wotwedid

Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

HARVEY BENGE: An appreciation from a fellow traveller

leave a comment »

 

Harvey Benge’s portrait from his Blog header

 

VALE: HARVEY BENGE

With the recent passing of Harvey Benge many whose lives have been touched by the man have told stories of their connection with Harvey. In many ways my story is no different – Harvey gave so much to those he met. He enriched lives as well as nurtured and encouraged networks to form, information to be shared and contributed to the critique and philosophy of photobooks to a worldwide audience. In December 2017 his Blog recorded its 1,000,000th view…

Recently I have been thinking and reflecting about Harvey a great deal and how for a moment we shared a friendship through our interest for the photobook in it many forms. At this time I feel a need to share some my reflections of Harvey…

 

it’s not hard to find erudite statements from photobook commentators and critics from all over the world about Harvey and his work – But I wanted to find his manifesto for life, photography and books … and I found it in his description for the book The Traveller

The Traveller is a personal reflection of the world where strange connections occur. The photographs never offer answers, only questions to tempt the curious. This democratic view is an acerbic, wry response to the world in free-fall where nothing is certain. Yet I hope that readers can find humour, affection, and unexpected beauty.

 

Harvey Benge photobook: The Traveller PHOTOs: Courtesy MomentoPro

 

About 15 years ago I came across a book that seemed to be a compilation of photographs by the world’s doyens of photography – Adams, Araki, Baltz, Eggleston, Felman, Frank Friedlander et al. The book was entitled seductively A short history of photography and was authored by Harvey Benge and Gerry Badger. So I bought a copy. It wasn’t until after the package arrived and I turned the pages that I found that Benge in fact created all of images. Many purchasers of the book may have felt ripped off but I laughed and laughed. This book also resonated with personal projects of mine 10 to 15 years earlier where I too had created and presented work under pseudonyms to an unsuspecting audience.

 

A History of Photography book

Whilst the name Harvey Benge kept on cropping up in my academic research in photobooks I felt that his work did not fit with my project at that time. This changed when I attended one of the most significant forums at that time on the topic of the photobook at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney on Saturday, June 7 2014. Coordinated by Daniel Boetker-Smith from the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive, the event featured a Photobook Fair and a Forum at which key identities of the emerging photobook community were panelists. This included Professor Christopher Stewart (UTS), Dan Rule (Perimeter Books), Harvey Benge, Helen Frajman (M33), Benjamin Chadbond (Try Hard Magazine), Ying Ang and Daniel Boetker-Smith.

At the MCA Photobook Forum June 2014 PHOTO: Doug Spowart

The Forum discussion, responses and questions from the audience seemed to located in addressing the desires that attendees had in wanting to find their way in creating, marketing, selling books and being successful photobook makers.

I asked a couple of questions to broaden the discussion, which related to a key interest of mine that emerged as part of my PHD research. My questioning referred to the way that the freedoms that are well established in the artists’ book discipline in design, structure and narrative could inform future directions for the photobook. Harvey was the only one on the panel that understood the rationale of my question and at the end of the Forum we connected and spoke more about the ideas behind my question and he commented that he had appreciated my input. A few days later I sent some photos to him of the Forum including photos of him in action and he incorporated them in a piece he wrote about the Forum on his blog.

Channeling Harvey Benge photobook

In 2015 I was invited to make a presentation about photobooks at the Auckland Festival of Photography’s Talking Culture Symposium – Photobook Stories at the Auckland Art Gallery. I was looking forward to meeting up with Harvey but alas he was in Europe at the time attending the yearly string of photography events that happen between May-July. Even though I was unable to connect with him at that time, and inspired by his Short history of photography, I set about making a body of photographs that would emulate his style. These images were formed into a little book I called “Channeling Harvey Benge”. I had MomentoPro print out a copy and I sent it to him. When he returned Harvey enthusiastically got back to me saying “Thank you so much for … the wonderful Channelling Me! I’m flattered and honoured that you have made such a tribute… so thoughtful…”

A Preview copy of Channeling Harvey Benge can be downloaded here PREVIEW PROOF of Channelling Harvey Benge-book
(Note this is a printer-ready PDF and due to page setup for double-pages some images may not match across the gutter)

.

