For many years Julie Sundberg and Zorica Purlija have worked on long term portrait series of their daughters. Without having collaborated or exhibited together, their previous work reveals an uncanny synchronicity. In their latest exhibition, Solace they have both turned from the portrait to landscape, creating layered reactions to place as if in a secret conversation. Without knowledge of the other’s work they have used different techniques to show the “virtual space that opens up behind the surface”. Both artists have found solace in this process.
Julie Sundberg’s The River series was created entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic on her walks by the Cooks River (Goolay’yari). Experimenting with in-camera multiple exposure she constructed imaginary landscapes with different focus and viewpoints within the frame. Metaphors for her failing vision and the fragmented nature of her life which simultaneously became physically smaller and intellectually larger. There is surrender to the chance and randomness of her technique, as a joyful counterpoint to the grim daily news and social controls imposed by lockdown.
Parallel to Sundberg’s series, Zorica Purlija’s Fade Into You reclaims the wholeness we are born with in nature, a connection that has faded with the progress of Western modernisation. The landscape here is of a place imbued with body, memory and life itself. Photographed at Crescent Head, a regular yearly holiday destination for her family, the works are constructed by digitally layering landscape images with portraits of her daughter Yumi. The series shows a symbiotic relationship with nature and reflects this aspect of being both whole and at one with nature – a feeling of connection and belonging in returning to a place of joy.