For most people photography is a point and shoot exercise. The purpose: record an image of family, friends or a holiday landscape to later share a happy occasion.
The advent of the digital age and social media sites allows professional and amateur photographer’s images to be viewed anywhere on Planet Earth that a computer, laptop or mobile phone can be connected via the Internet to a power source.
Images that can be any or all of the following: informative, humorous, shocking, titillating, intrusive and offensive, circulate, start fads and affect the popularity of events and celebrities.
A day in the life of an Internet image, about that: 24 hours, their continued societal influence other than in promotional activities is questionable.
Images taken by Photographic Artists are though, much more than that, they have the power to shape and change world opinion… think the Vietnam War, recent conflicts in Libya and Syria and the effects of climate change.
Award winning, Australian photographer, Joyce Evans’ exhibition, Edge Of The Road runs until the 3rd of November, 2013 at the Monash Gallery of Art in the Bowness Gallery.
A retrospective of the work of this important figure in Australian photography, the images on display are of enduring value and feature a series of large panoramic landscapes shot between 1988 -1996, shown alongside a selection of her landscapes from the MGA collection.
Joyce Evans says of her own images: “Whilst the images are not pre-visualised, they rely on both practice and chance. I am a camera. The images that emerge with the flow of time are images that live at the edge of consciousness….”
The images, political and thought provoking, show how we both use and abuse the land – cigarette butts, edge of the road detritus alongside the perfection of a spider’s web, fragile soil composts and replenishes under native ferns of delicate tracery – lovely and disturbing.
To some extent we are all cameras, images that surround us saved in our memory banks, available for retrieval when we need them.
Joyce Evan’s art transcends this normal human capability, she has the gift of seeing and recording both the beauty and ugliness of landscape vistas that are often overlooked, changes, mutations dismissed as being of little consequence.
Framed with care and precision each silver gelatin print is in its self a pleasing, often beautiful prism of the panorama to be seen from the edge of the road – closer inspection often tells a story of vegetation struggling to survive, indigenous species suffering under the burden of climate change.
Joyce Evans’ (b 1929) career as a leading gallerist started when she established the Church Street Photographic Centre in 1976, introducing audiences to the work of many young and established photographers as well as internationally renowned photo artists.
Joyce studied painting with John Olsen at the Bakery Art School, Sydney in 1967–68. Olsen’s influence made her aware of the power of the edge of the image to relate to what was not shown in the image. A premise that informs the images displayed in this exhibition.
When the Church Street Photographic Centre closed in 1982, Joyce Evans focused on her own photographic work.
She works across a number of photographic genres: portraiture, landscape, and documentary photography.
Themes that recur are: the edge of the road, road kills and the land, all captured in photo essays and photographic work that involve the viewer in prisms of immediate and affecting clarity.
In her landscapes, Joyce Evans portrays the essence of place and the spiritual and psychological sensation of the image location.
I attended the exhibition opening and caught Joyce Evans’ floor talk. A mature woman at the top of her game and with a wealth of experience, she delighted the audience with the stories behind the prints and an explanation of camera techniques and angles.
Must say that I was tempted to include an individual write up of each of my favourite prints in this review of the Edge Of The Road Exhibition but really, you need to view Joyce Evans’ images first hand to appreciate the artistry and expertise of this impressive photographic artist.
The exhibition is free and a visit to Monash Gallery of Art, situated by a lake surrounded by tall gums, with an on-site café – art, coffee and cake followed by a walk around the lake is a lovely day out.
Janet Walker, Special Features Victoria, The Culture Concept Circle 2013
Joyce Evans: Edge of the Road
Monash Gallery of Art
The Home of Australian Photography
Telephone +61 3 8544 0500 | Closed Monday
Tuesday to Friday 10 am–5 pm Weekend 12 – 5 pm
Images: Used with Permission courtesy Artist Joyce Evans