Photographer With Eye Shock

Art Life , Reviews Jun 11, 2004 No Comments

We mentioned Blender Gallery a few weeks ago. It’s a hire space, café and book shop that used to be Stills Gallery. It’s also a converted terrace with lots of nooks and crannies, doorways, doorframes and a hole in the wall downstairs that looks like the silhouette of a shirt. It must be a nightmare to hang your work and we pay respect to any artist who attempts to have a show in such an unforgiving gallery. The tendency is to fill it up with everything an artist has – usually smaller works, all framed, all over the place – and since the gallery specialises in emerging artists, the quality is a bit dicey.

We had word that we should get along to a show at Blender by Dean Dampney called Days Down Here: A Photo Essay as we were told the artist has “an eye” – a definite boon if you’re a photographer, we’d imagine. Anyway, Dampney has chosen the route of filling up Blender Gallery with pictures, 48 in all.

We saw about 12 photographs in this show that were knockouts – a misty, rainy country show ride, a woman reading a paper with a horse looking through the window, a goanna eating a dead kangaroo on a beach, three ducks (Grey Teals, we think) in a pond. It’s true; Dampney does have a great eye, but not always. There are plenty of OK pictures in the show and some that are very obviously “professional”, almost cheesecake postcard obvious – while others are momentarily amusing but otherwise unremarkable. What Dampney needs to do is edit the series down to his best dozen and find a gallery with a big white wall to put them in. He’s a guy with real talent but Blender does him no favours.

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Andrew Frost

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