Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bowness Photography Prize finalists

Finalists for the 2012 Bowness Photography Prize are:
Robert ASHTON, Daniel BOETKER-SMITH, Kirsten BOWERS, Jane BROWN, Chris BUDGEON, Elaine CAMPANER, Rowan CONROY, Jagath DHEERASEKARA, Stephen DUPONT, Cherine FAHD, Jacqueline FELSTEAD, Siri HAYES, Christopher HOLT, Tim JOHNSON, Francis KEOGH, Bronek KOZKA, Jesse MARLOW, Joseph MCGLENNON,
Georgia METAXAS, Michael MILLER, Phuong NGO, Simon OBARZANEK, Gerard O’CONNOR and Marc WASIAK, Polixeni PAPAPETROU, Izabela PLUTA, Clare RAE, Hannah RAISIN, Lynne ROBERTS-GOODWIN, Tobias ROWLES, Julie RRAP, Rodney SCHAFFER, Lani SELIGMAN, Martin SMITH, Valerie SPARKS, David STEPHENSON, Darren SYLVESTER, Claudia TERSTAPPEN, Christian THOMPSON, Stephanie VALENTIN, Justine VARGA, Daniel VON STURMER and William YANG.
This year’s eminent judging panel, Magnum photographer TRENT PARKE, NGV’s Senior Curator Photography ISOBEL CROMBIE, and MGA Gallery Director SHAUNE LAKIN have selected 42 photographs from approximately 2 500 entries – the largest number received in the history of Australia’s most coveted photography prize.
Shaune Lakin, MGA Gallery Director, said on behalf of the judging panel: “With a record number of entries and an extraordinarily high caliber of work, the judging process was very difficult. So we selected more finalists than usual – to reflect the strength of the field. The finalists represent the best in contemporary Australian photography and their photographs will make an amazing exhibition; I am sure choosing a winner in early October will be incredibly difficult.”
The winner of the $25 000 prize will be announced at MGA on Thursday 4 OCTOBER 2012. Three finalists will be awarded an Adobe Honourable Mention prize. One of Australia’s most eminent cultural figures, Penelope Seidler AM, will join the judging panel to choose the winner of the 2012 Bowness Photography Prize.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Catherine Clover at Platform

Catherine Clover; A Filth of Starlings 
opening Friday 3rd August 2012

This exhibition comprises 24 A1 size works on paper, two in each cabinet. The works are, effectively, lists of the collective nouns used for a variety of urban bird species, including ravens, sparrows, crows and starlings. A huge variety of collective nouns, particularly for groupings of animals, are a characteristic of the English language. These nouns are intriguing and some of the versions can be traced back to 15th century Britain. The exhibition looks at our ambiguous relationship with these birds through numerousness and close proximity, two of the main reasons many of us dislike them.

Exhibition Dates: 3rd-25th August
Open Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cities in transition symposium: Photography in Paris and Australia at the turn of the 20th century

AGNSW's upcoming exhibition Eugène Atget: old Paris has a number of related events, a highlight is Judy Annear's Cities in transition symposium: Photography in Paris and Australia at the turn of the 20th centuryhttp://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/calendar/cities-in-transition-symposium/, that explores the early 20th-century documentary photography of Eugène Atget and assesses its relevance to an Australian context. Speakers include Françoise Reynaud, curator of photographs, Musée Carnavalet, Paris; Helen Ennis; Martyn Jolly;Catherine De Lorenzo and chaired by Judy Annear.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Janina Green @ Colour Factory

Janina Green's current exhibition Be Home Before Dark at the Colour Factory propels us into what Simon Gregg describes as "psycho-scapes" - those haunting nature experiences that come with their own soundtrack. Janina Green uses film and prints by hand but don't let that put you off. Check it out until 28 July 2012

Colour Factory Melbourne
409-429 Gore Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065.
T (+61) 03-9419-8756.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Carly Grace at Platform

If you’re travelling through the Degraves Subway in Melbourne take some time out and catch
an exhibition by Carly Grace, Sonja Hornung and Noriko Nakamura at Platform. Until 29 June 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Craig Barrett and David Tatnall at Gasworks Arts Park

David Tatnall is well known to MGA audiences through his innovative public programs using pinhole cameras, as a finalist in the Bowness Photography Prize, and by his work in the MGA Collection.

