Posts Tagged ‘South Melbourne

27
Aug
13

Exhibition: ‘Density’ by Andrew Follows, curated by Dr Marcus Bunyan, at Anita Traverso Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 27th August – 21st September 2013

.

A wonderful exhibition by vision impaired photographer Andrew Follows at Anita Traverso Gallery, Richmond. It has been a real pleasure to mentor Andrew over the past year and to see the fruits of our labour is incredibly satisfying. The images are strong, elemental, atmospheric, immersive. Due to the nature of Andrew’s tunnel vision there are hardly any traditional vanishing points within the images, instead the ‘plane of existence’ envelops you and draws you in.

Well done to everyone involved with the project. I would particularly like to thank Fiona Cook from Arts Access Victoria for keeping the project on track; the amazing Darren from CPL Digital for his most excellent efforts to print the almost impossible print; Jondi Keane from Deakin University for opening the exhibition; Anna Briers for writing a wonderful catalogue essay; and Anita Traverso for believing in me and giving Andrew an exhibition when many wouldn’t. Many thankx and respect to all.

Now onto the next project!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
The photographs below appear in the order they are in the exhibition. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Density n.

The degree of optical opacity of a medium or material, as of a photographic negative;

Thickness of consistency;

Complexity of structure or content.

.

.

Andrew Follows. 'Elevation, Doreen' 213

.

Andrew Follows
Elevation, Doreen
213
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Number 31, Eltham' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Number 31, Eltham
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Green, Montsalvat' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Green, Montsalvat
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Shadowlife' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Shadowlife
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Garland, South Melbourne' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Garland, South Melbourne
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
40 cm x 27 cm

.

dark-trees-WEB

.

Andrew Follows
Indigo, Edenvale
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

.

The Mind’s Eye: Density in the Work of Andrew Follows

Anna Briers

.

Seeing has never been about the simple act of looking. It can be defined by the parameters of our past experience and cognitive stock, factors which enable, inhibit and shape our perceptive abilities. Ultimately, our ways of seeing are affected by our learnt cultural assumptions about the universe.1

Cultural theorist James Elkins has said, ‘blindness is not the opposite of vision, but it’s constant companion, and even the foundation of seeing itself.’2 In his seminal text The Object Stares Back, Elkins illustrates that we are blind to the limits of our own vision and that this unknowingness about our visual fallibilities is crucial to ordinary seeing. This blindness relates to a hierarchy of vision, defined not only by our psychological limitations but our physiological ones as well – the selection process that we employ to filter the vast proliferating output of information that we are inundated with on a daily basis. Without which, we would probably experience a kind of cerebral meltdown.

If vision is dependent on a certain amount of blindness, then by extension the notion that a photographic image can accurately document the truth is a misconception. The camera is not simply a black box that can correctly capture a quotation of reality, a machine of ‘logic and light’,3 for the act of taking a photograph is reliant on the careful selection and framing of a particular object or subject. The result of this point of view is the depiction of a subjective reality at the exclusion of everything else which is made invisible: eliminated by the perimeters of the frame.

In this context, it is interesting to consider the work of legally blind photographer Andrew Follows. Follows has a degenerative condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) that has rendered one eye completely blind with ever diminishing tunnel vision in the other. Follows can perceive three meters ahead, albeit through an obscuring haze. The clarity of his vision is dependent on lighting and various environmental factors; objects are often more perceptible at night. Whilst form and structure are apparent, he cannot see the intricate tonal details of a stained glass window. He cannot know that the colour of your scarf is royal blue. All this changes however, when Follows observes light flooding through the lens of a camera.

Through the small rectangular viewing panel on the reverse of a digital camera, Follows’ world is revealed. He is able to discern architectural detail and the vibrancy of nature; he is able to know that his favourite shade in the vast tonal spectrum is royal blue. In a realisation of Marshall McLuhan’s notion of the camera as a prosthetic extension,4 Follows’ camera extends his sight, and through it he is able to capture his unique vision, for a moment or for a millennia, a physical expression of the imaginings of his mind’s eye.

