Julia Bradshaw: Photography as Material

Last week! Galleries open: Tues/Wed 11am-5pm, Thurs/Fri 12pm-6pm and Sat 11am-3pm

Click the image below to view a recording of the Julia Bradshaw virtual Artist Talk, originally live 03/02/22


The Reese Bullen Gallery presents two bodies of work by artist Julia Bradshaw, Stacks and Shapes and Survey.

Stacks and Shapes:

Julia Bradshaw treats photographs as malleable two-dimensional material, creating topographical landscapes and geometric shapes from source-photographs that refer to the fore-edges and top-edges of paperback books. Although outwardly referencing books, the photographs probe the histories, properties and technologies of photography such as the translation of colour photography into black and white. She also uses her photographs of paper-back books as material for endless experimentation. In so doing, she creates an infinite variety of forms and shapes that refer to the original photographed object but evoke a different sensibility: segmented geometrical forms reference her interest in the roots of minimalist abstraction whereas horizontal stacks of books are combined to suggest gently rolling topographical landscapes. In making the work, Bradshaw utilizes a variety of photographic techniques, from historical darkroom techniques to current computer-based photographic imaging.


 In examining historical and contemporary astrophotography, I note the aesthetics of the scientific annotations; such as the alphanumeric designations, the mythological proper names of the bright stars, and the descriptions of the image-content. In historic texts, I also note the speculative scientific theories and the florid language of Victorian to mid-century scientific exploration. Formally, I am interested in the indexical information: the fiducial markers, the handwritten observations, the image-joinery, and the overabundance of arrows. I note incursions into the visual picture-frame by the mechanics of the space-ships and that in a stitched-together images (known as photo-mosaics) all photographic data is retained.

Even though I use the aesthetics of scientific images to inform this project, all the artwork in the series ‘Survey’ is created using silver-gelatin photographic processes and rudimentary tools. I use a cardboard box for a camera, and images are manipulated with knives, inks, joins, dyes, and reversals. The simplicity of the materials is a subtle poke at the vast gap between investment in science and investment in art. And by pointing my camera at the most abundant of materials, I aim to empower imagination in conjunction with science

Both space-scientists and artists produce visual material; but one requires extraordinary investment for cosmic explorations, the other explores the extraordinary richness of inner head-space. To a certain extent I see myself as an explorer of my imagination; creating my own maps, diagrams, and places to discover. My intent is to make observations about scientific images and scientific annotations and to create delightful confusion through wit. Thus, I acknowledge the complicated relationship between photography and reality; and the slippage of scientific speculation between reality and conjecture.

More information at juliabradshaw.com

February 24, 2022 - 3:30pm to March 26, 2022 - 2:00pm