Art

Olive Cotton Award winner Justine Varga exhibits in Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide



The Hugo Michell Gallery in Adelaide is hosting an exhibition by Justine Varga, the controversial winner of the 2017 Olive Cotton Award.  The artist has produced an extensive collection of work using 5 x 4 and 10 x 8 inch negatives, which are on display through October 18, 2017. These negatives are exposed and developed using traditional photographic processes but there hasn’t been any use of the physical camera to focus the light or render recognisable images.Justine Varga bagged the Olive Cotton Award with one of the most controversial entries of the year – “Maternal Line”. The Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture is a biennial national award for excellence in photographic portraiture, dedicated to the memory of photographer Olive Cotton.“Maternal Line” was one of the two portraits that did not feature a specific human form and yet clinched the title quite surprisingly. The photograph was crafted with the help of the artist’s grandmother, who scribbled and applied saliva on the print. Unlike the normative understanding of a portrait it is a much more complex attempt at tracing the lineage with the connecting thread of motherhood.The Hugo Michell Gallery in Adelaide has been known for encouraging and showcasing young talents as well as established professionals working with various visual art forms in Australia. They have hosted a number of exhibitions by Justin Varga, such as “Memoire” and “Accumulate.” A National Art School graduate, Justine Varga creates photographic works from an intimate exchange between a strip of film and the world that comes to be inscribed on it.Employing analogue techniques, sometimes using a camera and sometimes not, her exposures capture instantaneous moments or distill lengthy durational periods. But this is her first exhibition after winning the Olive Cotton Award and will concentrate on using a methodology of photography that is beyond the normative understanding and constantly questions the very form of narrative that a traditional image or series would create, writes The Guardian.Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.



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