Stephanie Valentin - unseasonal

Exhibition: 12 October to 12 November, 2011

Stephanie Valentin

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Stephanie Valentin’s new series unseasonal, considers the unsettling of our relationship to weather and its influence, and how changes within the balance of natural systems and climate have permeated our perception and entered our experiences.

Many of the images have been created on location in and around the Murray River and its wetlands in eastern South Australia. The sites she has chosen often show evidence of an environment in transition. Through staging small interventions within these landscapes Valentin orchestrates an overlapping of fiction and reality; where the interior spaces of the domestic, personal, or imaginary blur into the exterior realm of land, weather and its elements.

While the images have a stillness about them, they also contain disquiet. In Still water 1, an overturned table and chair emerge from the backwaters, suggesting some sort of recent upheaval. And yet the glassy surface of the water creates a reflection, an uncanny (and almost reassuring) illusion of wholeness where furniture seemingly hovers ‘at home’ above the wetland setting. In Clear sky, a curtain lifting in a breeze, frames a dry floodplain scene, as if dissolving the distance between the intimate and the remote, between personal space and the external landscape. These subtle intrusions seem to suggest that weather, and its slower accumulations over time, is not only of the exterior but something that is both touching and touched by us.

Throughout her career Valentin has offered a potent enquiry into the ecological and cultural implications of scientific and human endeavour. She continues to be represented in both national and international exhibitions including Stormy Weather, National Gallery of Victoria (2011); Flora: Still Life Moving Fast, Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery (2008); Signs of Truth: Photography and Science, Altana Gallery, Germany (2006); and First Impressions: Contemporary Australian Photograms, National Gallery of Victoria (2003). Valentin is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House Collection Canberra and numerous private collections.