Charmwood, an exhibition by four Melbourne based photographers which opened at the Colour Factory on June 3.
Melbourne based curator and arts writer, Jessica O’Brien writes about the exhibition.
The latest exhibition to show at The Colour Factory exhibition space is Charmwood, a collaboration between Melbourne based photographers Todd Anderson- Kunert, Warwick Baker, Linsey Gosper and Michelle Tran.
The conceptual basis for the work is a small, fictional town called Charmwood, a place that could represent any and every suburban wasteland or depressed small town. The body of work comprises of a mixture of staged portraits, the minutiae of everyday life, objects and empty rooms.
There is a pervasive anxiety throughout the photographs, evident in the carefully arranged domestic interiors, empty landscapes and the awkwardness and vulnerability captured in the depictions of the towns inhabitants. Not all is bleak however. Themes of isolation, stunted dreams and the claustrophobic nature of small town lives are interspersed with works that contemplate the often surprising beauty of the kitsch and mundane.
Gosper, Baker, Tran and Anderson–Kunert employ a combination of staged and documentary photography, and share a similar pared-down aesthetic. The result is a cohesive, cinematic body of work, with each photograph building on an overall narrative.
The Charmwood exhibition represents a small selection of the work which eventuated from the overall project. The limited edition catalogue, free from the constraints of a limited gallery space, fleshes out the fictional Charmwood with a larger body of work from each artist.
Gallery manager and artist Linsey Gosper writes about the concept and process behind the exhibition.
At the beginning of 2010, considering the ‘line up’ of shows to be held at the Colour Factory Gallery, I wanted to be involved in a contemporary photographic exhibition that would embody some of the principals that the Colour Factory staff share – technical proficiency, the tradition of film based photography using a variety of camera formats to produce beautiful photographic (C-type) prints. The images in this exhibition have been scanned and printed onto photographic paper using a wet process, the same process for making analogue optical prints.
I wanted to collaborate with photographers who share a similar passion for these principles, a similar aesthetic and process of making work. I immediately thought of Anderson-Kunert, Baker & Tran. I have seen the work of these artists for a couple of years, and our common love for photography has strengthened our friendships.
To arrive at the theme of Charmwood we held regular show & tell meetings to find a common thread from the work we were already making. Through this continual shared dialogue we could see a connection in the documentation of our personal relationships, and a strong theme of the Australian domestic emerging. Our similar approach to making artwork has increased the exhibitions consistency.
Coming from a traditional documentary background, influenced by contemporary filmic and narrative based photography, we take inspiration from our life experiences and recreate these personal moments through staged fictional narratives. The exhibition features selected images from the broader narrative that is explored in the Charmwood book, also on show in the exhibition.