Sarah Annand: Building Blocks. Thomas Lord: Super Sport Sunday. Ellen Dahl: Altering the Edges. PhotoAccess. Until May 8, 2021.
Each of these three solo shows seek to explore the meanings and transformations of place in the landscape.
Each of the three contributing artist examines built and/or natural environments through distinctive media, with Annand tracing intersections between architectural photography and textile design, Lord producing exacting fine art darkroom prints, and Dahl combining lyrical poetry and photographic images to trace the meaning of the Anthropocene.
Sarah Annand is a Canberra-based artist, photographer and textile designer. In Building Blocks, she draws on distinctive modernist and brutalist architectural styles, demonstrating the power of simple shape and form in some of Canberra's architecture.
The thread of imagery which runs through Annand's photography, paintings and textile designs presents clever abstraction and repetition.
Photographic images of shapes, shadows, light and texture at places such as the Australian War Memorial Annex and the High Court of Australia reveal bold polygons and earthy textures.
The image NGA Series - 1, 2020 showing parts of the exterior of the National Gallery of Australia is particularly strong.
The forms and structures in this, and other such buildings, carry over into Annand's paintings and digital prints on various materials - canvas, cotton rag, paper and linen/cotton.
Super Sport Sunday from New Zealand artist Thomas Lord presents a series of large format black-and-white photographs exploring the greater Otago region. They show us spaces of contemplation - some wild, some urban and some curated to represent nature.
The title of the show is initially mysterious. We learn that places revealed in the images are settings for adventure activities - rites of passage for local young adults.
These are places where various unrevealed leisure activities were pursued. What those activities were, or why they happened in those places, is not important for us as viewers.
What we are shown is details of each place - mown grass, concrete structures, a wire fence, indigenous trees and introduced weeds. All those things and more are portrayed.
The large hand-printed darkroom prints are of excellent quality and a number of them drew me in to explore their content for a lengthy time.
Altering the Edges by Ellen Dahl (New South Wales) probes the idea of "landscape" to express trepidations around the Anthropocene.
She has a continuing interest in "places at the edge of the world" and, in this exhibition, presents works from the peripheries of the arctic island of Spitsbergen in Norway, and from Tasmania.
Each of Dahl's works incorporate a stanza of poetry by Hannah Jenkins below the image. The words are Jenkins' responses to the places portrayed. The suggestion is that poetic intimacy "might help us contend with mega-concepts like globalisation and the climate crisis that now threaten to overwhelm us".
I am enthusiastic about the use of words, whether poetry or prose, in association with images. I like it both overlaid on images or set out below. In this case I felt the white areas beneath the images were overly large spaces to contain the words.
Despite the artist's desire to "articulate uncertainties of place and belonging", the images themselves are sublime, as one would expect of these landscapes. I particularly liked #5, with the stanza "I stay low / like a stratum laid on the ocean / floor in the pull of supercontinents". And #18: "I pull minerals / for my mantle like / un-pristine royalty lying face down".