ADELAIDE SUITE 2010

IAN NORTH
ADELAIDE SUITE

2010

EXHIBITION TEXTS

‘As the world shrinks, paradoxically it becomes more terrifying: humans increasingly resemble a plague of ants clinging by their fingernails (or ants’ equivalents) on a rock hurtling through space. The world is too small, too known, too exhaustively overrun to provide symbolic or actual refuge. Photographs of the familiar might offer some reassurance in spite of our consequential unease. Finding significant visual relationships in the world before us (for we are not talking about attenuated ‘circles and rectangles’ formalism here) seems to offer pleasures sanctioned by cultural conditioning and evolutionary inheritance.’

‘Skies and streetscapes—romanticism and the everyday—have been important in my work, from the earliest juvenilia. My first attempt at ‘serious’ oil painting was a Turneresque picture of roiling clouds at sunset over Auckland Harbour, the second a suburban street scene depicting the view from our front gate. I have been periodically photographing in the streets since 1963, and found myself again working in them with a particular sense of purpose in 2008, using a panoramic camera and encouraged by an awareness that it was almost thirty years since I shot the Canberra Suite (1980-81).’

‘I formed the idea of a comparable group of photographs might constitute an Adelaide Suite, also employing medium format colour, shot over a period of around twelve months. A similar aesthetic applies—the images are full frame, ie with no cropping—but the Adelaide works are even more consciously concerned with connections and contrasts of nature with the built environment, and in particular between skies and roof or fence lines. The Canberrra works were more ostensibly deadpan, relying on light to bring disparate elements into an apparently artless harmony; in the Adelaide work more expressive undertones come further to the fore, with the built form and the skies not so much contrasting as swirling together—I trust— in a gestural completeness. ‘Nature’ is a term which embraces everything. It may no longer be denied, in an era of global warming.’