Exhibition: 7 May to 7 June, 2014
When documentary photographer Lisa Garland returned to her hometown in the North West coast of Tasmania after some time away, she saw her community in a new light. Rather than noticing the prevailing pastimes of sport, farming and fishing that seemed to define the locals’ lives, her vision was drawn away to the quieter characters, whose remote homes and hidden passions set them apart, physically and socially.
These individuals became the subjects for Garland’s portraiture. She found that, as if in place of a busy social calendar, their homes were visually busy—dense and overflowing with objects, but moreover with personality. Garland’s fascination with these closed-off sanctums reveals spaces where the intangibles of personality and the materiality of possessions, seem to blur and intertwine.
Garland’s intimate and honest photographs capture the detail and extent of the inhabitants’ obsessive passions — how the repetitions of their insular existences take form in a collage of overlapping, clashing textures, textiles and patterns. The large-scale black and white photographs invite the viewer to enter into the rooms, the images irregular soft focus further evoke their inhabitants’ dreamy worlds on the fringes of social ‘normality’.
Despite their diversity, what unites the individuals depicted is the way they manipulate their personal spaces. Their hobbies and beliefs, whether butterfly collecting, Catholicism or a love of gardening seem to consume them, not just their time and thoughts but their physical existence. The way a comfy armchair moulds to the curves of its dedicated sitter, here their rooms shape around their personalities, extending from their characters and naturally evolving outwards until they’re are almost lost within it, camouflaged in their habitat.
Lisa Garland lives and works on the North West coast of Tasmania. She is a photographer who specializes in large scale, silver gelatin portraits. For fifteen years Garland has documented the lives and homes of interesting and often eccentric locals through large format portrait photography. Moody and sympathetic to detail, Garland’s evocative black and white images are a far cry from the average studio portrait.
Garland completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart in 1992 followed by a diploma of Education. She has been shortlisted for a number of awards including the National Photographic Portrait Prize, the Hobart City Art Prize and Tidal; the City of Devonport Art Award. Garland won the Moorilla Prize in 2007. Garland’s work is held in private and public collections, including the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Tasmania, the Burnie Regional Art Gallery and Museum of Old and New Art.