On Reading Photobooks WPD Project

.

Another remembrance of our connection was from an event I coordinated for World Photobook Day (WPD). The WPD has it origins with the date, October 14 1843, when Anna Atkins’ book Algae of the British Isles: Cyanotype impressions was catalogued by the British Library. The WPD was formed by a worldwide movement of Photobook Clubs to celebrate Anna Atkins and her book on this day. Since 2014, as part of my role as the coordinator of the Photobook Club Brisbane, I have created events to celebrate WPD. In 2015 my partner Victoria Cooper and I curated a project in which we asked significant contributors to the photobook discipline to nominate their favourite photobook, tell us why they like the book and to make a photo (a selfie) of them reading the book.

Harvey reading Collier Schorr’s Blumen – for the On Reading Photobooks WPD exhibition

A PDF of Harvey’s page and project information can be downloaded HERE: ON READING: Harvey Benge submission

 

Harvey enthusiastically responded to our request and was one of the first submissions. His favourite book, at the time was Collier Schorr’s Blumen. Other contributors to the project included Martin Parr, Larissa Leclair, Polixeni Papapetrou, Michael Coyne, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Stephen Dupont, Jack Picone et al. The exhibition was entitled “On Reading Photobooks” and was shown in Maud Gallery Brisbane, The Photography Room in Canberra, and a PDF catalogue was produced.

Harvey+Doug at Photobook New Zealand 2016

.

Over the years we connected via email but I did finally meet up with Harvey at the first Photobook New Zealand conference in Wellington in March 2016. We shared some conversations and I gave him a copy of a little book that I’d made entitled “I’m about to read a photobook”. I attended the Photobook Fair, book displays and a lecture that included David Cook, Anita Totha, Bruce Connew and Harvey discussing “Getting your photobook into the world”.

 

Harvey and his list

Harvey was animated and delivered a salient talk outlining an 8 point plan assisted by a handwritten text on an envelope received from his friend and colleague Antoine D’Agata. He said:

1. 90% of life is showing up (Woody Allen)
2. Take the long view – 30 to 50 years
3. Make your work authentic
4. Don’t try and be famous
5. Don’t show dodgy work to everybody who has ever drawn breath
6. People work with people they like
7. Luck has a lot to do with it
8. Get naked, make porn

 

In 2017 I was preparing a lecture on the Antipodean Photobook that I had been invited to present at the Vienna Photobook Festival. To bring a range of voices into the lecture I approached Harvey and asked him about what photobook makers in Australia and New Zealand could do to get their photobooks onto the world stage. He responded quickly again and came back with 3 points:

  1. Take the long view, in my case I made my first book 24 years ago.
  2. Show up in the world, don’t just sit at home in Aust or NZ looking at the wall.
  3. Do it for yourself, that way there is a chance the work will be authentic.

 

Harvey Benge pages in the New Zealand Photobook Compendium

As part of the continual update of my ANZ Photobook Compendium for the second PBNZ I approached Harvey for some of the back story behind two book projects: 1. ‘The Auckland Project’ that he had coordinated with John Gossage and Alec Soth and, 2. his visiting photographer series that had included Roger Ballen. Interestingly at this time Harvey had just donated one of every book that he’d made to the Auckland Art Gallery. Harvey sent through what I’d requested and it was incorporated into the Compendium that was launched at PBNZ in the Te Papa Photobook Fair by Ann Shelton.

.

Harvey Benge Auckland Art Gallery vitrine for Nothing Is As It Seems Photo: Supplied by Harvey

.

