My new exhibition is a group show on the outer limits of photographic practice. Each artist explores some non-traditional zone of the medium: non-capture, non-representation and other arcane fields. It opens at Tacit Contemporary Art on June 8.
My works are abstract images from my Chemistry of Chance series. During decades of cleaning up darkrooms I’ve recovered many discarded prints from the rubbish bins. Students see a print going wrong in the developer and throw it in the bin without washing it. The print sits there with the developer, silver and oxygen making chemical reactions in the dark.
By the end of the day they’ve dried out and the chemical stains are preserved and light-stable. After scanning and Photoshopping to a small degree, I’ve printed them as much larger pigment prints. They fit into my interest in entropy and automatic processes found in the border regions of photography. I see them as Concrete photography, the Swiss and German abstract movement.
It not a sign of something, but is itself something. It is not what is represented but what is present. It engenders objects of itself and thus fulfills the central criterion of every concrete art: self-reference. – Gottfried Jaeger.
My students and their friends gathered last night at the opening of our Joiners exhibition. The work was made for a David Hockney-style photomontage assignment, to shoot a subject in fifty or more shots and assemble it directly on the wall.
Making a Joiner is a tricky operation. The capture process can be confusing, how do you record a subject in dozens of details? Then the assembly of the prints is challenging because the images don’t align. Joiners run contrary to the normal instincts of a photographer, to create a single perfect rectangular image. A Joiner can take almost any form and often take on a different shape when they are assembled a second time.
The project is part of the Photoimaging course at Melbourne Polytechnic, in a subject I share with Natalie Morawski. The exhibition is on for two more weeks at the St John Street Gallery in Prahran, building B, (Melbourne Polytechnic) open Monday to Friday 12-5pm.
My students are having an exhibition of their Joiners projects, the photomontage technique developed by David Hockney in the 1980s. It’s a project I devised, along with Natalie Morawski, for the Photoimaging students at Melbourne Polytechnic.
It’s an informal exhibition made of class work rather than finished Diploma pieces, and is practice for the students in the process of exhibiting. It’s in our shiny new St John Street gallery at the Prahran campus
To make a Joiner you record your subject through close-up details in as many shots as you can manage. After printing them you try to re-assemble the subject by joining and overlapping the prints. Because each photo has its own viewpoint and perspective they don’t align perfectly so it’s like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t fit.
It challenges the natural instinct to make perfect, single, rectangular photographs – some of the Joiners on show contain 150 single shots and roam over the wall in a jagged patchwork.
The exhibition runs 12-5pm from Monday May 16 to Friday 20. The “opening” is on Thursday 19, 7 to 9pm. The gallery is in St John Street Prahran, ground floor building B, a hundred metres from Chapel St.