Exciting. Absorbing. Exquisite. Quirky. Powerful. Just some of the responses I had when exploring this exhibition.
The Journey Through is a group exhibition featuring works created during Concept to Exhibition, an eight-month long PhotoAccess workshop led by Canberra photographer Grace Costa. It features brand new work from Astrid Breuer, Alan Charlton, Michelle Crosbie, Shan Crosbie, Leanne Harrison, Tracy Hebden, Tessa Ivison, Ina Jalil, Thea McGrath, Linda Roche, and Michael Taylor.
PhotoAccess director Dr Kirsten Wehner says, "Each artist is simultaneously exploring, confronting and also sharing their voice through photographic expression."
Charlton, much of whose photography I am familiar with, has produced an outstanding new set of work. Travelling the familiar highway between Canberra and Goulburn, he has explored scenes that we may or may not have noticed. Fourteen inkjet prints surround a substantial long concertina book, filling one of the longest walls of the gallery.
By contrast, another participant with whose imagery I am familiar is exhibiting just one work. It is substantial 76 centimetre by 76 centimetre print. This powerful portrait of Taylor confronts visitors as they explore the space.
Jalil also has contributed a self-portrait, but she is displaying three versions of herself exploring the different identities to which she feels expected to conform - cultural expectations, corporate persona, and photographer. This is another strong work.
McGrath's contribution is a wonderful series of cyanotypes with hand stitching using silk thread, sharing some intimate detail of her broken maternal lines as she seeks to heal old wounds. Each work is displayed in delightful hung frames and the overall display of her eight works is another gem.
Breuer offers an "immersive audio-visual experience", wanting visitors to feel the rejuvenating powers of wetlands and leave feeling calm. She has achieved her aim with a short video comprising of images of Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
Shan Crosbie offers a contribution that is at once whimsical, delightful, and educational. Images of 55 eggs laid by six hens in July have been transferred onto handmade paper - from egg cartons. They are displayed in one group, alongside seven separate chicken images with titles such as Allosaurus and Bambiraptor.
Harrison contributes six large inkjet prints featuring juxtaposed blurred images with more recognisable forms; unified they draw us in through a strong sense of movement.
Hebden focuses on her personal embracing of what she describes as the connection between the Sacred Feminine and Self. These works are a response to the current movement of women leading by reclaiming feminine traits for their strength and power.
Ivison explores the unspoken side of grief, having taken shots that she felt reflected how she was feeling as she walked along familiar paths while dealing with the death of her partner.
Roche is displaying four dazzling coloured images - astrophotography and light painting. They immediately command attention and then keep you looking at their boldness.
Michelle Crosbie's prints explore textured surfaces highlighted within shadows. Along with all the other works in this excellent exhibition, they demand your exploration of them.
Costa has done a fine job of mentoring these 11 photographers of varying skill levels. They have each produced a new body of work building on a creative concept outside their comfort zone. Each body of work tells an excellent personal story, as they have used their photographic voices to confront and share.
- Various artists: The Journey Through. PhotoAccess. Until October 10, 2020