From the darkness…
11th February 2017 – 16th April 2017
Bill Henson, Murray Fredericks, Ann Ferran, Eliza Hutchison, Steven Lojewski, Farrell & Parkin, Olive Cotton, Michael Cook, David Rosetzky, Jo Scicluna, Justine Varga, Darren Sylvester, Daniel von Sturmer, Zoë Croggon and Petrina Hicks
The audience has assembled, the house lights have dimmed, silence has crept over the theatre, the house curtains open, and a single light illuminates the stage…
Taking our new context as an inspiration From the darkness… will see ten iconic works from the Horsham Regional Art Gallery Photography Collection investigate; light, performance, and architectural space. As dialogues are started and relationships between individual works reformed we will see again in a new light the work of Bill Henson, Murray Fredericks, Anne Ferran, Ruth Hutchinson, Olive Cotton, Steven Lojewski and Farrell & Parkin. Photographic practice will be extended to include sculptural form and video projection to pierce the darkness and allow us to see old favourites anew.
From the Darkness, a single illuminates the stage. The psychological effect of this space, a universal experience often filled with trepidation and desire, ignites our imagination. The space is transformed by the continual presence of light and it its edges a half light, shadows, darkness. During the Renaissance, painters mastered the art of darkness and light through the chiaroscuro style of lighting their subjects. Look at any painting by Rembrandt or Caravaggio to see the solidity of form and texture revealed in the way light falls against it. This is light that literally and symbolically obscures as much as it illuminates.
The drama of light and darkness has had major influences on film and photographic practice. In the text, The Language of Light and Dark, Melisa Miles considers the power of differing states of light, be it artificial stage light, candlelight, twilight or bright sunlight, to articulate desires and anxieties that inform our experience. The visible atmosphere becomes an imperative element in creating this sense of agency. Like a theatre set in which a story is about to unfold, what is obscured by light or pervading darkness is rich in metaphorical possibilities. It can invoke memory, yearning, pathos, and open up questions of cultural meaning. Recorded light resonates with accumulated performative gestures and compresses the narrative into a single photographic frame or series of frames. This recorded light becomes our photographs.
Photography has always held a complex relationship with light and presence. It is a tension that transcends space, reality, illusion and allegory, a tension which resonated with artists of mid 20thC and continues to resonate in contemporary photographic state.
Drawing on the works of seven key artists in our Collection, this exhibition explores the drama of light in Australian photography practice. As we shed light on these works, new relationships are formed; as our Collection works meet those by their peers, mentors and the artists that came after them; in the half light of the gallery.
IMAGE: Murray FREDERICKS, Salt 272, 2011, pigment print on cotton rag, 120 x 150cm, purchased through the Horsham Art Gallery Trust Fund with assitance from the Robert Salzer Foundation 2015. Image courtesy of the artist and ARC ONE Gallery.