The light draws along…
20 April 2024 - 23 June 2024
Artist(s): Aaron Chirstopher Rees, Alex Walker & Daniel O'Toole, Cassie Sullivan, Danica Chappell, Justine Varga, Kirsten Lyttle, Pierra Van Sparkes, and Talia Smith
Location: Main Gallery
This exhibition offers fresh perspectives of photography from contemporary practices. Encompassing still and moving image, installation and sculpture, photography is presented beyond its formal traditions as encrypted images purposefully eluding easy categorisation. The artworks cross genres, resisting a narrow view of how photography is usually perceived.
Extrapolating photography for its potential to manipulate light, anti-lens dogmas, spatial parameters, movement, processes, and phenomenological experiences, the artists utilise camera(less) techniques to blur passive spectatorship into buoyant new forms of engagement. At times, the lens is turned back onto the audience as a form of mirror, both physical and psychological, returning the gaze to reflect on upon past and present.
Aaron Christopher Rees is an artist working in the realm of photography and the moving image. Through process-based photographic and structuralist video techniques of making, his practice explores our embodied experiences of being in the world – and how visual technologies like cameras can shape and alter that experience.
Aaron completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, in 2015. He has exhibited internationally and interstate, with recent notable exhibitions including Firmament at NAP Contemporary, States of Disruption at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Horizon at Caves Gallery, and not for the sake of something more at Sarah Scout Presents. Aaron has also exhibited as a part of PHOTO 2021, Spring 1883, and the Channels and Next Wave contemporary art festivals. In 2021 he was the recipient of the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize.
Alex Walker is a trained darkroom photographer based in Naarm/Melbourne interested in expanded photographic theory, analogue processes and spatial perception.
Expanding on the literal meaning of photography as ‘drawing with light’, Alex explores the moment of image capture and extends photography to its limits by reducing it to its core elements: light, space and perception.
As well as traditional photographic methods, Alex employs projection and installation to expand the photograph beyond its two-dimensional form into a physical and phenomenological, bodily encounter.
Alex has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. Selected exhibitions include: Anti-lens (with Daniel O’Toole) at Blindside, Denying Eye, MARS Gallery’s Art at the Bank, 2023; a-field, Heide MoMA, The Image Unfolds Again, Collingwood Yards, The Image Unfolds, Seventh Gallery, 2021.
Alex was a finalist in the Mullins Conceptual Photography Prize 2023 and Exposure Photography Prize 2017; and has completed residencies at Studio 26, Testing Grounds and Centre for Projection Art.
Cassie Sullivan is a lutruwita/trouwerner First Nations artist based on Melukerdee Country in lutruwita/Tasmania.
She has a responsive, intimate, and experimental practice that crosses disciplines of moving image, photography, writing, sound, installation, and printmaking. Cassie works with a deeply considered process driven practice that prioritises a multisensory engagement with Country. She explores themes of intergenerational experience and trauma that reside in bodily memory and investigates the ways in which knowledge from her indigenous lineage has been both carried and lost within her identity and physicality. Within her creative and cultural practice, Sullivan uses writing to process and understand the way life moves around her; working to constantly question what can be imbued through materiality to give voice to complex identities.
Daniel O'Toole, born in Sydney, Australia in 1984, is a Melbourne-based artist known for his multimedia works, including sculptural colour-field paintings, video art, and sound installations.
Daniel grew up in an artistic household where everyone played multiple instruments and painting and music were encouraged. Having studied classical violin, and shown an aptitude for drawing from a young age, Daniel was obsessively focused on making both art and music from an early age.
Daniel has studied at National Art School; completed a Diploma at SAE (School of Audio Engineering); and has held roles as the gallery director at 'Oh Really gallery' (Newtown/Syd), Soldiers Rd Gallery (Surry Hills/Syd), and Alpha House Gallery (Newtown/Syd).
Integrating experimental electronic music/soundscapes into his exhibitions and video works, he designs environments for sensory engagement. He has curated community-driven electronic music compilations/events, and participated in artist residencies in Germany and France. His video work was shown at the Lyon Biennale and recent notable commissions include a custom video piece for Sydney Fashion Week and paintings for the Louis Vuitton store in Sydney International Airport.
Daniel has staged numerous solo exhibitions and been featured in curated group shows both in Australia and internationally. In 2023, O'Toole achieved a significant milestone with his first institutional exhibition at Benalla Art Gallery. The immersive and interactive sound installation Voices from the void attracted over 3000 unique visitors, showcasing his ability to engage audiences on a larger scale.
Danica Chappell is an artist working on the traditional lands of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri in Naarm (Melbourne). From a darkroom practice, Danica interrogates abstraction and the photograph by inviting a material agitation of combinational objects and time. Drawing inspiration from slow looking and thoughtful exchange between matter, Danica works with her body and the interplay of light and light-sensitivity substrates. Photographs and installations are anchored in geometric potentialities, separating external realities from their physical being. Welcoming the attention from the viewer to engage with what is made through the sensation of touch and from a durational record.
