At Sydney Contemporary 2015, Stills Gallery is pleased to present five contemporary artists who offer unique and expansive approaches to the photographic medium.
Narelle Autio’s photographs evoke the complexity, drama and beauty of Australian landscape, which is otherwise eroded by postcards and clichés. At Sydney Contemporary, Stills will feature her Basil Sellars Art Prize 2014 Finalist work, Nippers II (2014), which plunges us into another world under the surface of the sea, along with her young protagonists. Thanks to her sophisticated use of light, colour and composition, Autio’s underwater images have won her widespread acclaim and continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of viewers.
Pat Brassington, one of Australia’s most prominent and influential photomedia artists, will debut two beguiling works in the stand. The diptych The Branching (2015), for instance, is beautiful and haunting. In ghostly, sepia tones, a woman hovers midair; her outstretched arms echoing tree branches, electrified by light. With this trademark surrealism, Brassington continues to surprise and intrigue audiences. Her works are pitched, she notes, “just off the verge of normality”.
Through a selection of key images, Magnum Photographer Trent Parke’s landmark exhibition The Black Rose (2015) is showcased in Sydney for the first time. Created over seven years and premiered in the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2015, The Black Rose is “a project of epic proportions and cinematic ambition”, explains Senior Curator Julie Robinson. From a stranger on the street to a portrait of his young son, Parke’s images evoke universal themes of memory, love and loss. His innovative approach to documentary photography explores the medium’s psychological and narrative possibilities.
Stills will also present Justine Varga’s new camera-less photographs from her series Accumulate (2014-2015). Exposed over three-months, left under doormats and on windowsills, they accumulate her performative gestures, private spaces and experiences of time. The intricacies of tiny markings and the idiosyncrasies of analogue film become significant compositional elements when transformed into prints. These imperfections embellish Varga’s works with the texture of space and time as we encounter in lush colour her capacity to transform the mundane into the sublime.
Bringing movement and humour to the stand is Kawita Vatanajyankur, an exciting new contributor to Asia-Pacific contemporary art. Stills will feature videos from her series Work (2015), an uncanny restaging of a fresh fruit market that tests her body’s limits. Alluring luminous yellows, citrus greens and bubblegum pinks belie the challenging nature of Vatanajyankur’s work, a sophisticated use of visual seduction that produces highly collectable endurance art.
Stills Gallery is one of Australia’s longest running commercial galleries and one of the few specializing in contemporary photography. The gallery supports both emerging and established artists and has a long history of fostering those at the forefront of contemporary photomedia practice.