Join us for the launch of two exhibitions & discussion as part of the Head On Photo Festival 2019 SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 FROM 2PM

Exhibition Dates 1 – 26 May 2019

Artist’s Talk: Dr Ella Dreyfus, Senior Lecturer, Head of Public Programs, National Art School
Guest Speaker: Professor Catharine Lumby, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University

Dr Ella Dreyfus: Under Twenty-Seven

Under Twenty-Seven is a solo exhibition by Australian artist Dr Ella Dreyfus that presents a series of poignant portraits which began as black and white photographs of her son and his soccer team when they were finishing primary school. The work tracks their growth with a new portrait every seven years and Dreyfus’ detailed photographs show the boys/men bare-chested against a deep black background. Each of them displays their own unique posture and subtle facial expressions, giving the works an intensely intimate quality. Sitting side by side, the triple portraits taken at ages eleven, eighteen and twenty-five, are a meditation on masculine development, as well as a sobering reminder of the passing of time. The exhibition provides an opportunity for audiences to reflect on the representation of masculinity in contemporary culture, by showing them in a way that is distinct from the narrow ideals generally found in the mass-media and advertising. Through the work, Dreyfus demonstrates a particular sensitivity to the experiences of the young men, who during these critical stages of their lives will undoubtedly have been influenced by the social demands and perceptions of masculine attitudes, looks and behaviours. In this society, men are often expected to repress certain emotions such as tenderness and empathy; in drawing attention to these issues the exhibition takes a probing approach to gender, representation, beauty and the body.

Beyond the Binary

Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries photographic artists have been using photography to negotiate ideas of subjectivity, sexual difference and gender division. To do so, they have used diverse methods, such as documentary, constructed self-portraits and photo-montage. Influenced by earlier artists such as Claude Cahun and Hannah Höch, gender has become a key theme for artists working with the medium of photography today. Beyond the Binary is a diverse exhibition featuring artists experimenting with gender and its social construction through photography, which has leant itself to these issues because of its capacity to represent and transform the human body. The exhibition extends the current debates around gender and considers how it is marked by ongoing negotiations of power which cannot be understood outside of its intersections with race, class and sexuality. In the twenty-first century our experience of the body as a site of varying demands made by oneself and others, as well as the arena of countless fantasies and desires has become heightened through social media. For this reason, as well as shifting attitudes towards and mutable experiences of gender, both gender and the body continue to be pressing topics for artists.

IMAGE: Dr Ella Dreyfus, Under Twenty-Seven, SB, 2005, 2010, 2019, 460 x 460mm each, UltraChrome pigment on Canson

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