James Bryans - Figments
Exhibition: 9 April to 10 May, 2008
James Bryans' small-scale black and white prints evoke a sense of pathos in their quiet, contained compositions. Bryans calls Figments a collection of travel photographs, yet the word figment points to the imagination that pervades the works. These are not merely documents of scenic spots. Bryans employs the documentary charge of black and white photography but turns it on its head, with images that capture his wry and poetic take on the world around him.
In Untitled 13 for example, a small human figure hangs forlornly from a hook, suspended above the grand vista of a city's coastline. It is a curious conjunction. The pose of the figure somehow gets to the heart what fragile and curious creatures we humans are. The perfect doll-like angles of the feet and hands suggest stoicism in the face of dilemma.
In a world saturated with colour and scale, Bryans' maverick use of compact black and white images offers a reprieve and place for reflection. Patterns of people, spaces and light are explored and within each work he also shows us small glimpses of humanity. Working with both analogue and digital techniques to create the desired effect, Bryans concentrates on the suggestion of gestures and shapes rather than focussing on fine details. There is a sense of familiarity in these visions that allows us to fill in our own details. Perhaps that is why the works seem like nostalgic views of the present.
James Bryans is an emerging artist based in Melbourne.