Trent Parke's new exhibition opens today
Trent Parke, one of Australia's most respected contemporary photographers and our only Magnum member, is set to showcase his latest exhibition at the Michael Reid Gallery from today.
Although Parke is renowned for his striking black and white images such as those in his series Minutes to Midnight and The Black Rose, his latest series, The Crimson Line, features images rich in both colour and meaning.
According to Parke, the deep shades of red he saw in the sky when he first moved to Adelaide inspired him to research the origins of the colour crimson.
He discovered that it is the crushed and boiled bodies of the female Cochineal insect which is made into the dyes that colour our commercial world: scarlet, crimson, orange and magenta.
Poignantly, Parke noticed that the dyes derived from the Cochineal are reflected in the colours of creation, such as in the birth of a new star. Linking the transient hues of red with the ideas of birth and blood is also tied into his personal memories of the water-birth of his sons.
Having grown up in Newcastle, Parke drew on his early childhood memories of accompanying his mother to pick up his father from work at Tubemakers, driving through an industrial landscape marked by chimneys, shipyards and the BHP steelworks. Parke’s mother died while he was still young, and you can see the dual influence of this formative experience with death and his recent experience with new life at the birth of children in The Crimson Line.
Indeed, the common thread that underpins much of Parke’s work are the dualities of life and death, light and dark, time and space, and the theme of memory. In light of his cinematic style and vision, this new series of images portrays a narrative that shrinks and swells. From the micro to the macro, genetics, labs and processing plants.
While engaging with topics like climate change and consumerism, the enormous landscapes that he has captured for The Crimson Line set the tone for a narrative that intertwines facets of strange truth and fiction.
You can see more images online here, but it would be well worth making the trip to see the ethereal photographs in person.
The Crimson Line