Portrait of an Interior Exhibition

22 July – 12 August

July 21, 2021July 23rd, 2021Events
IMAGE: Portrait of an Interior installation, Ellen Dahl

Islands have edges and these edges are marked by coastlines, by the regionality of spaces and by economic and social precarity. How do the contours of an island influence the contours of our minds?

Portrait of an Interior uses different forms of photographic portraiture to explore what it means to inhabit lutruwita/Tasmania. The works in this exhibition portray individual and collective stories that reverberate beyond their frames, speaking to the symbiotic relationship between people, place and the non-human world.

In 1959, C. Wright Mills coined the term the ‘sociological imagination’ to describe the theory whereby, when something happens to an individual it is a symptom of what is happening in society. Portrait of an Interior shows personal stories of mutton birding, schizophrenia and the thylacine, which are just as much portraits of place as they are portraits of individuals.

Each of the stories in Portrait of an Interior address the rich and complex conditions of contemporary life, creating a space in which we can deepen our understanding of the world and its edges.

Key Information:

22 July – 12 August 2021

Poimena Gallery, Launceston Grammar, 36 Button St, Mowbray, Launceston, Tasmania, 7250

Exhibiting Artists

From the series: Grant Me Serenity, 2020 – present

Since returning to my home state of lutruwita/Tasmania at the start of the global pandemic, I have faced a reckoning of sorts in considering my childhood and departure from the island 20 years ago. The early and unexpected nature of the migration forced an examination of familial memories and a questioning of the material and immaterial nature of place. This work stems from an interest in interrogating the intersection of the human condition with the land and examining the impacts of anthropological forces on the corporeal setting. Conversely, the work attempts to reveal the influences the physical expanse has on the seclusion of the human condition. It could be argued that the natural and forced tension in the landscape plays out against the collective psyche of the State’s inhabitants.

Leo Kelly’s Bedroom
2020
Pigment print on platine fibre rag
50cm x 62cm
Sedgewick
2020
Pigment print on platine fibre rag
50x62cm
Gormy Hill
2020
Pigment print on platine fibre rag
50x62cm
In the Shadow of the Hills
2020
Pigment print on platine fibre rag
50cm x 62cm

Originally from Arctic Norway and of Sámi descent, I have ongoing interests in ‘places at the edge of the world’ and probing photography’s entanglement with the concept of the landscape as a cultural construct and geological imagination. Field Notes from the Edge is a long-term research project exploring the north/south peripheral sites of the arctic island of Spitsbergen (Svalbard/Norway) and Tasmania. These sites are renowned for their pristine nature and projection of deep time, while the stain of human activity is concurrently visible across the geographical topography.  The works presented here are images from Tasmania, some stained by arctic coal – hinting at multiple geographies, shared histories and politics. I am a current PhD candidate within the School of Creative Arts and Media, at the University of Tasmania.

From the series: Field Notes 2020

Field Notes from the Edge #9+#10+#11+12 / 41°30’49.1″S (2020)
28cm x 36cm
Cyanotype on cotton gelatin paper. Arctic coal. Custom made oak frame
$750 framed
1/1 unique

Slow emergencies are forms of harm and damage that are not acute but occur gradually and imperceptibly to most of us — like climate change, environmental pollution and radiation. Yet despite remaining largely unseen over time, the effects of slow emergencies are palpable, their relative invisibility rendering the harm they wreak, all the more entrenched and difficult to address. The Smallest Measure explores Kennaook/Cape Grim in lutruwita/Tasmania, a historical Aboriginal massacre site and the location of an air pollution monitoring station and science program, jointly managed by BoM and CSIRO. Untouched by land, the wind that arrives at Cape Grim after blowing over the Southern Ocean is one of the cleanest in the world and is considered ‘baseline’ air: that is, it represents the background atmosphere and thus grants insights into the driving forces behind anthropogenic climate change. 

As a photography, video and sound artist based on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Central Victoria, I am interested in the role art plays in environmental and social justice issues and likes to work in collaboration with others to make sense of our times. I am a member of Lumina Collective, the Atomic Photographers Guild and current PhD candidate within the School of Art at RMIT.

