Major Photographs Exhibition

31 May 2011 – 3 July 2011, Photography Gallery

Curated from the Wallace Arts Trust Collection as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography 2011

Major photographs from the Wallace Arts Trust Collection will be on show in the Photograph Gallery at The Pah Homestead, featuring New Zealand artists Ben Cauchi, Glenn Jowitt, Hamish Palmer, Patrick Reynolds, Roberta Thornley and Christine Webster.

To complement the exhibition Paul McNamara of McNamara Gallery will give an open talk on Looking at Photographs: a search for further understanding of the medium, but allowing the artworks to speak for themselves, at 1pm on Tuesday 7 June.

Visit the 2011 Auckland Festival of Photography website.


Ben Cauchi

Photographic processes are important to Cauchi’s practice drawing correlations between history and photography, and the role of the photographer to create ‘truths’ within the photograph. Vinyettes of everyday objects question levels of truth within photography.

The aesthetic of Black Shroud (2005) calls upon 19th Century photography of discovery and chance through experimentation of processes. Cauchi uses the ambrotype process, exposing the image onto a glass plate negative and placing it on a black velvet backing, to create a positive image. The use of the ambrotype, creates a darkened vinyette around the edges of the image, creating a sense of absence. As the ghost-like sheet seems to hover in mid-air, closer inspection reveals that strings are attached to the sheet. Cauchi exposes the ability to manipulate images. Cauchi uses photographic processes of the past, brings them into the present and re-contextualises their meanings.

After graduating with an Advanced Certificate in Photography from Massey in 2000, Cauchi was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship. Cauchi has exhibited extensively within New Zealand and Australia. Cauchi’s work is held in public and private collections such as the James Wallace Arts Trust, the Chartwell collection, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia.

Patrick Reynolds

Born in 1962, Patrick Reynolds photographic practice has brought success within commercial and art sectors within New Zealand. Whether photographing architecture or landscapes, Reynolds practice has always considered the medium of photography to push perspectives of beauty and aesthetics.

In The Secret (1988) Reynolds returns to the West Cost of Waitakere for a source of inspiration. Reynolds plays on photographic conventions to explore dualities of beauty and ugliness, exposing ‘ways of seeing’ but more importantly ‘ways of not seeing’. In The Secret Reynolds employs conventions used in 19th century portrait photography, isolating the single tree form and bringing the tree to the forefront of the image. Ideas of a beautiful pictorial landscape are not seen in the image, rather Reynolds looks at how individual elements of the landscape work to create the beautiful landscape, the object becoming a bearing of cultural identity. Reynolds carefully composes the image, using the strength of the photograph to re-frame, re-present and shift our ideals of beauty.

Patrick Reynolds’ architectural and interior photography is frequently published in Vogue Living and New Zealand Home and Entertainment. Reynolds’ work is held in a number of collections and public institutions including the James Wallace Arts Trust, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, The Waikato Museum and Auckland Art Gallery.

Roberta Thornley

Finding early success since graduating from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2007, Roberta Thornley is making her own path within the artworld. Thornley’s practice continues to evolve through strong bodies of works that eloquently blur the lines between alluring and intrusive, familiar yet foreign and emptiness while at the same time infused with emotion.

Thornley’s images are carefully composed, taking everyday objects and creating narratives within the darkness of black backgrounds as seen in Nest. (2009) Isolating the objects in black, the object is stripped away from its context within the everyday world creating an intense focus on the object. The juxtaposition between the branch and leaves engulfed into the spider’s web creates a narrative between life and death.

Thornley’s early success has seen her exhibit in national galleries such as the New Dowse Gallery and her work is held in public and private collections such as the James Wallace Arts Trust, the Real Art Roadshow and the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu.

Christine Webster

Born in 1958, Christine Webster is one of New Zealand’s prominent female artists. In series of works including Black Carnival (1994) and Provocations (2010), Webster uses photography and video to continue to explore issues of representation and gender. She has the ability to capture levels of physical and emotional unease within a single image.

From an early point in Webster’s career, her works have been persistently dark. Setting the human figure against a black background, Webster explores various ambiguities within traditional representations of women in art and society. Webster continues to challenge the role of women in art and society in Hysteria. (1985) In the large-scale image, Webster plays on roles of women within society, depicting herself as a mother. Webster identifies the use of darkness to expose the vulnerabilities of others, equally using natural sources of light to heighten emotional intensity within the image. One is unsettled by the scene of a mother walking her child in the darkness of night. The light seems to startle her rather than aiding her in the darkness. The

Cibachrome printing process creates a high-gloss surface; the life-like scale captivates viewers into the unsettling image, placing them into the role of startling this mother.

Since graduating with a diploma in photography from Massey University in 1981, Christine Webster has gone on to receive her Masters of Fine Arts at the Glasgow School of Art. She has also taken on various teaching positions within art institutions in New Zealand and London. Webster has exhibited widely in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Spain and France. Webster’s work is held in public and private collections such as the James Wallace Arts Trust, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, as well as other collections in Germany, Australia, the United States and France.

Ane Tonga, 2011

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