David's recent work can be seen in a new exhibition with Graig Barrett at Gasworks Arts Park from 5 to 24 June. Barrett and Tatnall have been friends for more than thirty years and have each have pursued their own artistic paths. Now they are showing together for the first time in Shared vision. Until 24 June

Opening Night: Wed 6 June from 6pm to 8pm
Exhibition Dates: 5 to 24 June
Time: Daily 9am to 4pm
Enquiries: Tracey McIrvine 03 8606 4200
Venue: Angela Robarts-Bird Gallery
More Information:   gasworks.org.au

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cold Eels on Radio National's Awaye

Radio National's  Daniel Browning talks with the curator of MGA's current exhibition Cold Eels and Distant Thoughts, Djon Mundine and artists Adam Hilll nad Jason Wing 

First up they unpack the enigmatic title of the exhibition that comes from a statement by Afro-American boxer Jack Johnson (1878–1946). When asked why white women were attracted to black men, Johnson amusingly and cryptically replied: ‘We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts’. GREAT LISTENING!

The eight photographers included in this exhibition belong to two generations: the younger Adam Hill and Jason Wing, who is of Aboriginal and Chinese descent; and six mid-career photographers, Michael Aird, Mervyn Bishop, Gary Lee, Peter Yanada McKenzie, Ricky Maynard and Michael Riley. 

Jason WING
Birripi people
An Australian government initiative self-portrait  2012
22 laser prints, black paint
collection of the artist

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Lee Grant , winner of the Bowness Photography Prize in 2010 is editor of Timemachine a collaborative online magazine with editorial contributions from Tom Williams and Sarah Rhodes.

The current issue titled Elegy features an essay from Helen Ennis' Reveries and the work of photographers well known to MGA audiences , such as Stephen Dupont and Georgia Metaxas plus others.The website states "Timemachine publishes contemporary photography from Australia and elsewhere in the world. Our emphasis is on showing new work and longer term projects; and bringing the concerns of photographers and their colleagues to wider attention.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hoppé is the Leibovitz of the early 20th century

In June MGA hosts Emil Otto Hoppé:  society, studio, and street celebrating the work of a pivotal figure in photography in the first half of the twentieth century.

Cecil Beaton called him ‘The Master’; during the 1920s, he was the most famous photographer in the world. Now El Mundo applauds Hoppe's exhibition at MAPFRE in Madrid 

During the 1920s and 30s, Hoppé was one of Europe’s most sought-after photographers. His studio in South Kensington was a magnet for the rich and famous, from dancers to film stars and from royalty to leading writers and artists.

Hoppé photographed the most famous cultural identities of the era.  This exhibition features remarkable portraits of most of the leading social and cultural figures of the period, including King George V and Queen Elizabeth, Albert Einstein, Fritz Lang, Paul Robeson, and Benito Mussolini.

Many of Hoppé’s subjects included major literary figures. George Bernard Shaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, AA Milne, Ezra Pound, Vita Sackville West, Anita Loos, Somerset Maugham, Henry James,  Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy all sat for Hoppé. The artists Jacob Epstein, Marinetti, Marsden Hartley, Käthe Kollwitz and dancers Margot Fonteyn, Martha Graham and Nijinsky also had their portraits taken by Hoppé. 

The works of Emil Otto Hoppé come to Melbourne for the first time in an exhibition at MGA from 9 June to 29 July 2012.

Drawn from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London and the EO Hoppé Archive in Pasadena, California.

image:Emil Otto Hoppé
Ezra Pound  1918
gelatin-silver print

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rod McNicol wins NPPP

Congratulations to Rod McNicol, winner of the National Portrait Photography Prize for 2012 with his portrait of Jack Charles.

