01
Jul
09

Review: ‘Apocrypha’ photographs by Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla at Place Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 17th June – 11th July, 2009

.

Apocrypha (from the Greek word ἀπόκρυφα, meaning “those having been hidden away”) are texts of uncertain authenticity, or writings where the authorship is questioned.

Definition from Wikipedia.

.

Dav-Riz-apocrypha1-and-4

.

Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla
‘Apocrypha #1’ (left) and ‘Apocrypha #4′ (right)
2008

.

.

“Intuitively we know the definition of the output from this process lies hidden within each object, seemingly carved into the underside of their skin, although we cannot see it. But actually it is not carved, it is the three-dimensional tracing of the original. The original becomes a throw-away. It is obsolete. The point of origin lies no longer within an object but at the heart of the creative impulse.”

Vanessa Mooney

.

‘Apocrypha’ is an interesting, if slight, exhibition of eleven photographs by Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla at Place Gallery in Richmond. Conceptually the work is resolved if not pushed to any great depth, the small photographs of sarcophagi like casements and moulds addressing issues surrounding the absence/presence of the original object and the subsequent loss of identity. In their masking, the objects photographed hide an inner identity that has gone missing; the headless figures, like faceless mummies, protect something that has existed since early man – the inner spiritual machinations of belief – that are embedded within the existential nature of our being. Identity has been rubbed out and spirit is splitting apart the moulds trying to escape the confines of mortality, only held in check by the wooden pegs and ropes.

Like the sutures of the human skull, the marks on the casements (see below right image) try to align form across space and time but these objects are grounded in a contextless backgrounds, seemingly floating free of earthly constraints. Here we have a double tracing – that of the tracing of the original object that has been thrown away (see Vanessa Mooney quotation above) and the tracing of the indexicality of the object by the photograph – the re-presentation of an original that no longer exists. There is a double loss through this re-retracing that fits perfectly with the title ‘Apocrypha’ – as the photographs become texts of uncertain authenticity.

Where the exhibition is less successful is in the physical presence of the photographs and their aesthetic qualities. While Vanessa Mooney asserts that the photographs are “meticulous in their detail and exact in their depth and texture” this assertion is untrue. From a technical point of view the photographs are soft in focus and lack depth of field. The ropes are fuzzy and the lack of depth of field in the focus plane from front to back adds to a lack of presence that the photographs needed to counterbalance the conceptual idea of apocrypha. I am also unsure about the scale of the photographs – there seems something in-between about the size of the images, neither here nor there. Aesthetically they needed either more presence (through being bigger), or more intensity through a jewel like nature in being smaller, again to counterbalance the conceptual themes. Finally, being surrounded by these eleven photographs in the gallery gives you the feeling of a ‘one shot’ idea that needed further investigation and refinement, an idea that needed to be pushed further. While the actual ideas themselves are interesting the work itself is too simple, too slight to hold the attention and reveal layers of meaning over time.

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.

Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla. 'Apocrypha #5' (left) and 'Apocrypha #7' (right) 2008

.

Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla
‘Apocrypha #5’ (left) and ‘Apocrypha #7′ (right)
2008

.

.

The Father, The Son And Apocrypha

We all have faith that we must lodge somewhere: you; the microscope, me; the earth, and the artist? There are two stories present. The first is Apocrypha, a series of works by Davies and Rizkalla and the second is something you cannot see but will soon know.

Davies and Rizkalla present to us Apocrypha; a series of photographs that are meticulous in their detail and exact in their depth and texture. It is an evocative title and encapsulates the resonance of the objects. What we can see is clear – plaster moulds used by someone, somewhere for casting objects. The clarity of the details of rope, wedges of wood and the depth of the seam tell us of the real working nature of them. The inversion here from background process to foreground subject matter is not for irony’s sake but to evoke the simultaneous banality and sacredness of the transformative creative process. It is documented honestly before the viewer, and yet, the mystery remains. Intuitively we know the definition of the output from this process lies hidden within each object, seemingly carved into the underside of their skin, although we cannot see it. But actually it is not carved, it is the three-dimensional tracing of the original. The original becomes a throw-away. It is obsolete. The point of origin lies no longer within an object but at the heart of the creative impulse.

Tony Scalzo, my father-in-law, was drawn to this process. While the creation of a religious icon amused his communist leanings the irresistible pull of the transformation from dust and water to artefact must have, I feel, fulfilled a greater need to live through making. Countless times he would present to us his recent army of saints or holy persons (Padre Pio was a boom time) to be sold through his community, and would scoff and laugh at how he could make an object that to others was an icon. He would point to the shed, the latex, the plaster dust as if to dispel the mystery, and yet the mystery remained.

Perhaps the final mystery is the process, the collaboration that has come about since Tony passed away and his son Stefano came into possession of the simple and unusual collection. Stefano like his father is drawn to the creative process. So innately aware of the artist, his father, he approached Julie and Alex with these as gifts that are, in a way, not his to give. As a custodian might he passed on the objects and communicated his intuitive knowledge of their meaning. One plus one equals three. The result, Apocrypha, is like a window that was obscured and now has been opened. We can see with clarity what was unseen, but known, before. Apocrypha silently demonstrates the entwining of faith and mystery in the creative life of all.”

Vanessa Mooney

Text from the Place Gallery website

.

Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla. 'Apocrypha #8' (left) and 'Apocrypha #9' (right) 2008

.

Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla
‘Apocrypha #8’ (left) and ‘Apocrypha #9′ (right)
2008

.

.

Place Gallery
20, Tennyson Street, Richmond

Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11.00 – 5.00pm.

Place Gallery website

Bookmark and Share


0 Responses to “Review: ‘Apocrypha’ photographs by Julie Davis and Alex Rizkalla at Place Gallery, Richmond”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

Join 2,192 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

July 2009
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Archives

Categories


%d bloggers like this: