Pat Brassington - The Best Move

Exhibition: 14 May to 14 June, 2008

Pat Brassington

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Pat Brassington is well known as one of Australia's leading photo-media artists. Over the past twenty years she has exhibited widely both in Australia and overseas. Her inclusion in the Biennale of Sydney 2004 and a major survey of her work at the Ian Potter Gallery, University of Melbourne in 2003 attest to her standing in Australian contemporary art. In this exhibition we will present some of her most recent creations alongside a selection of early works.

It is interesting to follow the trajectory of Brassington's work from the 1980s to the present. Throughout her art practice she has appropriated images as well as mined her own archive. Using a familiar range of everyday items she conjures up a plethora of feelings; desire, disgust, madness and abandon to name a few. The settings in which we find her subjects are, for the most part, domestic. Brassington refreshingly refrains from using the trusty backdrop of the Australian landscape.

Her earlier works seem clearly influenced by the language of cinema, in their analogue forms and in the frisson created by a collision of images in series form. Torsion 1992, for example, (included in this exhibition) comprises six gelatin silver photographs showing a group of tormented and twisted bodies. The focus on fabric and feet in Torsion recurs throughout Brassington's work.

From the late 1990s she has employed more digital techniques, morphing her original elements into individual and enigmatic images. There has been a shifting colour palette over the years too, from early black and white photographs through a subversive range of pinks (think tongues and flesh and fabric to a muted sepia range in series such as Cambridge Road 2007 and recent works like The Best Move 2008 shown here).

The ambiguous and uncanny bodies depicted in Brassington's images are usually in motion or transition rather than obediently presenting themselves to be photographed. In Sweet Inspirations, 2008 for instance, two young girls confound the viewer (and the traditional role of subject) by looking towards the ground so that all we see are two long manes of hair atop bodies.