia Coombs has four delightful prints exploring femininity through connection to the ocean. The woman in the sea is, of course, a female figure in an ocean. That sea is also a woman “because she is deep and wild.”
Margaret Stapper has successfully explored whether photography can be therapeutic and enable reconnection with the past. She has made excellent composites inserting old photos of herself into new images. The facial expressions seen in the work In Conversation tell a wonderful story.
Beata Tworek has used gold powder and thread to enhance scars such that “shameful” body imperfections have become valuable symbols.
Eunie Kim contributes some delightful works using silver-gelatin liquid emulsion and cyanotype print on acrylic paper.
Fiona Bowring’s video and photobook of women working in Fyshwick contains great imagery and warrant taking the necessary time to explore both thoroughly. Ruth at the sink is just one example of these workers.
Andrea Bryant’s three giclee prints, including Flux 2, are simply superb.
Kathryn Leo is showing two posters seeking, through images and words, to reveal something of life’s journey. Smooth and Rough is the more successful of them.
Adam Luckhurst is showing a body of work seeking to highlight the perilous climate circumstances that we are in. I needed to read his words, including a poem Destination, in the catalogue before his message was clear to me.
Annette Fisher gives us The Pregnant Tree, a delightful installation comprising a balls of crushed photos hanging on a dead branch. The images are of the ruins and remains following a building annihilation. Her suggestion that they might be preparing for a new life is allegorical.
Lia Kemmis also has contributed a wonderful installation. Placed in a corner of the gallery, it is in effect the corner of a room in a home. There is a “wall-hanging”, a framed canvas on a wall, a table covered with a satin cloth featuring a digital print, and a chair with another satin cloth image embellished with fake fur on which are containers of numerous small prints. The only thing missing is a second chair on which visitors might sit to enjoy the corner.
Emily Blenkin has based the titles of her works on that old cliché “a picture tells a thousand words”. In fact, each work comprises three separate images, so I found myself asking how many words were actually told by the individual pictures?
The artists not mentioned here have also each made contributions which enhance the exhibition.
This review was first published on 27.09.22 by The Canberra Times online here and on page 10 of Panorama in their print paper on 1.10.22. It is also available on the Canberra Critics Circle blog here.