Mother and Daughter: A Conversation

Art Life , Exhibitions May 16, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

 The story of Olive Cotton and Sally McInerney is of lives lived in circumstances far from what you may expect from one of Australia’s leading modernist photographers and her daughter. Together with her conservationist father, Ross, and McInerney’s younger brother, the family lived for several years in a large tent set in the thick bush of the Illunie Range in central west NSW. In the early 1950s they moved to Spring Farm and McInerney’s childhood was spent in a two-room weatherboard cottage without electricity or running water. Cotton, who’d earlier been married to Max Dupain and managed his Sydney photography studio during World War II, kept a Rolleiflex camera for her photography that McInerney says was “an important presence in our everyday life”. She began using a camera herself at the age of eight.

QT_May 16_Mother and Daughter

Olive Cotton died in 2003 but lived long enough to be both surprised and delighted at the rekindled interest in her work. An overdue survey was held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2000 and some of the included images, including the signature Tea Cup Ballet, are displayed. For her part, the lesser-known McInerney has held numerous solo shows and was a recent winner of the Sydney Life Photography Exhibition. Mother and Daughter: A Conversation is the first time work from both women has been exhibited together. A strong interest in nature and the play of light and shadow runs through the practice of both photographers while McInerney’s images of still life domestic scenes highlight nostalgic moments.

Until May 24
Damien Minton Gallery, Redfern
Pic: Sally McInerney, Koorawatha 2003, 40x50cm, Pigment print on cotton rag art paper. Courtesy the artist.

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Sharne Wolff

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