Full Spectrum offers audiences a challenging and thoughtful view of photography today by presenting the image as both conceptual and cultural object; deconstructed, layered, distilled, practiced and valued. The artworks presented serve as reflections of each photographer’s concerns, explorations and pursuits of our technical craft. We have asked; what does the image mean? What is implied? Does the image remain inert within its frame and/or its file type? What form can the image take? What role does the viewer play in the photograph?
Forming the core of the Photography Department at Adelaide College of the Arts, Ackland, Felber and Nolan believe that rigorous investigation of conceptual photography and continued practicing of technique are vital to the development of new work. Following the position that perception, intent and meaning are inherent in a contemporary photographic practice we would like to add the consideration of modes of viewing as important to the integrity of the image.
Will Nolan’s work is forensic in nature, true to technical specificity, intensely singular but always presented in serial form; there is a kind of repetitious obsession for detail drawn out through a purist’s methodological approach. His works are slippery things, where beauty in all things is obsessively presented, where scale is exaggerated and where time is stopped – so we might as viewers, wonder and remember the disposable.
Joe Felber, conversely, is lyrical, teasing and inherently Swiss in his approach to image-making. This of course is important, as it is his design sensibility that informs his conceptual deconstructions of the photographic image, and his dry sense of humour that imbue his layered images with a staccato rhythm; at once aesthetically pleasing and conceptually challenging. Disorienting and alluring, the artist plays with temporal and spatial instability suggesting contradiction and endless permutations of the truthfulness of the image recorded by the camera.
Gregory Ackland’s images conjure emotional responses to the vastness of nature. They are about the awe and wonder found inside the viewer, the image a trigger for this. Hope is also important in his images, as he intimates through his thoughtful still lives. The image becomes a vehicle, engaged in metaphor and eerie silence. The emptiness of Ackland’s pictures suggest an emotional void, the picture is rendered only as ink on paper, or emulsion on celluloid and it is the viewer’s interaction with the picture that transforms it; as if the picture is a trap patiently awaiting its prey.
I encourage you to spend time with the pictures in this exhibition, explore the details, rhythms and colour palettes of each artist’s work. A consistent thread found in all of the works is one of observance, all of these pictures resonate as evidence of a keen attention to detail and of a studied process of looking and seeing.
Country Arts SA will tour Full Spectrum to regional South Australian galleries through 2012-2015 as part of their touring program.
Gregory Ackland, 2011