During much of 2018 Victoria and I worked on a commission from the Tate on Martin Parr’s recommendation to curate a collection of Australian and New Zealand photobooks. In a conversation Harvey’s name came up and Parr said he had been collecting Harvey’s work over the years and had visited him in Auckland. Parr recounted mentioning to Harvey that he was interested in getting a copy of Gary Baigent’s 1967 classic Unseen city. To his surprise Harvey and he had walked down the street to a little book shop and picked one up for a modest fee.

 

Over recent times I had not seen much from Harvey only the occasional post on his Blog and I had heard something from New Zealand friends about him not being in good health. Then very early one morning about a month ago Harvey rang me and told me of his illness and its prognosis. We spoke about many things – about unfinished books, how he felt about the work that I’d been doing on the ANZ photobook and how much he appreciated what I was doing. He mentioned my little book ‘Channeling Harvey Benge’ and how chuffed he was that I’d made it and presented it to him. He asked me if I could let my network of friends know of his circumstances. There were difficult moments of unfinished work but there was joy in the recognition of the continuing legacy that his books, his love of books and the love he had for people who made them. During the conversation he became tired and emotional – he said “I must go my friend….”

Vicky and I sat dazed – it was 6.00am local time…

I think of the times that Harvey would sign-off an email with the message ‘would be good to catch up for a talk sometime and perhaps chat about a collaboration…’ And I would have loved walking down the street with him to that little book shop to pick up Unseen city.

Although I will now miss the opportunity for those and many other things with Harvey’s passing, I know that in my future, and perhaps also for many of Harvey’s friends, he will still be an important part of the community he loved and supported. I know I will continue ‘channelling the spirit’ of Harvey Benge.

 

Doug Spowart

Written on World Photobok Day 2019

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTOBOOK WEEKEND @ Ballarat International Foto Biennalé

leave a comment »

BIFB Header

 

WORLD PHOTOBOOK WEEKEND

 

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is proud to host the World Photobook Day during our festival. Join us from Saturday 12 October until Monday 14 October to celebrate this auspicious birthday!

Celebrate World Photobook Day with other photography enthusiasts. Participants will meet at Mitchell Harris Wines the World Photobook Weekend Hub to share their books before heading together to the talks and the Fotobook Fair.

 

SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER

VR Book Train

9.16am
Photobook Train 
from Southern Cross Station

Celebrate World Photobook Day by hopping on the train to meet other photography enthusiasts. Meet at Southern Cross Station to catch the train to Ballarat with your photobooks and discuss with others. (Passengers must have a valid myki. Regional fares are listed at ptv.vic.gov).

 

Doug Spowart + ANZ Photobooks

2pm
Talk by Doug Spowart

Many Tribes: The Australian And New Zealand Photobook

The photobook disrupted the 1990’s prediction that ‘the book is dead’ and grew into a worldwide phenomenon. Doug Spowart will address key aspects of the historical and contemporary makeup of the photobook in Australia & New Zealand where the various ‘tribes’ contribute to a vibrant and progressive discipline.

World Photobook Weekend Hub
Mitchell Harris Wines, 38 Doveton Street North

 

SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER

 

9.16am
Photobook Train 
from Southern Cross Station

Celebrate World Photobook Day by hopping on the train to meet other photography enthusiasts. Meet at Southern Cross Station to catch the train to Ballarat with your photobooks and discuss with others. (Passengers must have a valid myki. Regional fares are listed at ptv.vic.gov).

 

Book Fair participants

10am – 5pm
Photobook Fair

Art Gallery Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North

Celebrate World Photobook Day with other photography enthusiasts at our second Foto Book Fair – an all-day event at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Participants:

  • Australian and New Zealand Photo Book Awards
  • Ballarat International Foto Biennale
  • Bookhouse
  • Studio Yeah
  • Colin Abbott
  • Fems
  • Melbourne Photobook Collective
  • Particle Books
  • Photography Studies College
  • Sainsburys
  • State Library Victoria
  • The Fridge Door Project; Vault.