This year judges the judges were Louise Doyle, Director, National Portrait Gallery, Joanna Gilmour, Curator, National Portrait Gallery and invited guest judge, Blair French, Director, Artspace Sydney.

The forty six finalists were selected from 1500 entries. See it at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra until May 20.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Storm chaser

Nick Moir is well known for his news photography and has covered some of the biggest news stories in recent times including the Ivan Milat trial, the 2004 Tsunami in Banda Aceh and the Canberra bushfires. Catch this great video as Nick describes moving away from a "reactive" strategy of photo journalism to his own "roving" style that led to his astonishing bushfire and storm-chaser images that can be currently seen in OCULI: Terra Australis Incognita.

Nick Moir
Darwin storm 2007
digital pigment print
60 x 70 cm

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iphoneographer: Nick Moir

MGA's current exhibition Oculi: Terra Australis Incognita features the work of photographer Nick Moir. Nick's work can also be seen on-line as part of The Age's Iphoneography section where readers are invited to contribute their own iphone pics.

Nick Moir
Beechworth 2009

digital pigment print

60 x 70 cm

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Australia’s most coveted photograph donated to Monash Gallery of Art

Carol Jerrems’ Vale Street is the holy grail of Australian photography.
The work is extremely rare; it is probably Australia’s most valuable photograph. Vale Street is often placed alongside Max Dupain’s Sunbaker (1937) as an icon of Australian photography.

There are only a handful of known prints of Vale Street. The few that exist in private hands are highly sought after by both major public and private collections.

A generous Sydney-based collector has just donated her print of this most prized photograph to Melbourne’s Monash Gallery of Art. Susan Hesse acquired her print of Vale Street from Jerrems' 1976 exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. Susan was at the time a gallery assistant at ACP and got to know Jerrems through the course of the exhibition.

MGA Gallery Director Shaune Lakin said: “Vale Street will contribute enormously to MGA’s nationally significant collection of Australian photographs. This photograph is extremely highly sought after; its acquisition would be on the wish list of most Australian art galleries, and there are many private collectors who would pay handsomely for it. This is one of the most significant acquisitions in the history of MGA.”

MGA Chair Ms Debra Knight comments: “We are extremely thankful to Susan Hesse for donating this wonderful photograph to MGA. Her generosity means that this extremely rare and highly sought-after work will always belong to the public.”

Carol Jerrems was one of Australia’s most important photographers. She was born in Melbourne in 1949 and studied photography at Prahran Technical College from 1967 to 1970. There she was taught by Paul Cox. As a young photographer, Jerrems was selected to feature in the first exhibition at Brummels Gallery of Photography in 1972. She taught photography at Heidelberg and Coburg Technical Schools as well as the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart until 1979 before succumbing to a fatal illness in 1980. Jerrems was the subject of a major retrospective Up close: Carol Jerrems at Heide Musem of Modern Art (2010).

Jerrems’ most famous work, Vale Street is a portrait of the bare-breasted Catriona Brown standing in a back yard with two of Jerrems’ students from Heidelberg Technical School. MGA Curator Stephen Zagala states: “Jerrems was interested in people and wanted to reveal something about them in her photographs. She used her camera to capture and encourage interpersonal relationships. In taking her photographs she collaborated with her subjects who were often her students, friends and associates. Vale Street personifies the optimism of 1970s counterculture and feminist politics, which were influential on Jerrems's photographic practice."

For more information and full image go to http://www.mga.org.au/collection/new-acquisitions

Australia 1949–80
Vale Street (detail) 1975
gelatin silver print
20.2 x 30.2 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection donated by Susan Hesse 2012
MGA 2012.030 courtesy of the Carol Jerrems Estate

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rudi Williams

When Caulfield Grammar School alumni Rudi Williams was selected as a finalist in the 2011 Bowness Photography Prize she became the youngest photographer selected in the history of the prize.

Rudi is showing her 2011 series Environmental Portraits at the Menzies Gallery in the Cripps Centre at Caulfield Grammar School, opening 5pm Monday 20 February 2012.

