Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not A Pretty Picture

In the past, assembling images for an exhibition has been relatively easy for me. I worked within the self-imposed confines of series of images that were conceived within a narrow theme. Often, as in the case of my Lake Eyre and Self Vs Self series, each of the works were variations of a single idea explored within the same frame dimensions and colour palette. Even before I started them, I had a pretty clear idea of where they were going.
The process of editing photographs for my exhibition at MARS Gallery, next month, has been very different. When I first agreed to do the show, I figured I would select a couple of dozen images that had been shot, mostly informally, in different circumstances over the past few years and then hang them in such a way that they might be reasonably coherent as a group.
It hasn't worked out that way. As I look more closely at the photographs, I've been surprised to discover within them fragments of an unexpected and not entirely comfortable story about myself and other women my age. These fragments are most visible in our make-up-less faces and our naked bodies – very literally, given that many of us have symbols of the more intimate or troubling episodes of our personal narratives tattooed on our skins. These fragments combine to create a raw, arhythmic poetry in the many random acts of affection, self-gratification, and lust I've captured on celluloid. Unmistakeable traces of our successes and failures, our defiance and our many small surrenders are etched into our expressions.
I have no sentimentality about any of this. If anything, I want to be utterly ruthless about laying myself and my models – all of whom are my age and from a similarly unsettled background – quite literally bare, using the sexuality that pervades all the images to tempt the viewer to look closer but then daring them to keep looking as the emotional disarray of the underlying story becomes apparent.
I've changed the exhibition's title. What else could I call it but Porno?

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