 

Forum Panelists

11am

FORUM: Photobooks – Getting Published & Getting Collected 

with Patrick Pound, Sarah Walker, Heidi Romano and David Wadelton. Moderated by Doug Spowart

What sparks and drives the passion for the photo book? How do photographers get published? And how can photographers establish and grow meaningful collections? Join Doug Spowart and a diverse panel of photobook practitioners and publishers as they answer these and other associated questions through their personal observations, stories and predictions.

Join us as we blow out the candles for the official World Photobook Day celebrations.

World Fotobook Weekend Hub
Mitchell Harris Wines, 38 Doveton Street North

 

MONDAY 14 OCTOBER

 

WPD Birthday Candles

11am – 1pm
Happy Birthday Party
!   Celebrating 176 years of photobooks

Join us as we blow out the candles for the official World Photobook Day celebrations.

World Photobook Weekend Hub
Mitchell Harris Wines, 38 Doveton Street North

 

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE: Please book at the BIFB website

CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO VISIT BIFB SITE

World Photobook Weekend

AUSTRALIAN CYANOTYPES on exhibition at home & in the USA

leave a comment »

INVITE: The Maud Street Photo Gallery Under the Southern Sun exhibition

.

For over a year we have been coordinating with Gail Neumann the Facebook group THE CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA. In June of this year we circulated through our networks an Invitation for Australian cyanotypers to submit work for a travelling exhibition to be shown in Brisbane, Australia and then Texas, USA to link with World Cyanotype Day celebrations on September 28, 2019. This work will be first shown at The Maud Street Photo Gallery, Brisbane in August and will then travel to the USA to be part of two international exhibitions, one at the A Smith Gallery, Texas in September, and then at PhotoNola, New Orleans in December.

.

.

THE BRIEF FROM THE INTERNATIONAL WORLD CYANOTYPE EXHIBITION COORDINATORS:

The exhibition theme Land/Sea/Sky with the exhibition abstract being: Most ancient peoples had no word for the color blue. They could not explain the sky nor the ocean. Poetry and love letters suffered. Once “blue” entered the world the earth rattled and chimed, sending forth “turquoise” and “sapphire.” The Navajo and the Jewelers rejoiced. Poets wept. Picasso danced and Policemen beamed. Mary smiled.

It was hoped that everyone in the world making cyanotypes that could be connected with was invited to create the cyanotypes on white cloth, each 12×12 inches (30×30cm) and that they will be strung together, the flags symbolize the beautiful planet we all inhabit.

.

Install day at the A Smith Gallery 24 September

.

CYANOTYPERS FROM OVER AUSTRALIA RESPONDED TO THE CALL-OUT

Here are their images:

 

THE EXHIBITION AT THE MAUD STREET PHOTO GALLERY

The installation at The Maud Street Photo Gallery PHOTO: Gail Neumann

The installation at The Maud Street Photo Gallery PHOTOs: Gail Neumann

THE CATALOGUE

A catalogue about the Under the southern sun project featuring each submission, artist’s statements and exhibition documents has been collated, the cyanotypes copied and designed by Doug Spowart. The catalogue forward states:

The Cyanotype in Australia is a photographic medium that continues to be enthusiastically utilised by a growing group of creative practitioners ranging from analogue photographers to fine art printmakers.

While the process and the chemical formulas may be the same the resulting images vary depending on the subject chosen and the creative input of the cyanotypist. This is proven by this body of work and the plethora of potential outcomes presented. And sometimes, as with the vagaries of the process, many results may be a surprise to the author at the time the image is washed-out. Such is the nature and the promise of things hand-made.

We are excited to contribute this collection of cyanotype flags to the 2019 World Cyanotype Day Celebrations at the A Smith Gallery in Texas and PhotoNola in New Orleans in the U.S.A.