RSVP Gaynor Jones 9524 6310

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Head On

Head on Foundation invites photographers to submit works to the 2012 photographic portrait competition. Entries close 11 March 2012.

MGA Gallery Director Shaune Lakin joins photographer Tamara Dean, ABC broadcaster and collector Robbie Buck and Head On curator Moshe Rosenzveig to judge this years prize.

Prizes will be awarded for the best 3 images. The selection of images will be done anonymously based on the power of the photograph rather than the celebrity of the subject or photographer. Images can range from film to digitally produced using any photographic technique in colour and/or black & white.

Further prizes will be awarded to images selected for ‘The Critic’s Prize’ and for ‘People’s Choice’.

Total value of prizes is approx $50,000.

Portrait Prize Finalists will have the cost of printing their work covered by Head On and Pixel Perfect, whilst also receiving NIK DFine Software valued at $150. A complete list of prizes will be announced shortly.

Head On finalists will be exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney 4 May - 3 June 2012.

Head On, now in its nineth year, has established itself as one of Australia's major photographic portrait exhibitions. It is committed to advancing photography as a popular art form and to supporting photographers from all genres through its exhibition and other related activities.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rennie Ellis at Mossgreen

Mossgreen Gallery
10 February to 3 March 2012

Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive has kindly allowed us to reproduce Robert McFarlane's text for Ellis' upcoming exhibition at Mossgreen Gallery. Opens Friday 10 February 2012.

For the last four decades of the Twentieth Century, Rennie Ellis (1940-2003) was a deeply influential figure in Australian documentary photography who affectionately, and with unblinking honesty, drew our attention to the dreams and fables revealed in the observation of everyday lives. Ellis' unsentimental vision saw the profound changes then flowing through Australian society – and nothing drew his gaze more powerfully than the emergence of eroticism, or sometimes simply nudity – in public. Rennie Ellis didn’t only photograph women nude – sometimes men appeared in his pictures, impressive in their musculature - but never with the mythic power he would find in photographing the unclad forms of women.

There is one picture in this suite of images that suggests, beyond its narrative documentary strength, what women may have meant as subjects for the elegant, genial and always acutely observant presence that was Rennie Ellis. In “Spring Lunch 1992” thirteen men stand around a circular restaurant dinner table. They are dressed conservatively in business suits and ties and all gaze, except one, at an almost totally nude blonde woman sitting on a white table cloth in the middle of a beer bottle-strewn table. They seem bemused by the good luck that has propelled this beautiful young woman out of the kind of mythology that once created Botticelli’s “Venus” - onto their table – leaving her smiling like a mischievous mermaid found trapped in a fishing net. Ellis instinctively contrasts the perfection of the young woman’s form with the mundanity – even impotence – of the men’s stances as they seem helpless to do little more than marvel at her beauty – and its close proximity with the province of dreams.

The mythic power of women is also strongly implied in “Snake Woman, Kings Cross 1970-71”, the only photograph in which Ellis’s focus is capable of being deflected from sharply rendering female nudity, as his camera instead focuses on the flat, malevolent head of a python as the serpent tries to pull away from the dancer and toward Ellis.

Rennie Ellis also finds a counterpoint to women’s roles as erotic dancers in observations such as “Backstage Dressing Room, The Ritz, St Kilda 1977” where nudity, and by inference eroticism, are only incidental to this beautifully observed moment expressing the close fellowship women find when working together. Ellis’s pictures are present in this exhibition almost exclusively in black and white, a documentary medium that suits his direct, sometimes pungent observations well. There is, however, one impressive exception. By observing “My Bare Lady, The Ritz, St Kilda 1977” in colour, Ellis achieves an almost Degas-like delicacy, momentarily dismantling my preferences for his black and white images. In presenting “This is the show: Rennie Ellis”, Mossgreen Gallery offer us a vivid, revealing segment of the extraordinary archive created by Rennie Ellis, of which the National Gallery of Australia’s Senior Curator of Photography Gael Newton once said, “the record will speak for itself over time … as it (the archive) ages it will surprise us with its depth and significance.” Robert McFarlane.

