Peter Dombrovskis and Katrin Koenning exhibitions hit Melbourne
Two exhibitions that focus on our environment will be shown at the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) from Saturday.
Peter Dombrovskis (1945–96) was one of the world's foremost wilderness photographers. His powerful, reflective and deeply personal images of the unique Tasmanian wilderness had a lasting impact, changing the way Australians think about their environment by making remote nature accessible through images.
Dombrovskis: journeys into the wild draws together a vast sweep of nearly 80 images, shown for the first time in Victoria. The exhibition was initially developed by the National Library of Australia from their comprehensive collection of Dombrovskis’s work.
Through their use in environmental campaigns, Dombrovskis’s images have become shorthand for environmental concerns in Australia. Particularly memorable was the image ‘Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend’ that Bob Brown (later to become Leader of the Greens Party) used in the ‘No Dams’ campaign to save the Franklin River.
Seldom in the history of photography has there been as clear an example of visual culture bearing such political sway and prompting such passion in communities.
Alongside Dombrovskis: journeys into the wild, is an exhibition of intense and evocative photography by contemporary Australian photographer, Katrin Koenning.
Swell highlights our current state of urgency in the environmental field. In this new body of work, seen for the first time here at MGA, Koenning avoids expected tropes of disaster-imagery, offering counter-narratives in order to focus on what is at stake and to decipher how humans and nature impact on each other.
The artist has had a long involvement with photography through photojournalism and long-form documentary projects, investigating and deciphering the ways that humans and nature impact each other.
Koenning’s exhibition sits as a contemporary response to tradition of environmental photography of the 1970s and 1980s. We now live in a world where wilderness photography can be captured by drones and with new technology. The access that Koenning seeks to nature is psychological rather than technical. Her work is alluring and unsettling, giving a sense of the beauty of the earth as well as nature’s precariousness.
MGA presents these two exhibitions as part of the CLIMARTE Festival: ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019. ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019 is a socially-engaged festival of climate change related arts and ideas featuring curated exhibitions and theatre works alongside a series of keynote lectures, events and public forums featuring local and international guests.