The catalogue

FREE TO DOWNLOAD HERE: AUSTRALIAN_WCD_CATALOGUE-Final

 

THE BEHIND THE SCENES

THE CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA Team coordinated:

  • A gallery exhibition at The Maud Street Photo Gallery in early August that will include an opening event
  • The packaging and shipment of the ‘Flags’ to the USA by the due date
  • The creation and distribution of social media content promoting the Australian artworks and their makers
  • A PDF catalogue of all contributor’s works
  • And later the return of the works to their makers on conclusion of the project.

A fee of $40 was charged to all participants

This project, by The Cyanotype in Australia team, was curated by Gail Neumann, Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart with assistance from David Symons.

 

 

The gallery installation team: Gail Neumann, Victoria Cooper, Irena Prikryl, David Symons and Doug Spowart

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Judging a Regional Art Award

leave a comment »

The Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award – July 26, 2019

 

I spent most of the day at Esk in south-east Queensland judging a regional art award organised by the Somerset Art Society. The Awards attracted a diverse collection of 337 artworks ranging from re-purposed kitchenalia made into sculptures to delicate fine ceramics, to tapestries, photographs and the traditional oil on canvas. Decisions about what was the ‘best’ art in 4 main categories and 4 other special awards were required to be made with my judging partner Dr Beata Batorowicz, artist and Associate Professor from the University of Southern Queensland. The curator of the event and the judging process was LeAnne Vincent.

 

Beata + Doug Photo: Victoria Cooper

 

Let the judging begin

As a judge I have an interest and expectation that I will receive a story from each artwork. The communiqué could be about the artist’s insight or comment about some idea or issue and it must resonate in some way to transform or challenge my understanding of the world. After a judge’s briefing by LeAnne we individually reviewed the works that had been hung on moveable wall panels and plinths within the expanses of the Somerset Civic Centre. Works from each of the 3 2D categories of (1) painting and works on paper, (2) fabrics and (3) photography were grouped for easy viewing and comparison on the panels. The 3D works were arranged in the central gallery and front gallery areas.

At the end of our first review Beata and I met and discussed the work generally and looked at works that had left a strong impressions with us. We walked around the gallery again this time in conversation gaining an understanding not only about the works but also each other’s point of view, opinions and our perceived strengths or weaknesses of certain works. The selection of Beata and myself as judges brought together an opportunity to utilise the overlap of our individual arts practice and our understanding of artmaking processes and storyteling through art.

.

Judges among the display panels PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

The regional artist and their role in community beyond the Awards

Over an afternoon coffee with my partner Victoria Cooper I reflected upon the role of the artist in regional communities. As the viewer of many artworks today I had received and been touched by so many stories and communiqués. I thought about the important role of artists in recording and documenting their lived experience. And how in a changing world these artworks come to be a history of place, a touchstone for the issues, moods and interests of that time.

 

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

 

Art tourism in regional Australia

In the afternoon Vicky and I visited the Somerset Regional Art Gallery at The Condensery in the small town Toogoolawah just north of Esk. Formerly a condensed milk factory it has been repurposed into an art gallery with two exhibition spaces.

I thought about how art tourism is a burgeoning catch cry in regional Australia. Fine examples include Toowoomba’s First Coat Street Art initiative that brings visitors to that community and the Silo art project in Central/western Victoria that has created a boon to local businesses. Tourists now don’t drive through the town; they now stop and stay to take in those large-scale silo mural projects.

Perhaps with this growing interest in art tourism and the wealth of artwork abundantly visible in this exhibition it may be time to consider the The Condensery as a major regional gallery space with the funding for and arts manager/curator to oversee the display and management of the arts facility.

The various sponsors of the art awards including the major sponsor the Bendigo Bank clearly support the artists and their community. The Hon. Shayne Neumann federal member for Blair, and Somerset Mayor Graham Lehman speaking at the awards event both identified and praised the importance of the arts to the community. So perhaps now is the time for the next step.

