Saturday, July 28, 2007

The referential in artworks...

We recently visited the Graham Miller/Jillian Green shows at Turner.

I really enjoyed Graham Millers work with it's cinematic referencing and general mood.

One of Millers pieces - Lisa - highlighted something that has always interested me in Photography.

Due to the 'pace' of creation using more traditional media (painting, sculpture, etc) there is an 'inherent' selective process in regards to what is imaged. Does the painter render the imperfections in a wall or smooth it over to avoid distraction? Do they insert elements to tell their stories? Are portions of the image dealt with differently to highlight a (lack of) importance?

In photography and film (with the exception of digital and/or scene manipulation) there is always this underlying documentative aspect. Has the scene been 'cleaned' or is it 'as found'.

Some photographers are reknowned for their 'control' of a scene - a classic example would be Darren Sylvester whilst others revel in the chaos of the discovered.

With Lisa, something very profound is said on multiple levels to differing members of an audience.

You look at the image and wonder what is in this letter? How has it affected the rather deadpan Lisa? Is she left cold, contemplative or empty? Is it a bill or eviction notice? How does it relate to the scene in which she sits?

This is where the referential comes (very dramatically) into play. More than a few members of the Perth Arts community will know exactly what the letter is. Whilst the words themselves aren't legible, those with a strong visual memory will recognise it immediately.

Then comes the next question.... is the letter itself placed deliberately to tell a story or was it what Graham had to hand? Is the scene actually about Lisa/Graham's (dashed) hope and (lost) opportunity?

A lot can be read into this piece and others, irrelevant of who Lisa or the person imaged is... very interesting work indeed.

Other highlights include Everson Creek, Rhonda + Chantelle, Luke and Dave.

The show finishes on August 4 so be quick.

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