Curated by Dr Marcus Bunyan, the concept of Density was envisaged as a point of departure to explore the manifold variations and subsequent ruminations on the term as it relates to Follows’ perspective. As a technical descriptive, density explains the degree of optical opacity within a photographic negative. Portions of film that have been exposed to greater amounts of light yield a greater deposit of reduced silver. This is referred to as having a higher density than areas of shadow.5

Density also denotes a thickness of consistency and many of Follows’ works exhibit a complexity of compositional structure and content that elucidates the nature of Follows’ perception. ‘Even in the physicality of my vision, these photographs have a certain feeling that reflects my relationship to the world and how I visualise it.’6 A thematic constant that binds this series together is the shallow depth of field that is combined with a sense of the frame or the foreground being the view. Follows’ images, and therefore our view into his world is a restricted one. As the viewer we must frequently gaze through a kind of haze or obstruction in order to participate.

A pivotal example of this is Elevation, Doreen, 2013, where the composition is segmented by the skeletal structure of the wooden and steel supports of a building. Intersecting diagonals and verticals delineate and contain space across the picture plane, framing the mid-ground and background within its architecture. It is not the vista that is of interest to Follows.

This image cannot escape the requisite art historic parallels with movements such as the Russian Constructivists or De Stijl with its ‘Mondrian-esque’ all over composition. However the image speaks of interiority, its emphasis is on the foreground and by drawing our attention to the mechanics of how the view is framed we are made conscious of the act of seeing. There is a layering or doubling that occurs here: Follows makes us aware of the limitations of our own vision, through the act of looking – by revealing his unique vision, as a result of partial blindness.

Similarly, Void, Eltham, 2013, leaves us grasping for some semblance of illumination and visual clarity within a desolate and dimly lit car park. While our eye is guided across the picture plane by white lines and columns that recede into space, our view is ultimately obstructed by a concrete barrier covered in territorial markings and thus, we are reminded of the limitations of our own vision as we are left to gaze into the dense abyss.

A thematic constant in Follows’ images such as No. 31 Eltham, 2013, is that they resist a singular point of perspective as evidenced by early Renaissance painters where everything was centred on the eye of the beholder; the visible world arranged for the spectator as the universe was once thought to be arranged for God.7 By contrast, many photos evidence a planar sense of spatiality. Often lacking in a noticeable vanishing point, his images have an immersive potential and we are drawn into the various densities within Follows’ shallow depth of field. This is exemplified by the rich textures of Scarp face, Beechworth, 2013, and the lush grassland depicted in Green, Montsalvat, 2013.

Many of the photographs in Density instill a quiet contemplative mood that is partially evoked by a muted tonal palette. Yet within this visionary series the viewer can also bear witness to the reoccurrence of otherworldly imagery, as well as transient and transformational spaces. This sense is further enhanced by the fact that Follows’ photographs are often shot at times when the light is fleeting, on the interstice of night and day. This is exemplified by Green on Blue, 2013, where Follows captures a train in motion, conveying a temporality and flux that eloquently describes a state of transience: of being between spaces, neither here nor there.

With Judges Chair, Beechworth, 2013, Follows conveys the courtroom where infamous Australian Bushranger Ned Kelly was committed to stand trial for murder, prior to his eventual hanging in 1880. The image pervades an institutional formality that is intensified by a classically balanced composition, combined with ominous historical undertones. Yet the space depicted is interrupted by the glimmer of an ethereal light that bolts across the far wall, puncturing the image. Alternative possibilities become illuminated and a sense of otherworldliness becomes palpable.

Hillock No’s 1-3, Windsor, conveys the everyday subject matter of a BMX bike park. Photographed at night utilising the urban ambience of streetlights, the mounds of earth are lit by unearthly glow. Under the gaze of Andrew Follows, the site is infused with an eerie quality. No longer a metropolitan playground, it resembles the desertous territories of an alien landscape, perhaps on some other planetary body or far distant moon.