 

Dr Doug Spowart

 

The formal group at the Awards presentation night…… PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE AWARDS

We selected the 3D category first and reviewed personal favourites and their stories – sometimes guided by the title. We were also interested in the techniques employed and the way the artwork operated within the 3D space. A small bronze work entitled Swim Squad by Mela Cooke was selected as the First Prize. The sculpture represents a stilled moment of two figures by a pool. Swimming togs and bathing caps in a greenish patina clad the two young female figures their legs dawn up encircled by arms and clasped by hand.

(Photographs from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent)

 

.

Next we approached the textiles and I was interested in Beata’s insights into the range of materials and techniques presented. Works I this category included traditional tapestry, contemporary image-making through materials collaged together with extensive over-sewing. The First Prize winner and the inaugural Hetty Van Boven Textile Award was Elisabeth Czaia with her work Afternoon Shadow. The work was the representation of a room interior with the perspective flattened to resemble a two-dimensional space. The colour scheme was a riot of colour predominantly green with accents of purple and tangerine.

.

The Photography category consisted of a variety approaches to the discipline from traditional pictorialism to contemporary digital montage. Gerry O’Connor won the First Prize with a portrait entitled Warren Palmer Artist. The monochrome photograph was large in size and was frank in its direct and powerful presentation of the subject.

.

Painting/Works on paper was won by a mult-coloured woodblock print by Owen Hutchison entitled The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea. This large print suggested a mythical allegory that spoke of flight and a night journey.

.

Youth Award was won by a large drawing by Aneldi van Wyck. Entitled My identity that was a self-portrait. The drawing was skillfully and carried out honouring the media of its creation.

.

Sharon McKenzie with Woven Destiny 3 won the special prize category of Susan Cory Contemporary Award. Originally submitted in the fabric section this work exhibited a very contemporary use of various materials over layered with hand sewing. There is a feeling of the work being just put down as threads dangle as if there is more work to be done.

.

The award of The Best In Show was won by Margaret Underdown with her painting Home Paddock. Though a representational landscape in style this large work captured the emotive spirit of place. For both Beata and I have driven down from Toowoomba that morning where the ranges were enshrouded in mist and the early morning light diffused – that may have contributed to our consensus on that decision.

.

One prize was awarded by votes cast by attendees to the exhibition. The People’s Choice was won by Kathy Ellem with her painting of a male horseman entitled Edges.

.

.

President of SASI Betty Williams thanks curator LeAnne Vincent PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE FULL AWARDS LIST: 2019 Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award Winners

 

$5000 Best of Show – Margaret Underdown, Home Paddock

$1000 Photography Prize – Gerry O’Connor, Warren Palmer Artist

Highly Commended PhotographyLinda McPhee The Second Best Café in Town and Wayne Gillis Satin Bower Bird Male

$1000 3D Prize – Mela Cooke, Swim Squad

Highly Commended 3DRussell Solomon, Have They Always Been Here and Carol Forster, Love Not War

$1000 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Owen Hutchison, The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea

$750 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Charmaine Davis, Mountain

Highly Commended Painting/Works on paper – Clay Dawson, Ships in the Night and Odessa Mahony de Vries Sea view

$1000 Hetty Van Boven Textile Award – Elisabeth Czaia, Afternoon Shadow

Highly Commended Textile Wendy Houston, Dear Stag and Jodie Wade, Grass Trees

$500 Susan Cory Contemporary Prize – Sharon McKenzie, Woven Destiny 3

$500 Youth Prize – Aneldi Van Wyk, My Identity

$500 Somerset Artist Prize – Marcel Desbiens, Transition

People’s Choice – Kathy Ellem, Edges

.

.

Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Awards sign

Photographs of the artworks are from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent

.

.

.

ADELAIDE HERE WE COME – BEST PHOTOBOOKS & WORKSHOP

leave a comment »

Adelaide Road Trip

 

The Australian and New Zealand Photobook Awards have been to Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane and now we are taking them to Adelaide.