Robert McFarlane's blog is http://www.ozphotoreview.blogspot.com.au/ and website: http://www.robertmcfarlanephotos.com

Rennie Ellis
Golden Orchid, Kings Cross 1970-71 1970-71
silver gelatin, selenium toned fibre based print
73.5 x 59.0 cm
courtesy of Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive




In 2005 the Gertrude Contemporary and Art & Australia Emerging Writers Program was established to provide
a unique opportunity for emerging visual arts writers to contribute to the critical discussion of Australian contemporary art.

Run in partnership with Australia’s leading art magazine Art & Australia, this program offers four emerging writers the opportunity to develop their writing practice, publish their work and gain further insight into the field of contemporary art writing. 2012 will be the second year the program will be offered in both Victoria and New South Wales. The aim of the Emerging Writers Program is to professionally support emerging arts writers who are committed to a career in the arena of contemporary art and criticism. This program contributes to the growth of a rich and insightful critical culture around contemporary art, providing participants with professional development and mentorship.

This is the longest-running program of its kind in Australia and offers unparalleled access to professional networks and the opportunity to publish in Australia’s most important art magazine. Each year four applicants are selected to participate in this program. Each Emerging Writer is teamed with a mentor who is a leader in the field and with whom they work, to create two pieces of professional writing for publication.

Each writer creates a catalogue essay for a Gertrude Contemporary Studio 12 exhibition and an exhibition review for publication in Art & Australia magazine. This year the Emerging Writers from New South Wales will be required to travel to Melbourne to meet with the Gertrude Contemporary Studio Artist on whose work they will be writing for the Studio 12 exhibition catalogue.

To view previously published outcomes of this program please see the Emerging Writers section on our website: http://www.gertrude.org.au/programs/emerging-writers/ emerging-writers-32/

The 2012 Mentors:
Blair French: Executive Director, Artspace, Sydney
Rachel Kent: Senior Curator Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Nikos Papastergiadis: Professor, Cultural Studies and Media & Communications, The University of Melbourne
Jason Smith: Director, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This week we're installing OCULI: TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITO - and will be open to the public on Friday 26 Jan.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Michael Coyne, Adjunct Professor of Photography, RMIT University and eminent Australian photojournalist, 3pm Saturday 4 February 2012.

Ten years ago, a group of Australian photographers began Oculi. Committed by a collective vision to represent contemporary Australia and its regions, each member of the group embraces a range of distinctive styles and perspectives that include a strong documentary focus.

The exhibition comprises approximately 80 photographic images of Australia as we understand and experience it today.

Oculi photographers include: Donna Bailey, James Brickwood, Tamara Dean, Jesse Marlow, Nick Moir, Jeremy Piper, Andrew Quilty, Dean Sewell, Steven Siewert, Tamara Voninski. OCULI: TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITO is a Manly Art Gallery & Museum Touring Exhibition curated by Sandy Edwards.

George Parkin

We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of great Australian artist George Parkin who with his partner Rose Farrell maintained a wonderful photographic practice over the last two and a bit decades. Our thoughts are with Rose and George's family and friends.

Rose FARRELL and George PARKIN
Traces of the flood: lower leg traction 2004
chromogenic print
ed 1/10
90 x 156 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Muswellbrook Photography Award

The Muswellbrook Photography Award has been going for 23 years and has been judged by the leading figures in Australian photography including Helen Ennis, Gerrit Fokkema, David Moore, Steven Lojewski and Robert McFarlane. This year it is Martyn Jolly's turn. Entries close 3 February. $10K first prize

Friday, January 20, 2012

New and relaxed

Check out MGA's refurbished cafe with our new community table, daily papers, art magazines, FREE Wifi and of course great coffee!

We've also tweeked our menu, keeping your favorites and offering the seasonal best from our suppliers including: toasted pides, sandwiches and croissants, sandwiches, bowl salads, grazing plates & Victorian cheeses.