The Pale Mirror
Stills Gallery, Photography, Sydney, Australia
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - Saturday October 6, 2012 - Event ended.
The Pale Mirror radiates filmic drama and atmosphere. Suburban houses and city blocks burn with blinding white light as in UFO abduction scenes. Remote landscapes emblazoned by sheaths of illumination recall search and rescue disaster movies. The heavens appear to be opening for God. Early air and sea craft brave unchartered and unforgiving territories.
These are small works that tell epic tales, although the tales themselves are elusive. Deceptively, the light serves to illuminate nothing, as cinematic genres, eras and geographies blur into strange yet indefinably familiar territory. An effect Kimber describes as ‘half-remembered’.
The image quality is especially inviting and delicious. It is enhanced by rich opalescent colours, and a sense that reality is just out of reach. This creates a force of attraction akin to vertigo, as one feels inescapably drawn into the image.
Kimber produces this affect by making small dioramas in an impressive replication of real scenes and objects, before shooting them with a basic plastic camera. Without the use of digital manipulation his work poignantly reflects the current destabilization of photography. It builds on ‘photography’s ability to manipulate “truth” and its relationship to memory’, Kimber explains ‘rather than its often thought of strength to “objectively” record’.
His apt title The Pale Mirror is a powerful metaphor for photography itself. A photograph is understood to be a replica of reality yet whose and what reality is it? A premise that all of Kimber’s work dissects and explores.
His most recent exhibitions at Stills were The Cloud Chamber (2011), All That Glisters (2010), Edgeland (2008) and Sun Pictures (2007). This year Mark Kimber is the subject of the prestigious South Australian Living Artists Monograph, which is being published by Arts SA and Wakefield Press next month.
Kimber has been exhibiting since 1986. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has exhibited internationally. He is the Studio Head of Photography and New Media, South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia. His work is collected in various public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Parliament House Collection, Monash Gallery of Art, Albury Regional Gallery and the London Institute.