The presentation of the books, a talk about the photobooks by Doug Spowart and a one-day workshop will be hosted by us at Adelaide’s Centre for Creative Photography.

 

ANZ Photobook Awards Finalists

.

COME AND SEE THE BEST AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND PHOTOBOOKS

On Saturday September 28 the books will be on show from 10am–4.00pm. The Official Launch, the announcement of the People’s Choice Award and a talk about photobooks by Doug Spowart will take place at 2.00pm.

There is no charge to view the books and attending the talk however we do request that you book via this Eventbrite link: https://tinyurl.com/y225btkx

 

 

 

Arranging photos

ATTEND A ONE-DAY PHOTOBOOK WORKSHOP

On Sunday September 29 photobook road trip co-ordinators Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart will present concepts and hands on practical exercises for working on photobook projects. These are designed to assist the photographer in distilling images from their archives and then structure them into an engaging narrative flow. The workshop includes practical work in hand-making photobook formats and preparing book ideas for Print-on-Demand output.

There is a charge to attend the workshop – Details of the workshop and booking information can be found on this Eventbrite Link: https://tinyurl.com/y2pnpbhu

 

.

.

Victoria Cooper & Doug Spowart acknowledge the support of MomentPro Photobooks and the Centre for Creative Photography in making this event possible.

.

.

.

 

BEAUTIFUL FRUIT – Tilley Wood+Linda Spowart

leave a comment »

Beautiful Fruit Invite

 

Beautiful Fruit installation PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Beautiful Fruit installation in the Sidespace Gallery at Salamanca   ……….   PHOTO: Doug Spowart

.

A Fruitful Place – a review by Victoria Cooper

 

Place, of course, as opposed to the more generalized ‘site’ or ‘land,’ is a specific collaboration between nature and people, constantly altered and inevitably defined by narratives from the contact zones.[1]

This exhibition is the result of a collaborative interaction between the artists, the cotoneaster tree and its environment. The intent was to create visual responses to observations of the tree and its rhythms over time that forms:

… a dedication to and recording of this tree. Its life is multifaceted, one that connects to and affects the space and people around it. Its vital and variable presence is what they are drawn to and present here. This exhibition is the fruit of the artists and subject together.

Tilley Wood artist with light 4 + light 5, 2019 Oil on canvas ………. PHOTO: Doug Spowart

.

Although Linda and Tilley approached the project from two different perspectives both were influenced by the phenomena of light and wind to define the tree, its form and movement. Tilley’s paintings of the tree evoked a poetic place illuminated by memory. Linda’s prints were layered using cyanotype photograms[2] or inks in contact with parts of the tree and its surroundings, then over printed with gesso and drawings were full of detail referencing the visual language of botanical illustration and empirical scientific evidence gathering.

.

Debris 1 Linda Spowart 2019Ink, gesso and graphite on cotton .......... PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Debris 1 Linda Spowart 2019Ink, gesso and graphite on cotton ………. PHOTO: Doug Spowart

.

As part of their investigation, the artists individually and collaboratively created through direct contact with parts of the tree: leaves, fruit and branches, they made more cyanotype photograms. These prints were more like impressions, rather than the detailed recording of scientific photographs. On one wall at the entrance to the main gallery there was an impressive installation of these blue prints creating a feeling for the tree’s blue shadowy and dappled light space.

.

Beautiful Fruit Nos. 3-13 Tilley Wood+Linda Spowart 2019 Wet Cyanotype & gold leaf on cotton

.