As Elkins said, blindness is not the opposite of sight, but it’s constant companion. It is therefore, not sight that is required to take a great photograph – it is vision. By using the camera as a prosthetic extension through which he is able to perceive and frame the universe, Follows’ photographs expound the limitations and fallibilities of our own ways of seeing. Moreover, he is able to reveal to us the uniqueness of his subjective view – forged from the rich imaginings of his mind’s eye.

Anna Briers independent writer and curator, Melbourne 2013

.

Endnotes

1. Berger, John. Ways of seeing: based on the BBC television series. London: British Broadcasting Corporation; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972, p. 11.

2. Elkins, James. The object stares back: on the nature of seeing. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

3. Elkins, James. What photography is. New York: Routledge, 2011

4. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding media: the extensions of man. London: Routledge, 2001. p. 210.

5. Adams, Ansel. The negative: exposure and development. Hastings-on-Hudson, N. Y.: Morgan & Morgan, 1968.

6. Quote drawn from artist’s statement.

7. Berger, Op. cit., p. 16.

.

.

Andrew Follows. 'Green on blue' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Green on blue
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
157.3 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Scarp face, Beechworth' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Scarp face, Beechworth
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
30 cm x 30 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Judge's Chair, Beechworth' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Judge’s Chair, Beechworth
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
90 cm x 60 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Void, Eltham' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Void, Eltham
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
90 cm x 60 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Hillock No.1, Windsor' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Hillock No.1, Windsor
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Hillock No.2, Windsor' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Hillock No.2, Windsor
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Hillock No.3, Windsor' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Hillock No.3, Windsor
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

.

Andrew Follows. 'Torso, Eltham' 2013

.

Andrew Follows
Torso, Eltham
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
14 cm x 20 cm

.

.

Density Logos

.

Anita Traverso Gallery
7, Albert Street
Richmond, Vic 3121

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11 – 5

Anita Traverso Gallery website

Andrew Follow website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

07
Jun
13

Exhibition: ‘Sentinels’ by David Wood at Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park

Exhibition dates: 29th May – 16th June 2013

.

A solid first solo exhibition from my friend David Wood at Gasworks Arts Park. Conceptually the show needed a little tightening but technically the work is outstanding (as you would expect from the owner of Bent Metal and one of Melbourne’s best blacksmiths) and aesthetically pleasing. I particularly liked the topographic remapping of both Port Phillip Bay and St Kilda Junction. Anyone who knows Melbourne intimately would recognise the ramps and walkways that bisect the interior of the junction even in their abstract form, especially the tram ramp ascending from Dandenong Road to St Kilda Road. I also admired the Nardoo sentinels, which are to be made at full size for a public park in Berwick later in the year.

.
Many thankx to Woody for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

David Wood. 'Ghost Gum Three' 2013

.

David Wood
Ghost Gum Three
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
76 x 310 x 44 cm

.

David Wood. 'Ghost Gum One' 2013

.

David Wood
Ghost Gum One
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
72 x 170 x 39 cm

.

David Wood. 'Ghost Gum Two' 2013

.

David Wood
Ghost Gum Two
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
78 x 24 x 36 cm

.

DSCN2621-WEB

.

Installation view of the exhibition Sentinels by David Wood at Gasworks Art Park

.

.

“My work has two main driving forces – a desire to explore and continue a blacksmithing inheritance and investigating place and how we interact with the physical world. I am interested in how landmarks within landscape can shape, reflect and define our Nation’s ethos and their place as sentinels within our history.

I use traditional forging techniques and prefer to leave hammer marks and traces of process exposed, as testament, on the finished sculpture. The medium itself represents an industry crucial to our economy but detrimental to our landscape.