From the series: The Smallest Measure, 2021

Video
The Smallest Measure
2021
23mins, single-channel video loop.
Sound design by Jessie Boylan, Linda Dement & Genevieve Fry

Coming from a lineage of fish mongers on the North West and West Coast of lutruwita/Tasmania, I have always lived twenty metres from the ocean. I make large scale, silver-gelatin portraits of the people who are part of my world and their private spaces, made public through the act of photographing. There is a beauty and excitement that comes with the find. Listening to the pounding of the ocean resonates with me and my subjects.  The weather dictates these island lives. A storm represents time to sit, reflect and create in these remote spaces.  There are no rules. It might take on the form of making a tiger skin outfit, the scribbling of random text as a response to reading Steinbeck or a crazy walk into a wild landscape.

This is Garland’s life.

From the series, Distil, 2019-present

Phil
2019
Silver gelatin print
100cm x 110 cm
Duck Field
2019
Silver gelatin print
100cm x 110 cm
King River Trading Company Wall
2019
Silver gelatin print
100cm x 110cm
Bones
2020
Giclee print
30cm x 21cm
My Brother on the Black Rocks
2019
Giclee print
30cm x 21cm
Rocky Cape Cave
2020
Giclee print
30cm x 21cm

In the 1970s a young Tasmanian Aborigine, Errol West, wrote a beautiful poem, The Moon Birds of Big Dog Island: 

Like dust blown across the plain are the people of the Moon Bird. 
And yet there is no one to teach me the songs. 
That bring the Moon Bird, the fish 
Or any other thing that makes me what I am.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. Stories are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. Ultimately, as a documentary photographer, I want my work to be a part of the conversation in geopolitics, social issues, and the environment. To engaged with the world on a deeply serious level. The price of admission to this amazing life is that you have to go all the way out there, come back and show the world what you saw. If you take that responsibility seriously it’s a difficult task. I am a director/ cinematographer and documentary photographer based in Hobart and head up Rummin Productions.

Moonbird boy
2009
pigment print
100cm x 65cm
Looking West, On Albatross Island
2014
pigment print
120cm x 100cm

Huon (2018 – 2021) is inspired by the conflict between conservation and development in lutruwita / Tasmania and the tensions that continue to avail the community. Reoccurring over the past century and intensifying from the 1970s; the opposition and support of hydroelectric dams, mining operations and the logging of old growth forests have shaped the island state’s politics, social life and landscape. It is a place where the schism of environmental concern and industrial venture has seen violence, industrial sabotage, threats, vandalism, corruption, conspiracy theories and dissension. 

Coming from a background in political science and with an interest in visual narratives, my work examines the ways in which individual and community circumstance play out amongst broader social, political and cultural events. With an emphasis on slowness through the use of large format film cameras, I attempt to delve into the cultural and social subtleties of contemporary Australia while informed by the past.

From the series Huon, 2018 – 2021

Untitled
2018
pigment print
60cm x 70cm
Susan
2018
pigment print
40cm x 40cm
Len
2018
pigment print
40cm x 40cm

Regina
2018
pigment print
40cm x 40cm

A Surrounded Beauty is a photographic exploration of the emotional relationship between people and place, asserting that the environment is an integral part of who we are – and that place and personhood are interconnected. The works in this exhibition explore identity, solitude, precarity, atmosphere and attunement. Italian philosopher Tonino Griffero (2019) defines ‘attunement as our ability to be affected by our surroundings and affect them in turn.’ I gravitate towards introverted subjects deeply connected to place and firm in their sense of identity. They are individuals who I perceive as attuned to their surroundings. Through experiences of solitude, I find them emanating a heightened sense of self as though woven into the fabric of the world they inhabit. The body of work is set in lutruwita / Tasmania, raising questions about whether growing up on a geographical island amplifies connections with a place. The photographs examine whether the landscape pictured mirrors the subjects affective experience.

From the series: A Surrounded Beauty, 2018-present

Under a Cloudy Sky
2020
pigment print
55cm x 42cm
Levitating
2021
pigment print
55cm x 42cm
After Ophelia
2021
pigment print
55cm x 42cm
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