From Sharne Wolff…
Dissected by the power of an oversize gum tree and criss-crossed by ropes that result in a striking composition, a picture by artist photographer Tamara Dean depicts a group of adolescent girls and boys perched on the edge of a dark waterhole. Caught up in a moment where time might well have stopped, each awaits their turn on a rope swing. Strong light on young bodies and faces heightens the feeling of awkwardness and anticipation. Entitled Ebenezer Rock Drop it’s one photograph from a series recently selected as a winner in the 2013 New York Photo Awards. Aptly titled The Edge, this series of work marks a spiritual halfway point – that uncertain time between youth and adulthood, innocence and responsibility.
While owing a debt to the work of artist Bill Henson, Dean’s practice, which explores ritual and rites of passage, centres itself in the environment and a search for belonging to place. For her exhibition Dean has employed locations in Australia and New York where she recently spent time on an artist residency. Several photographs of a young boy such as the baptismal image, The Edge, are taken in close up but most draw on their surroundings to convey mood and suggest narratives. Bright green vegetation evident in several images adds a budding, spontaneous flavour while a dark abandoned railway tunnel and cave evoke a melancholic and, at times, chilling atmosphere.
Until March 23
Olsen Irwin Gallery, Woollahra.
Pic: Tamara Dean, Ebenezer Rock Drop, 2013, photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper, 150 x 200cm (unframed); 67 x 100cm edition of 5 (unframed). Courtesy the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery.