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Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Nelson, 1949).

New Zealand photographer. Aberhart became a leading photographer in New Zealand from the 1970s with his distinctive 8×10 inch black-and-white photographs, taken with a 19th-century large format Field Camera. He is particularly well known for his images of disappearing cultural history, often melancholic in tone, in New Zealand.

Aberhart’s use of an ‘outmoded’ process for picturing subjects in apparent decay or decline paradoxically re-invigorated them. He was inspired by the documenting traditions of New Zealand’s itinerant 19th-century photographers. His generally provincial subjects included vacant architectural interiors and exteriors, such as domestic houses, Masonic lodges, churches, Maori meeting-houses, and cemeteries, war memorials, museum exhibits, landscapes, and horizons (see A Distant View of Taranaki, 14 February 2009, Auckland, A.G.). Aberhart also produced several compelling portraits, especially those from the late 1970s and early 1980s of his daughters (e.g. Kamala and Charlotte in the Grounds of the Lodge, Tawera, Oxford, 1981; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.)....

Article

Edward Hanfling

[William] (Franklin)

(b Port Chalmers, Jan 23, 1935).

New Zealand photographer, sculptor, installation artist, and painter, active also in France and Great Britain. Culbert consistently explored the workings of both natural and artificial light in his works, as well as the transformation of found objects and materials. A student at Hutt Valley High School, his artistic ability was fostered by the radical art educator James Coe. From 1953 to 1956, Culbert studied at the Canterbury University College School of Art in Christchurch. Moving to London in 1957 to attend the Royal College of Art, he became interested in the photographic works of László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, while his paintings were informed by Cubism. In 1961 Culbert moved to Croagnes in Provence, France; he remained in France and the UK for the rest of his career.

During 1967–8, Culbert shifted his focus from the analysis of form and light in painting to the analysis of actual light, often arranging light bulbs in grid formations. In ...

Article

Jeanette Hoorn

(b Perth, Jan 31, 1969).

Australian Aboriginal painter and photographer of Badimaya and Yamatji descent. Convent educated, she trained at Curtin University and at the Claremont School of Art, both in Perth, between 1992–5. Dowling gained broad recognition from the late 1990s with her confronting and haunting paintings that tell stories about her family and the history of British colonialism and race relations in Western Australia (see fig.). Rather than working in a traditional indigenous vocabulary, Dowling paints in a global style, incorporating a remarkable range of traditions. These include social realism, icon painting, Pop art and Surrealism, as well as Australian indigenous art. She combines these styles in a unique way in paintings that range from miniature icons to large studio portraits. Her style is ‘painterly’ and Post-modern, her imagery decidedly political.

Photographs from her childhood spent in suburban Perth are the basis for some of her group portraits. These family snaps act as an aide-mémoire in her paintings and her work is influenced by and contributes to the international debate that the French historian Pierre Nora’s work has engendered around history and memory. Her ...

Article

John R. Neeson

(b Ballarat, Victoria, 1946).

Australian photographer, film maker, painter, and installation artist. Dunkley-Smith studied at Ballarat Teacher’s College (1964–5), Melbourne Teacher’s College (1966), Ballarat School of Mines and Industries (1967–71), and at Hornsey College of Art, London (1974–6). Since the late 1970s, Dunkley-Smith has made an enduring foundational contribution to analogue and digital, time-based, and venue-specific installation practice in Australia. Initially trained as a painter, Dunkley-Smith’s work with film and multiple slide projection installations date from the mid-1970s when he was living in London. His installations are characterized by duplicate and triplicate screens and sequences of images of time-based works that utilize procedural methods addressing the relation of pattern to indeterminacy, aspects of representation, and audience desire.

In 1982 Dunkley-Smith was awarded an Overseas Fellowship at the Institute of Art and Urban Resources PS1, New York. From 1987 all his works were styled Perspectives for Conscious Alterations in Everyday Life...

Article

Leonard Bell

(b London, Feb 24, 1928).

New Zealand photographer. Born and trained in London, she migrated to New Zealand in 1958. By 1964 she was working as a freelance professional photographer, and was soon prominent in several genres, notably portraiture, in particular of artists, potters, writers, and children, and ‘street’ photography, as well as photojournalism for periodicals and newspapers, such as the Wine Review and the New Zealand Herald. Several highly successful books followed from the 1970s. A major exhibition of her work, organized by the Auckland Art Gallery, toured the country from 2001 to 2004. Subsequently, there have been further acclaimed exhibitions of her work. She is regarded as one the key photographers in New Zealand since World War II.

