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Face Value: Video Portraiture from the Pacific

15 April 200514 May 2005

Face Value: video portraiture from the Pacific presents the traditional genre of portraiture, through the moving image exploring notions of identity, within a contemporary regional context.

Leading video, sound and multimedia artists from the Pacific region show work informed by history, technology, globalisation and geographic location which considers social and familial origins, individual traits and distinctiveness, history, gender, ethnic and cultural diversity.

This is progressive portraiture encompassing multiple screens, shifting frames, sound, text, spoken word, metaphor and humour. The artworks are unique, engaging and aesthetically varied, exploring the potential of moving image portraiture. Many works are allegorical, fictional or conceptual, allowing for multiple readings such as in Christian Thompson’s stereotyped alter-egos and Jim Vivieaere + Jefferson Belt’s collages of intimate objects and personal spaces.

Each artist approaches contemporary identity from a unique angle. Vernon Ah Kee’s short, sharp self portrait playfully uses language, moving text and self-portraiture to represent current Australian black/white politics to a deadly serious effect. Social and emotional conditioning are the focus of Lyndal Jones’ He Must Not Cry.

While the upbeat rhythmic sounds of Sheyne Tuffery’s video pushes the aesthetic bounds of this genre into the twenty first century through personal connections to his surroundings. John Gillies, My Sister’s Room, is a highly personal portrait of the artist’s sister slowly revealed through grainy hand-held video scans over photographs of her face, resulting in a portrait construced of absence and memory. 

Lonnie Hutchinson refers directly to the incarceration of Island women in the holds of Pearl Traders, the history of sexual exploitation and its ramifications on the sex industry. Internationally renowned artist Rachael Rakena layers performance, text and sound as two underwater figures communicate through movement and a backdrop of email. And working with forensic scientists, inspired Denis Beaubois to create a series of silent, fixed and un-blinking faces which slowly and subtly morph through 11,000 different people reinventing racial stereotypes. 

Artists included : Vernon Ah Kee, Denis Beaubois, John Gillies, Lonnie Hutchinson, Lyndal Jones, Janet Merewether, James Pinker + Mark McClean, Rachael Rakena, Christian Thompson, Sheyne Tuffery, Jim Vivieaere + Jefferson Belt 

Curators: Rilka Oakley and Annabel Pegus

Symposium 15 April 2-5pm Main Lecture Theatre, College of Fine Arts. Speakers include Ross Gibson and artists John Gillies, Denis Beaubois, James Pinker, Rachael Rakena and Sheyne Tuffery.

Text from Face Value media release


Ivan Dougherty Gallery