The Landscape Revisioned Exhibition.
In my photography I am drawn to express a ‘revisioned’ interpretation of the landscape that conveys the chaotic and unstructured as well as the sparse and desolate aspects of the Australian landscape. I approach my work from an intuitive perspective rather than an intellectual one.
My aim is to challenge the viewer to see beyond our traditional visual response and provoke a more emotive consideration.
By using various techniques such as overlayed images I try to present a more emotive view that is more aligned to contemporary landscape painting than traditional photography while still remaining true to my medium. My technical process encompasses experimental and traditional methods and my subject matter varies from the everyday to the abstract.
I find beauty and foreboding in the textural and confused nature of the Australian bush – solitude and timelessness in the desert – conflict and assimilation at the intersection where the man made meets the natural.
Be they cloud formations, tactile grasses, or the meditative expanse of the outback desert, I try to bring a contemplative awareness to my images that invites reflection and questions how we respond to our landscape.
The Landscape Project.
I’ve always shot landscapes. It’s just something I do. From the picturesque to the banal – and often just for the hell of it. Apart from a few images (such as the Lake George series) I have always felt somewhat underwhelmed by my results. Sure, they fulfilled the criteria and they were visually appealing but I wanted a more interpretive approach – more of a deeper emotional response rather than just a purely visual one.
The photographic medium is choked with landscape images and most of it is just pretty pictures. Since Adams, Weston, and White, et al, redefined the way photographers approached the landscape, it seems to me very little has changed (with the possible exception of urban landscapes – a genre that has grown and evolved enormously over the past decade).
In recent years I have turned to landscape painters for inspiration, especially contemporary Australian painters (as this is the landscape that I work in) and in particular Fred Williams. My perhaps overly ambitious idea is that I could transcend the pictorial referencing of the landscape photographically in the same way that painters ‘see beyond’ the simple visual representation.
This frustrating (and slow) project has been bubbling away since early 2010. Hundreds of images and many hours walking in the bush have yielded more questions than results. The technical aspect has also been very challenging – film or digital, large format or small. Does it matter? In my minds eye I can ‘see’ what I wish the end result to look like, but as of yet I’m still unable to completely transfer that vision.
At this stage I’ve gone down a pathway that is beginning to take form. It may end up being further refined or completely transformed – but such is the nature of a journey.
The images that I’m showing here are ‘sketches’, experiments and references for work that is very much in its early stages.
Ashley Mackevicius. May 2011.