Friedlander’s portraits reveal an extraordinary ability to bring into visibility qualities of personality and temperament, while her photographs overall can be seen as explorations of places and their inhabitants, in particular the complexities of people’s relationships with their fellows and the societies they live in. In these explorations Friedlander herself was a participant, that is, her photographs are also investigations into her own place in specific social and cultural situations, whether in New Zealand, Israel, England, or Tokelau in the Pacific. For Instance, her photographs of elderly Maori women with ...

Article

Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...

Article

Charles Green

(b Sydney, Dec 13, 1972).

Australian photographer and video artist. Gladwell graduated in 1996 from the Sydney College of the Arts with a BFA and then from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, with an MFA in 2001. He then studied at Goldsmiths College, University of London, between 2001–2. Gladwell’s rise to acclaim was immediate, accelerated by the art market boom that lasted until the financial crash of 2008 and the proliferation of biennales around the globe, in many of which Gladwell participated (Venice Biennales, 2007 and 2009). With extraordinarily gorgeous, slow-motion cinematography but, importantly, a minimum of post-production digital manipulation, Gladwell’s early works consistently portrayed understated, seemingly casual feats of physical coordination, grace and physical endurance by young skateboarders, break-dancers (see fig.), capoeira practitioners or BMX cyclists. In his iconic early work, Storm Sequence (2000), the artist twisted and pirouetted in balletic slow motion on his skateboard in the face of an approaching storm as ocean waves crashed against the Bondi Beach foreshore upon which he was poised. In ...

Article

Anne Kirker

(b Grafton, NSW, Nov 14, 1953).

Australian photographer and installation artist. Hall began her career as a photographer in the mid-1970s, relinquishing a formal training in painting. She produced black-and-white modernist images of people embedded in their surroundings, favouring the incidental and over-looked. However by 1978, when she had lived for a time in London, Hall shifted away from the documentary tradition. Impressed by the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery that year, she started to create small yet dense tableaux from discarded objects. During 1978–82 she was a student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY and, on returning to Australia, wholeheartedly adopted strategies of appropriation and intricate fabrication for her photographs. One of the first Australian artists qualified to teach photo-studies, Hall taught at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide, from 1983.

Hall’s camera images became increasingly idiosyncratic, playful and interpretatively complex. Instead of seeing meaning in the world around her, she decisively devised projects that explored major philosophical themes. In ...

Article

Charles Green

(b Melbourne, 1955).

Australian photographer. Henson attended Prahran College of Advanced Education, Melbourne, but, precocious and fiercely independent, discontinued his studies in 1975. Recognition by art museums was immediate and his first solo exhibition was at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria at the age of 19. From that point onwards, he was noted for his immensely ambitious, large series of photographs, almost always collectively and individually titled Untitled, each title only differentiated by date. He consistently depicted two subjects: night-time views of industrial and suburban panoramas in and around Melbourne, and carefully choreographed portrayals of adolescents, usually photographed in the studio. Henson’s 1979 and 1980–82 black-and-white photographs of lonely-looking figures in crowds were the works that first brought him great acclaim, but his mid-1980s polyptychs of young girls, junkies and naked street children, juxtaposed with views of Baroque palaces and museums and shown at the 1988 Venice Biennale, were the occasion for the first of many, highly sensational public controversies surrounding the artist’s depiction of naked adolescents. Henson’s juxtaposition of a sexual underworld with the art and architecture of museums embodied a widely shared Post-modern notion of cultural dislocation whilst at the same time communicating, thanks to Henson’s prodigious virtuosity and study of older art, the pathos and self-possession familiar from Baroque painting....

Article

John R. Neeson

Installation art is a hybrid of visual art practices including photography, film, video, digital imagery, sound, light, performance, happenings, sculpture, architecture, and painted and drawn surfaces. An installation is essentially site specific, three-dimensional, and completed by the interaction of the observer/participant in real time and space. The point of contention with any definition concerns the site specificity, ephemerality, and consequently ‘collectability’ of the work itself. One view has it that the category installation is presupposed on the transitory and impermanent, the second that an installation can be collected and re-exhibited as a conventional work of art.

In either case installation had its genesis in the environments and happenings devised by artists in the 1950s in New York and Europe (Nouveau Réalisme in France, Arte Povera in Italy). These in turn had antecedents in the architectural/sculptural inventions such as the various Proun rooms of El Lissitzky and the Merzbau of Kurt Schwitters...

