Alison Dower and Nikala Bourke Exhibition

Went to this opening at Moonah Arts Centre on Thursday July 1. Ian Munday also had work there but I am more interested in the work of these two.

Alison Dower

Alison is doing Honours with me and does work that is grounded in family experiences but now has branched out to include the way external world events get integrated into her own domestic everyday.

I am especially interested in this first work which is a very small photo printed on thin paper that has subsequently been waxed. The photo itself evokes nostalgia in me. It shows a dog obviously looking up to a human with a background of what would consider old fashioned carpet. The photo itself is faded and translucent making it seem clearly ephemeral, like the time depicted in the photo. The sense of the past is further referenced by mounting all the little photos on a background of old fashioned style wallpaper. This sort of angle for a dog photo is familiar to most of us, and I felt that surge of recognition that I am looking to elicit, when seeing this work.

Nikala Bourke

Nikala makes photograms under the water at night. For this exhibition she has taken these further with scanning and digitalising the original black and white to add colour and contrast. The formal qualities of these are what attracts me with the unique markings that are possible through photograms. Once again I think about using original photograms on fabric. If I push the exposure on photograms made from denser objects, I can get a strong background colour in the solarfast.

Digital reproductions of photograms by Nikala Bourke.

I am considering using solarfast photograms to make abstract fabric that I then use in quilts. Not photographs although I could use photographs too that I cut up and rearranged.

Here is a first attempt. I have used both violet and blue solarfast to try and achieve a purple blue. This was exposed for five hours and consequently there is some loss of the photogram image because of potential overexposure in the centre. The fabric hasn’t taken it as well as I’d hoped and not sure if that is because it was too wet and in effect obstructs the uv itself. I’ll try again straight on to dry fabric.

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