Arts / CJ pulls together history, landscape and art

PHOTO media artist, CJ Taylor’s new exhibition, “Mere Tyrannies” is the result of his PhD studies at the ANU School of Art & Design.

‘Boobook’ by CJ Taylor. Finalist 2017 National Photographic Portrait Prize

With a 14 metre-wide video installation, stereo views and large scale photographic works, this is a fascinating and beautiful exhibition that pulls together history, memory, and landscape and plays with ideas of real and unreal, nature and identity.

Living in remnant bushland on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula and deeply involved in bush preservation work, Taylor’s new work investigates our relationship with our colonial past through the presence of native animals as silent sentinels.

In what the artist calls “nowherescapes”, possums and dingo pups stand with humans as if to speak or to guide them out of the crisis in which they as “strangers in a strange land” find themselves. While it is true that many objects on display are taxidermied specimens, the artist has not intended them to be frightening but rather “warm, intimate and mysterious witnesses and guides”.

Taylor’s exhibition includes work made in the ACT, New York, Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and the Shetland Islands and the Fleurieu Penisula.

‘The Hut,’ CJ Taylor 2016

“Mere Tyrannies” also includes objects from the National Museum of Australia, including Colonel Light’s personal travelling writing desk, his sealing wax, eraser and pen nib, some of the few objects to escape the 1839 fire that consumed his home and which is the pivotal event in the photo cinematic installation “The Hut”. That photo cinematic 3D installation is composed of still photographs with a parallax effect that gives the appearance of movement and dimensionality producing what Taylor calls “elastic photography”.

He believes that while it’s often used as a special effect, this may be the first time parallax has been used on this scale by a visual artist and involved a cinema scale shoot and hundreds of hours of production time. It is presented in ultra-high definition and using a 12K projector usually used for outdoor light projections.

The image “Boobook” from this series can be seen in the 2017 National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

Taylor is a three-time finalist in Portrait Prize, was the winner of the 2014 Adelaide Parklands Art Prize and stills photographer for the “12 Canoes” and “Still Our Country” projects, working with Rolf de Heer and Molly Reynolds.

These PhD exhibitions are usually up for a short time only this one can be seen for another two days only.

“Mere Tyrannies”, ANU Art School Gallery, until April 8 only. 

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