George Schwarz - Carpe Diem

Exhibition: 18 August to 25 September, 2010

George Schwarz

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George Schwarz’ previous exhibitions at Stills Gallery are Vita Brevis Est, 2008, Highlights of the Road, 2004, Recuerdos, 2002, Relics, 1994 and Items, 1992. Schwarz has been exhibiting since 1957. His work is widely collected and published, and he is a respected teacher.

George Schwarz has exhibited regularly at Stills Gallery since 1992. Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) continues his distinctive style of poetic and surreal images that trigger poignant memories through the association of place, mood, landscape and objects. The images are dreamy, haunting, a little melancholic, and yet they work on the psyche leaving a lasting residue.

The scalpel cuts of his previously tightly composed collages have given way to selections, alpha channels and layer masks in these new digitally created works. The images making up each artwork are entirely created by the artist over many years in some recognisable Sydney landscapes. The end result is dreamscapes which are a unique testament to the power of the individual imagination.

The title Carpe Diem invites the viewer to savour and celebrate life’s experiences. In Schwarz’s words, “To seize the day is to be aware of one’s passage through time and to accept the personal significance of each passing moment. It is to pause on the brink of revelation and savour each second as it lingers like the sweet aftertaste of a ravishing dream. These pictures represent such moments. As in a dream, even if the origin is obscure, the geographical landscape and symbols are hauntingly familiar.”

The images in Carpe Diem remind us that photography is about much more than the ‘real’ world. It can represent the combined ability of memory and the imagination to conjure and retain moments of powerful residue. Drawn from a moment in time, an event or an emotion, Schwarz’ images bear a lot in common with the artforms of poetry and music.