Article

Blair French

(b Brisbane, Aug 16, 1959).

Australian photographer. She is best known for her various large-scale colour photographic series produced from the mid-1990s onwards. Sometimes she depicted figures in the midst of carefully staged, physically expressive acts; on other occasions she has inserted forms and objects, for example carpets or furniture, into landscape settings. Her photographs merge approaches and visual structures drawn from painting, performance, cinema and the history of photography, resulting in images that dramatize the conditions and effects of human encounter with both natural and cultural environments.

Through the 1990s, Laing depicted this relationship in terms of encounters with technology, in particular technologies of flight and velocity. In her brownwork and airport (1996–7) series, Laing photographed the technological apparatus of air transport, in some instances posing figures in performative relationships to such machinery. She later photographed even more technologically sophisticated flight machinery in her NASA works (1998–9). In flight research...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Brisbane, Nov 12, 1960).

Australian Aboriginal photographer and film maker. After graduating from Queensland College of Art, Brisbane (1982), she moved to Sydney, later dividing her time between Sydney and New York. Moffatt began her career as an experimental film maker and as a producer of music videos, and she continued making films after establishing herself as a photographer. At her first solo exhibition in 1989 (Sydney, Austral. Cent. Phot.) she presented the series Something More (six cibachrome and three black-and-white photographs, each 1×1.3 m, priv. col. see B. Reinhardt, ed., p. 28) which won her swift international acclaim. These theatrically staged and painted tableaux tell the story of a young woman’s ill-fated journey to seek success in a big city. The influence of cinema on these landscapes points to Moffatt’s wider interest in popular culture, suggesting her desire to draw upon the collective memory embodied in traditional stories as well as in film and television. Her concern with power relations is demonstrated in the series ...

Article

Daniel Palmer

(b Lower Hutt, April 15, 1945).

New Zealand photographer, painter, curator and writer, active also in Australia. North began photographing and painting as a teenager, producing photographs as ‘notes for paintings’ from his motorbike in the early to mid-1960s. He completed a certificate of General Design at the School of Design, Wellington (1966) and a Bachelor of Arts degree at Victoria University, Wellington (1967), majoring in English Literature. North was appointed as the Director of Manawatu Art Gallery in 1969, before moving to Adelaide in 1971 to take up the role of Curator of Paintings at the Art Gallery of South Australia (1971–80). He also completed an MA at Flinders University, Adelaide (1977). From 1980–84 he was Foundation Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, before and after the museum opened to the public in 1982. Although born in New Zealand, North arrived in Australia in ...

Article

William Main

(b Auckland, Nov 2, 1941).

New Zealand photographer. In 1974 he attended a Photo-Forum workshop tutored by John B. Turner, a lecturer of considerable importance in New Zealand photographic education. Exhibitions and published works followed, with the dark, ill-defined images of his folio Mars Hotel (1975) serving to denote his individualistic stance. Portraiture featured prominently in his early work, and he frequently made self-portraits (e.g. A. NZ, p. 25); the photographs are pervaded by a sense of anxiety and dislocation and have been likened to film stills. In the late 20th century he was taking natural features and animals as his subjects, producing images that are stark and slightly menacing.

Art New Zealand, 8 (1977–8), pp. 19, 25, 65–7A. Johnston: ‘Peter Peryer’, Anxious Images: Aspects of Recent New Zealand Art (exh. cat., Auckland, C.A.G., 1984), pp. 53–8Peter Peryer/Photographs (exh. cat. by J. Barr and M. Barr, Wanganui, Sarjeant A.G., 1985), pp. 25–31...

Article

Helen Ennis

Photography in Australia has many parallels with that in other countries but it also has many significant differences that are the result of specific historical conditions and circumstances. Features in common include the rapid acceptance of photographic technologies, the importance of portraiture and the view of trade in the 19th century, the engagement with international styles such as Pictorialism, the prominent role of illustrative and advertising photography from the 1920s onwards, and the impact of modernism, Post-modernism, and post-colonialism. These features are not unique to Australia—they can be seen as manifestations of photography’s globalizing impulses—but nonetheless they do have a particular local or national inflection. Equally important are the aspects of Australian photographic practice that are different to photography elsewhere. Chief among these is the photography associated with relations between indigenous and settler Australians. Photographs of Aboriginal people were prominent in the 19th century and photographs by Aboriginal people have been central to Australian photographic practice and the broader visual arts since the early 1980s. Also conspicuous is an orientation towards the external world and the prevalence of realist approaches, which can be related to materialist preoccupations and anti-intellectual traditions that have underpinned national life in some periods....