Recently commissioned solo exhibitions include, Thickness of Time at Heide III MoMA Project Gallery, Melbourne (2018-19) and Far From The Eye at Latrobe Art Institute, Bendigo in conjunction with PHOTO2021. Recent group and solo exhibitions include New Matter: Recent Forms of Photography, AGNSW Sydney (2016) and Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph, Govett-Brewster, New Plymouth NZ (2016), Haus Werk, McClelland Gallery, Langwarrin (2019), That’s Our Shadow on the Moon CAVES ARI (2015) & Nudge Into Form, Walker Street Gallery, Dandenong. Danica was the recipient of an Australian Council Arts Projects Grant (2017) and has been a shortlisted artist in the Bowness Photography Prize, MGA, Melbourne and MAMA National Photography Prize, Albury. Danica has undertaken residencies at Stichting BAD, (Rotterdam), Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (Edinburgh), Bauhaus University Summer School (Weimar), as well as research in the archives of the Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin), Folkswang Museum (Essen), Musée des artes et metiers & Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris).
Justine Varga is known for her luminous photographs, some made with a camera and some without (and some made with a combination of the two). Employing techniques that deserve comparison with the earliest nineteenth-century photographic experiments, Justine ’s work has been described as an autobiographical witnessing of the world – a memoire, rather than merely an act of representation. Film registers performative gestures – is drawn upon, handled, scratched, spat on, weathered, or absorb aspects of her everyday life. Exposed to light for long periods, the film is processed and then printed at large scale in the darkroom, itself a process of transformation. Functioning as ‘ravaged memorials to lived experience’, the works appear to be abstractions but are in fact rigorous distillations of the real.
Jutsine was the winner of the Dobell Drawing Prize (2019) and has made a steady ascent since graduating with Honours from the National Art School, Sydney, in 2007. Accolades include the Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture (2017) and twice receiving the Josephine Ulrick & Win Shubert Foundation for the Arts Photography Award (2013, 2016).
A suite of her works was included in Beyond Place: Australian Contemporary Photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA (2019, touring).
Justine’s works are in the collection of institutions including Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Gallery of South Australia; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Monash Gallery of Art, Victoria; University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; Artbank, Sydney; Macquarie University, Sydney; National Art School Collection, Sydney and Westpac Collection, Sydney.
Dr Kirsten Garner Lyttle is a proud Māori wāhine academic, artist and creative practice-led researcher (Iwi/Tribe: Waikato, Waka/Canoe: Tainui, Hapū/Subtribe: Ngāti Tahinga).
She was born in Sydney, spent her childhood in Wellington, New Zealand and grew-up in Melbourne, where she is still based. In her research practice, she is committed to an Indigenous research agenda, connecting Indigenous self-determination, rights and sovereignty to each research project. Her primary research interests are; Indigenous-centred methodologies and knowledge systems, Indigenous customary art practices and their application to technologies such as photography and video.
She has over 10 years of teaching experience and has lectured and taught photography, art history and visual art, at a range of universities including; Master of Photography - RMIT University, Critical Art and Theory - Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at The University of Melbourne, Deakin University and Photography Studies College. She is currently the inaugural Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for Wominjeka Djeembana Indigenous Research Lab, Monash Art Design and Architecture Faculty, Monash University.
Kirsten has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. She is currently a participating artist in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now 2023, for which she was commissioned to make a new work that has been acquired by the gallery. She was also commissioned to make new work for the TarraWarra Biennial 2023: ua usiusi faʻavaʻasavili, curated by Dr Léuli Eshrāghi . Other recent highlights include participating in exhibitions at the Immigration Museum, Museums Victoria, Melbourne, 2022, 2018–2019; Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne, 2021; Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Ballarat, Victoria, 2019; Counihan Gallery, Melbourne, 2019; Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Horsham, Victoria, 2019; Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, 2018 and 2016; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2018; and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2018.
Her work is held in numerous private collections and has been collected by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; State library of Victoria, Deakin University, Melbourne; Merri-bek City Council and the Patrick Corrigan AM collection.
Pierra Van Sparkes is a Kulin Country based Pibbulman Noongar artist. Swaying between whispered invitations into their internal world (shhhh, that dog in em is sleeping) and full-throated Blak humour for mob in the back row, their work is inspired by the shared histories, feelings and encounters that shape lived experiences of Aboriginality amidst manifold Blak identities. Working with photography, video and digital media, they explore experiences of place, belonging and interrogate mythscapes that inform notions of Indigenous authenticity, settler-colonial supremacy and the modes in which they manifest.
Talia Smith is an artist and curator from Aotearoa and now based in Sydney, Australia. She is of Cook Island, Samoan and NZ European heritage. Her curatorial practice predominantly engages with photographic and moving image practices, specifically those that challenge the western lineage of art history, and looks to create platforms for diverse voices. She has curated exhibitions in Australia and New Zealand at institutions such as Artbank Sydney, Artspace Ideas Platform, Cement Fondu, The Lock-Up and Centre for Contemporary Photography. In 2021 she will curate an exhibition for the Ballarat Foto Biennale. Her writing has appeared in VAULT Magazine, Art Almanac, Art New Zealand, among others. She has completed residencies at Bundanon Trust and Basis Frankfurt and is completing her Masters of Fine Arts (Research) at UNSW. Talia currently works as the Gallery Curator at Granville Centre Art Gallery.
Thursday, 9 May, 11am
Join curator Jake Treacy as they guide you through the themes, ideas and poetry that interweaves the exhibition, touching on how photographic practice extends beyond image-making.
Saturday, 8 June, 2pm
Join the artists as they unpack and discuss their practices, and how they push the understanding of photography beyond its traditional conventions. From lenless capturing to manipulation of light to moving image, these artworks challenge our perception of the photographic medium whilst illuminating new ways of seeing.