Monash Gallery of Art launches Life aquatic
Narelle Autio, Catherine Nelson and Ruth Maddison
The Monash Gallery of Art will host the work of three contemporary photographers, Narelle Autio, Ruth Maddison and Catherine Nelson, in an exhibition titled Life aquatic, which will run from 10 December 2016 – 26 February 2017.
Scientists like to say that Earth was misnamed. Given that over 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, it would be more accurate to say that we live on planet Water. Life aquatic will plunge the viewer into underwater landscapes where life forms are suspended, interconnected and bubbling with quiet potential. In different ways, each artist asks us to sink below the horizon of our civilised lives to immerse ourselves in planet Water.
Life aquatic will showcase the work of Narelle Autio, a photojournalist and avid traveller, who works in documentary mode. Working above and below the waterline, she covers subjects such as children jesting in the waves; isolated coastlines dotted with seaweed and the flotsam that holidaymakers leave in the sand.
Through the four series featured in the exhibition, Autio expresses the athletic action of crowded surf beaches as well as the solitude of inland swimming holes. She documents the spontaneity of live action like a street photographer, but she also transforms plunging bodies into sublime figures that float in an aquatic abyss.
Self-taught photographer and artist Ruth Maddison brings her series of camera-less ‘lumen-prints’ to Life aquatic, which she produced using seaweed between 2000 and 2006. Arranging plant forms on sheets of photographic paper, Maddison exposed her organic compositions to sunlight to create these works. She further enhanced the shadowy images by allowing random reactions between the salty seaweed and photographic materials.
Catherine Nelson has developed a seductively hyper-real form of photography. She ‘paints’ fantastical landscapes by digitally combining and distorting photographs taken in her actual environment. Nelson’s most recent series of images have adopted a submarine perspective on aquatic landscapes. Origins was created using photographs of mangrove swamps in south-east Asia, while Submerged was composed from thousands of close-up photographs taken in a small lily pond in Belgium. Life aquatic also features Nelson’s new video work ‘Supernova,’ an animated sequence of rare and endangered plants from the National Botanic Garden of Belgium.
10 December 2016 – 26 February 2017 Monash Gallery of Art
Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill