From Sharne Wolff…
As the Head On Photo Festival spreads its tentacles around Sydney galleries during May, two female photographers are featured in separate solo shows. Janet Tavener’s Latin-branded images are caught by the lens as colourful frozen moments. Partly submerged in a transparent ‘ocean’, the artist’s staged images of crystalline exotic fruits in Acino, Pera, Fichi and more draw on 17th century still life tradition – as do the skull in Cranio and Orologio’s floating timepiece. Attracting the viewer with their ambiguous stillness and a captivating use of light, these enduring metaphors for transience expose the fragility of the modern human environment.
Presenting an alternative view of the Australian landscape, Ashleigh Garwood’s gothic black and white renditions of iconic locations such as The Gap, Govett’s Leap and the Hawkesbury River are reminiscent of the haunting mood conjured by Peter Weir’s well-known film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. The lack of any human presence also serves this idea. Although her process isn’t immediately apparent, an intriguing mix of symmetry and imbalance operates to draw the eye toward the centred subject and, only afterward, to examine the truth of the composition. According to the artist, her intention is to “question the influence and power that landscape imagery holds in neutralising societal frameworks and cultural understanding.”
Until June 6
Brenda May Gallery, Waterloo
Pic: Janet Tavener Acino 2015?, archival digital print, edition of 5 (in 2 sizes)? 85 x 85cm and 55 x 55cm.