The Paper Mill: November 17th- 27th 2010
The Paper Mill is the latest in a long standing tradition of Artist Run Initiatives (ARI) in Sydney. Dealing exclusively with works on paper, the Mill is located in Angel Place near Martin Place in the middle of Sydney's CBD. It's central location attracts a diverse, if at times sparse, audience and it is this quality which captures the imagination of the artists who exhibit there or undergo residencies in the space.
Capture The Fade is a collaborative exhibition with Ampersand Magazine. The Mill is hosting Ampersands inaugural international photography competition with the winner chosen by Bill Henson. Submissions could be of any composition or genre as long as they reponded to the theme: Capture the Fade. The result is an incredibly diverse and eclectic collection of images that range from portraiture to landscape and abstract imagery.
Bill Henson made a rather interesting speech. Having a degree of respect for the infamous photographer I was quite eager to hear what he had to say. Perhaps it should have come as no surprise that Henson used this moment at the microphone to vent a little about the strict censorship laws around photography which have seen his work confiscated in the past. His intense dislike of what he terms "state sanctioned vigilantism" was evident as he deliberated on the "hijacking of photography" and the "return to the dark ages". While I quite enjoyed hearing Australian Parliament described as "ratbags" I couldn't help but think this whole spectacle was a little self- serving and kind of not the point.
Of the 32 entrants, the overall winner was Sergei Sviatchenko (above). Ironically, this is my least favourite piece in the exhibition. By comparison to the other works, this image, for me, lacked depth and presence. The stongest collection of photographs was by USA artist Craig Reynolds (below) whose structured imagery is reminiscent of a type of beautiful organised chaos and staged disorganisation.
Other impressive photographs included Dominique Staindl, Ingvar Kenne (above), Gene Hart- Smith and Jack Jeweller. An impressive turn out, The Paper Mill was the perfect setting for this multifaceted exhibition with its slightly industrial interior and white walls. Collaborations such as this with Ampersand will equally forge new partnerships and raise the profile of this new ARI. Capture the Fade embodied aspects of humanity and nature, politics and the absurd while effectively 'capturing' the imagination of its audience.