Art Life , Exhibitions Apr 27, 2015 No Comments

em>From Andrew Frost

For artists embarking on the project of making drawings from photographs, particularly where there is an effort to reproduce the image in ‘photographic’ detail, there is an almost insurmountable sequence of issues swirling around the practice. From questions of appropriation and meaning to the intertextual dialogue between the photograph and the act of drawing itself, to the not inconsequential issue of there being many other artists doing much the same thing, defining an individual voice in the midst all that is no small beer.


For Simon Kennedy, reproducing a photograph using charcoal on paper is a means to understanding the image on a fundamental level. “Rather than being merely an artistic endeavour, of reproducing an image from the past, my practice is seeking to personally understand what lies behind the image that was created in a time before I was born,” says Kennedy. “In the process of drawing from a photograph, based on a historical image, the surface layers are peeled away forming a structure that describes presence and absence as well as the relationship between history and death.” For his latest show at Gallery 9, Kennedy has studied surrealist photography from the 1920s and ’30s seeking out the specifics of a time and place within the imagery, producing some hauntingly odd reenactments such as his reproduction of From Dora Maar photograph ‘Portrait d’Ubu’ 1936. Kennedy’s work is evidence of a strange kind of mission given the Surrealist photographers own attempts to use photography against the realist orthodoxies of their day, yet ending up as icons of another time.

Until May 2
Gallery 9, Darlinghurst
Pic: Simon Kennedy, From Dora Maar photograph ‘Portrait d’Ubu’ 1936, 2015. Charcoal, pastel and ink on paper 153 x 105 cm.

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Andrew Frost

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