This current group of work, inspired by the burning of two ghost gums in the Northern Territory is a personal muse on Australian culture. The burning of the ghost gums made famous by Albert Namatjira was a terrible act of vandalism. Small silvery ghostly gum trees stand upon burnt timber bases intended to evoke images of landscape and cultural practice, both ancient and current. Forged vessels take inspiration from the ghost gums’ colour and form.

The pieces are abstract representations in metals and timber of trees, mountain ranges and land formations. Mountain ranges are used to survey our cities and towns. They collect our water and are harvested for their riches. Once they were homes to spiritual beings.

I was born at the base of mount Baw Baw and have created homage. This mountain for me is a keeper of secrets. As an adult I live upon the shores of Port Phillip Bay, a quiet sleeping giant. St Kilda junction is a lyrical gesture to paths crossing and the corroboree tree that still watches over this site.

Bought together, the sculptures encapsulate a personal sense of belonging to a place. They also endeavour to explore greater cultural notions of ownership.”

Artist statement by David Wood

.

David Wood. 'Port Phillip Bay' 2013

.

David Wood
Port Phillip Bay
2013
Copper
33 x 33 x 70 cm

.

David Wood. 'St Kilda Junction' 2013

.

David Wood
St Kilda Junction
2013
Stainless steel, mild steel and copper
27 x 40 x 32 cm

.

st-kilda-junction-detail-WEB

.

David Wood
St Kilda Junction (detail)
2013

.

DSCN2624-WEB

.

David Wood. 'Nardoo sentinels' (detail) 2013

.

David Wood
Nardoo sentinels (detail)
2013
Mild steel

.

Nardoo sentinels

Inspired by classical structures within great gardens, in particular the Temple of the Winds in the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens, this functional sculpture reflects the transparency of our native landscape, significant in shaping our cultural ethos. Mirroring a cluster of trees with their canopy hovering above, it defines its space and surrounds. This group of sentinels stand together to offer protection from the elements.

The singular motif takes the form of nardoo, a native water and food plant. Its finishes mimicking its natural colours and hues. Intended to be a water collector, the shelter is engineered to allow rainwater to drain through its canopy and channel down its stems. Visibility of water flow adds a kinetic dimension to the sculpture. Commissioned exclusively by Pask Development Group, via Tract Landscape Architects, this rotunda is a central feature for a public park. It will stand proud later this year.

.

David Wood. 'Nardoo sentinels' (left) and 'Reed Rotunda' (right) 2013

.

David Wood
Nardoo sentinels (left) and Reed Rotunda (right)
2013
Mild steel

.

David Wood. 'Reed rotunda' 2013

.

David Wood
Reed rotunda
2013
Mild steel
70 x 70 x 46 cm

.

Reed rotunda

The design derives a motif from the natural growth of the Phragmite Australis reeds, a wetland plant indigenous to our continent home.

The common reed is known to everyone and surrounds us. It plays an integral role in conservation as habitat and a guardian for wildlife. A natural purifier, removing toxins from our creeks and wetlands. A reed standing alone may be insignificant, but when congregating on mass, it becomes a formidable force in both structure and function. An organic organism that frames and protects the landscape, moves and changes colour with the seasons, rides the wind and plays with light and shade.

Often overlooked as a feature of landscape or viewed as slightly raggedy, this piece invites visitors to celebrate these reeds as something beautiful and to use them as a metaphor for community, refuge and purification of the spirit and soul.

.

David Wood. 'Baw Baw wall feature' (detail) 2013

.

David Wood. 'Baw Baw wall feature' (detail) 2013

.

David Wood
Baw Baw wall feature (detail)
2013
Mild steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium and glass
6200 x 500 x 70 cm

.

.

Gasworks Arts Park
21 Graham Street
Albert Park VIC 3206
T: (03) 8606 4200

Gallery Hours: 9am – 4pm each day

Gasworks Arts Park website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top




Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

Join 2,523 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Recent Posts

Lastest tweets

August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Archives

Categories