The cotoneaster tree was both subject and collaborator in this exhibition. As part of their investigations, the artists attached drawing devices to branches of the tree in order that it would self record its movement without the intervention of the artists’ hand. This is an important methodology for many artists as it opens up an inclusive space where the agency or ‘voice’ of objects and other life-forms as collaborators can present new and surprising perspectives. Australian artist, Cameron Robbins[3], presented the drawings that were formed through devices attached to a windmill to record the movement of the wind around Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart, Tasmania. Robbins intent was

… to connect to landscape, and to the greater dynamic of the whole climate system; how patterns move through a particular location. For me, that’s the most direct way to access the greater energies and forces around us.’ Cameron Robbins[4]

 

Tree Drawings #0001- #0026  ………. PHOTO: Doug Spowart

 

Art when made in collaboration with both human and non-human entities involves a corporeal, sensate empathy that evolves over time spent in contact within their space and place. These are dynamic contact zones where human and nature interaction can stimulate the development of alternative views and knowledge to bring fresh ways of understanding the changing world we share with Others. Both Tilley and Linda have engaged with the Place that is the tree, not to objectify or imitate, but to wonder, imagine, transform and be transformed.

 

Dr Victoria Cooper

.

.

NOTES:
[1] Stuart, M & Lippard, L 2010, Michelle Stuart, Sculptural Objects: Journeys In & Out of the Studio, Charta, Milano, page 11.
[2] The Cyanotype process was developed by Sir John Herschel in the 1840’s and at this time 19 th century botanist Anna Atkins used the process to document her plant specimens. The process: water colour paper or cloth is coated with a chemical made by the light sensitive combination of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. After drying, objects placed on the material and then exposed in sunlight. Ultra-violet light is required and exposure times may be 8-10 minutes although times may vary depending on the time of year – or day. Many photographer also expose enlarged contact negatives of photographs onto the cyanotype emulsion.
[3] Cameron Robbins, Field Lines, MONA see https://mona.net.au/museum/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/cameron-robbins-field-lines
[4] ibid. an in-text quote from the article by the curators, Nicole Durling and Olivier Varenne

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

2019 PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP BEGINS – HOBART

leave a comment »

The 2019 Photobook Road Trip

PHOTOBOOKS @ TOPSPACE STUDIO/GALLERY IN HOBART

.

Ilona Schneider and Doug Spowart

.

The 2019 Photobook Road Trip began last night at the TopSpace StudioGallery in Hobart. The Australia & New Zealand Photobook Awards (ANZPA) exhibition was installed by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. Visitors to the Gallery were welcomed by the gallery Director Ilona Schneider.

.
.

Vicky setting up the dispaly

.
On show were the 12 Finalists and Award winners of the 2018 Australia and New Zealand Photobook Awards sponsored by MomentoPro Photobooks. The books were:

.

Winners 2018

Finalists 2018 from 117 entries:

SEE More about the ANZPA HERE
.
.
The event as attended by around 30 participants including representatives from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Allport Library, members of the AIPP and representatives from the Hobart Camera Club.
.
.
To cover costs associated with the gallery hire a raffle was conducted with books by Cooper+Spowart and ANZPA catalogues and MomentoPro’s ‘Publish Your “Bloody” Photobook‘ booklets.
.

Looking at the Cooper+Spowart books

.
COOPER+SPOWART presented a small selection of the concertina photobooks including  YOU ARE HERE and QUESTIONING+KNOWING.
.
Around 6.00pm Doug made a presentation about the awards and the current state of the Antipodean photobook. A lengthy Q&A session followed and private conversations and continued book viewing took place well after the intended finish time.
.

Doug presenting his talk

.
.

THANK YOU!

Thanks to Ilona Schneider and the AIPP coordinator Matt Palmer for their assistance with the presentation and Momento Pro for making the books available.
.
CANBERRA is the next stop in the PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP on July 20 at PhotoAccess where the books will be displayed, Doug will present a talk about photobooks and Doug+Vicky will present a workshop on photobook forms and the photobook narrative.
.

D+V Coming to Canberra

.

.

#MomentoProBooks #ANZPhotobookAwards #PhotobookRoadTrip #Photobookjousting
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
%d bloggers like this: