an exhibition featuring Paul Adair, Narelle Autio, Roger Ballen, Pat Brassington, James Bryans, Petrina Hicks, Megan Jenkinson, Mark Kimber, Anne Noble, Trent Parke, Bronwyn Rennex, Glenn Sloggett and Robyn Stacey
Stills Gallery offers up a visual feast of thirteen artists for the end of the season. Included are Paul Adair’s Decoy works, which combine precise formal composition with the crudeness of his home-made constructions of objects and animals. Narelle Autio and Trent Parke’s lyrical underwater photographs from The Seventh Wave were first exhibited at Stills Gallery in 2000 and continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of viewers. The work of these talented and award-winning photographers has the air of both document and dream.
Roger Ballen’s new body of work Boarding House was recently released by Phaidon Press. Ballen’s photographs are compelling and thought-provoking, with layers of detail and flashes of dark humour. Pat Brassington’s wonderful Fragments of/from Memory (1980-2002) features a grid of her unmistakable imagery, an archive of her fascinations with bodies, desires - a collection of the cultural subconscious.
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. Petrina Hicks gently subverts the pervasive language of commercial photography, creating edgy images that intrigue and disturb.
Megan Jenkinson's lenticular works challenge the viewer to accept uncertainty as an opportunity. Jenkinson's work considers how what we see and believe is not necessarily based upon the facts that we are presented with. For his Edgeland series Mark Kimber was compelled to find "situations where the play of light, form and landscape converge in time and space to create an elusive and ephemeral piece of theatre."
Anne Noble’s wonderful Ruby’s Room series features an archaeology of childhood centring on the mouth as a site of investigation. Her images are physical and visceral with their use of vivid colour and close-up. Bronwyn Rennex's Small Fires (2004) employs one of the oldest photographic techniques, the cyanotype, to give voice to contemporary concerns. She takes the literal shadow, captured in the cyanotype process, and turns it into a figurative shadow - a suggestion of the unconscious and unspoken.
Despite their apparent darkness, Glenn Sloggett's images describe hope and humour in the face of a bleak reality. In his dumped garbage, forlorn graveyards and empty fairgrounds we see the leftovers of our dreams. Robyn Stacey’s fascination with the possibilities of history to inform our present led to her current work with the vast archival repositories of museums. Spending years focusing on various signficant collections, Stacey's pictorially sumptuous photographic images present the eighteenth and nineteenth century specimens, artifacts, and scientific models to a contemporary audience, revealing their aesthetic, social and historical value.