‘Be Still’ is a series of ‘traces’ that testify to the things and people we have lost. Via a combination of old and new photographic technology, the artist Sundari Carmody captures intimacy through a poetic absence, signified by empty spaces and ghostly figures. These haunting figures of loss and transience created through the unpredictable art of pinhole and polaroid photography symbolise the imperfect nature of our memories and the desire to hold onto mementos of mortality that would otherwise be lost. Carmody’s photographs are born from Sontag’s elegiac art, in which the photographic image participates in a process of capturing and signifying absence, becoming part of individual and collective memories.
Yep, I've just quoted and referenced myself there. I attended the opening for Sundari Carmody's Perth exhibition last night, for which I wrote the catalogue essay. I feel very honoured that Sundari asked me to write this essay for her. It's such a startling experience to see photographs displayed on the clean canvas of a white wall. While I love blogs, nothing can beat the sensory experience of viewing photographs in person. I think we sometimes forget that in our endless blog surfing and Pinterest pinning, I know I do. Which is why I think it's always worthwhile to make an effort to step away from the rampant consumption of images online and go to an actual gallery or exhibition to appreciate them in a different way. The title of Sundari's exhibition, ‘Be Still’, reminds me of that; of the importance of standing still, and allowing an image to say all it has to say to you, rather than quickly clicking from one image to the next.
It was also great to finally meet Sundari in person. Although we've been friends online for quite some time, last night was the first time we met. Sundari is as lovely in person as she is on her blog. You may remember I featured some of her photographs on my own blog in two of my book reviews. Thanks for the invitation Sundari, I had a great time. And here's to more blog friends meeting in person - I wish I could meet you all.
Last night was the opening for ‘Be Still’, but the exhibition will be on for another two weeks, so if you're in Perth, go see it. Here are the details:
Opening Wednesday 15 Feb at 6pm
Exhibition open 16 February - 2 March
Spectrum Project Space
Edith Cowan University
2 Bradford Street
Building 3, Room 3.191
Sundari also has a project blog accompanying this exhibition.
Image credits: All images taken by me at the opening night.