Article

John B. Turner

The pattern of development in photography in New Zealand was similar to other colonies in the Victorian era. Progress was slow because of the country’s geographical remoteness and small population. Difficulties of overseas supply and local demand—the very traffic of equipment, materials, ideas, and pictures—have shaped all levels of achievement. Pioneer photographers were participant-observers in the process of nation building who could not but see the world according to the values of their upbringing. For instance, after the wars over land ceased in the 1880s, defeated Maori were imagined as a dying race and their culture was studied with fresh urgency. Maori subjects were common among photographers; the treatments ranging from nostalgic romanticism to abject realism.

Pictorial photography, photography’s first international art movement, dominated the camera club movement throughout the first half of the 20th century, and effectively muted the radical social precepts of modernism to the point of portraying it as an essentially anti-Pictorialist movement. In a society where art practice tends more towards the experiential than cerebral, the influence of Post-modernism, generally perceived as an anti-modernist movement, in its turn seems largely academic....

Article

Derek Schulz

(b Wanganui, New Zealand, Sept 4, 1941).

Maori sculptor. He graduated from the University of Auckland School of Fine Art in 1962 and lived in England from 1963 to 1974. He undertook postgraduate studies in sculpture and photography under Hubert Dalwood at Hornsey College of Art, London (1965–6), and exhibited in group shows in England during the 1960s and early 1970s. His sculpture is characterized by an uncompromising use of common building materials adopted to a formal abstraction. As such it was part of a reaction in the mid-1960s to the sculpture of Anthony Caro, and a robustly independent response to the American Minimalism associated with such artists as Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Pine’s interests, however, were always eclectic and his work reflected a wide range of architectural and cultural references. His return to New Zealand in 1974 consolidated this aspect of his sculpture as he began to explore the architecture and arts of Maoritanga. His ...

Article

Helen Ennis

(b Berlin, Sept 18, 1913; d Melbourne, Aug 7, 2007).

Australian photographer of German birth. His father, Dr Johannes Sievers, was an architectural historian. Sievers trained at the Contempora private art academy in Berlin in 1933. Due to his leftwing sympathies and Jewish descent, Sievers left Germany in 1934 and lived and worked in Portugal. He returned to Berlin in 1936 where he began teaching at the Contempora academy. Sievers developed his interest in architectural photography through his father, who was an expert on the German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and through contact with influential modernist architect Erich Mendelsohn. Sievers applied to migrate to Australia in 1938—one of his sponsors was photographer Axel Poignant (1906–86), then living in Western Australia—but after being called up to the Luftwaffe he fled to England in 1938. He arrived in Australia in August that year and settled in Melbourne. He married Finnish émigré Brita Klarich in 1939 (divorced in 1972), and had two children, Karin (...

Article

(b Christchurch, July 3, 1947).

New Zealand photographer. He studied at the Ilam School of Art in Christchurch (1968–71) and from 1972 to 1975 at the Royal College of Art in London, where he settled. Though trained as a sculptor, he chose to work with photography, concentrating at first on realistic scenes with curious details and odd juxtapositions of objects. He developed his mature style in the 1980s, creating purely theatrical and artificial images from constructed sets and actors, without resorting to trick photographic techniques. Works such as ...

Article

John B. Turner

[ Anna ] ( Jacoba )

(b Leiden, April 28, 1936).

New Zealand photographer of Dutch birth. Inspired by the Family of Man exhibition, which she saw in 1957 in Amsterdam, and Johan van der Keuken’s book, Wij Zijn 17 (We are seventeen) in 1956, Westra documented her classmates at the Industrieschool vor Meisjes in Rotterdam, where she studied arts and craft teaching. Holidaying in New Zealand in 1957 she was captivated by the relaxed lifestyle of the indigenous Maori people and stayed to photograph them. Encouraged by assignments from the Maori Affairs Department’s magazine Te Ao Hou (The New World) in the early 1960s, her work, at first romantic, became increasingly insightful as she documented contemporary Maori life. In 1964 Westra was at the centre of a public controversy when the government ordered the pulping of one of her primary school bulletins, Washday at the Pa (e.g. Wheeee! Baby Erua is all gurgles as… ). This essay on the life of a rural Maori family living in a dilapidated farmhouse was deemed by her critics, especially the Maori Women’s Welfare League, to reinforce stereotypes of Maori as backwards and unambitious....