Bill Lane, Big Ben’s Boxing, 2016
In his new exhibition at 69 Smith Street, Bill Lane makes a direct connection with a classic work from the 1970s.
“The Older Industrial Parks near Newport, Victoria” is Bill’s response to a landmark exhibition of 1974 by the photographer Lewis Baltz. It was called “The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California” and was part of the movement called New Topographics.
Photographers of the “man-altered landscape” made images that were …stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion.
Bill Lane continues this research with some differences in style. He works in colour, on oblique angles, and at a more detached distance than Baltz. His photographs were often taken in the evening or at the magic hour, that luminous period where the sunlight mellows and the streetlights come on. His photographs take full advantage of the subtle hues and metallic lustre in the artificial streets; the prints glow almost with inner light.
But his approach shows a wariness of falling into Pictorialism, the sin of prettiness, and he proves his topographic purpose by including on the website for the project, a map with an arrow pointing to the exact location of each photograph.
The exhibition runs until Sunday September 4 at 69 Smith Street gallery in Fitzroy.