New exhibition examines more than 100 years of Australian landscape photography
A new exhibition on now at Victoria's Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) showcases more than 100 years of Australian landscape photography, exploring how perspectives and attitudes to nature have changed over time.
Return to nature, which runs until 18 September, considers the Australian landscape in its many forms, and through the lenses of over 40 photographers, from colonialists of the 1870s to contemporary artists working today.
From nature as something to conquer, to something to protect, the exhibition encompasses a range of approaches to landscape, including an enduring sentiment held by First Nations people that there is no separation between humans and the natural world, rather there is interconnection and interdependence.
MGA Curator Stella Loftus-Hill says the exhibition has brought out rarely seen MGA Collection gems, as well as new acquisitions and all-time favourites.
"This exhibition is an opportunity to explore the gallery’s holdings of landscape photographs and to view them in a new light. It is also an opportunity to reflect on our changing relationship to nature, our impact on the environment and the important role photography has played in both conquering and protecting Australia’s natural places," she says.
MGA’s collection began in 1979, and became photography specific in the early 1980s.
The exhibition will also mark the first showing of important new MGA acquisitions such as Narelle Autio’s sumptuous underwater images of Australian waterholes, an extensive set of John Cato’s abstracted photographs of Australian trees, and Nici Cumpston’s superbly hand-coloured photographs of ancestor trees along the Barka (Murray Darling River), alongside work by established names such as Edward Burtynsky, John Gollings and Peter Dombrovskis.
Return to nature is accompanied by an extensive resource of digital texts about the artists and works included. The exhibition will also play host to a number of public programs and opportunities to be in the gallery in alternative ways, from yoga sessions to 'photogram' workshops.