Arthur Georgeson - Shadowlands
Exhibition: 23 May to 23 June, 2001
Arthur Georgeson's night vision of our colonial history centres around two archetypal sites of Australian sandstone gothic: Tasmania's Port Arthur and Sydney's Callan Park Asylum. His finely crafted and haunting images speak of our past in a suggestive and poetic way.
The eerie photographs of empty rooms with their peeling paint, doors ajar and shadows are indicative of Georgeson's underlying thematic concern to suggest how ruined buildings - rooms in particular - contain traces of a past cultural zeitgeist. What we encounter, time and again, in these nocturnal images of decay, incarceration and mystery is the notion of white settler Australia as a penal colony marked by violence.
The subtle chiaroscuro play of light and darkness that characterises Georgeson's photographs is a testament to the photographer's understanding of line, shape colour and texture. The interior scenes of Sydney's most famous asylum provide a graphic contrast to the ghostly stark shadows and light that cut across its exterior walls, gates, trees and tower.