Curated by Di Barrett Nexus Gallery, Adelaide September - October
It was the work of Emily Patsouris which captured my attention the longest. Emily's series of nine colour photographs of herself, each time in the same pose but with different clothing, are powerful in their simplicity. Knowing Thyself is also confrontational through its use of text, with the images accompanied by quotes from family members or friends. Each image portrays Emily taking on the material guise of her relation in a discreet yet melancholic manner.
The image titled Mother reads, "Emily is not happy, but it is no ones fault but her own". The texts are predominantly negative, but were these words actually said or are they reconstructions of half-remembered sentences spoken harshly or in jest long ago? Through this presentation of other people's views on who Emily is and how she should be, I am left to wonder how Emily feels about herself. I learn a lot from those close to Emily but I never hear her own point of view. It would seem that Emily is taking charge of her identity without even uttering a word.
William Doble's Lit in the Absence of a Central Origin is a set of portraits capturing the back of each subject's head and shoulders, cleanly presented in a grid format. Who are these people? Why were they chosen? I recognise only one, the others remain mysterious. I am reminded of leaving, defiance, detachment and absence. I am left to create my own stories for these people, hungrily scouring their images for details. I begin to feel that I have never paid enough attention to the rears of peoples heads, even of those I love.
Matt Walker's Metalloids, photo-emulsions on metal, are striking in their larger-than-life scale and textured surfaces. The images of faces, pieced roughly together on segments of shiny metal, are at once introspective and provocative, one pair of eyes taking on the camera's lens while the other two faces look distant and away.
Leighton Edward's Counterfeit Series is so successful in recreating the slick appeal of advertising photography it is almost too easy to dismiss the works as purely commercial reproductions of everyday items of consumption. On second glance the works are read as black and white images painstakingly airbrushed with colours so perfect they become surreal. There seems to be a questioning here, a play on the notion of the original, of both the objects depicted, all of which can be readily substituted with alternative brands, and photography itself, with all that it promises and authenticates. Perhaps Leighton is rebelling from the burden of a culture which glorifies consumer constructed identity, now almost as heavily marketed to young men as to women, commenting on the promises offered by material gain which inevitably are left unfulfilled.
Rob Hunter's Liquid Life is an underwater exploration into reflection, abstraction and form. His suite of photographs follow the swimmer from her initial hesitation upon reaching the edge of the pool, to her approach and eventual entry. Liz Triandafyllidis's The Spirit of Things, black and white toned photographs of multiple images, allow the viewer only fragments of the histories being explored in the work. The images are symbolic in referencing spirits, past-lives, dreams and recollections, with shadowy figures moving through church gardens and among the graves.
Entree is a relatively tight debut exhibition from the realm of Photostudies at the South Australian School of Art. Time and experience will allow these artists the benefit of refining their work, especially with regard to considerations of scale and the knowledge that less work is sometimes more. My palate awakened, I now wait expectantly for the main course of offerings still to come.