A new exhibition at Fitzroy gallery Colour Factory presents itself as an exploration of risk, terror, beauty and the sublime. It’s subject matter? Explosions.
It’s hard to look away from the works featured in Towards Another Theory, running until May 31 at photography gallery Colour Factory.
A solo show from Auckland based artist Geoffrey H. Short, Towards Another Theory is simply and literally a series of large scale photographs of explosions. But when are we ever presented with the opportunity to stop and look at explosion? When doing so, the mind can’t help but contemplate the power, beauty and enigmatic nature of these wildly intense balls of fire, smoke, gas and ultimately, symbols of terror and fear.
Working with professional film industry pyrotechnic crews more usually employed to create explosions for commercial cinema releases, Short commissioned and staged a series of monumental fossil fuel and gunpowder based explosions on a remote stretch of New Zealand’s west coast. The very nature of an explosion dictates that it’s continually evolving, unpredictable, multi-layered and fleeting. An explosion’s transition from fire ball to cloud of smoke happens in a mere few seconds, and each second is different.
Despite being a capturing of a mere split second of time, these are works which you can’t help but stare at and get lost in. Captured on a large format film camera, the level of detail in the prints adds to the feeling and wonder inherent in each shot. Up close, sharp and vivid patterns emerge within each explosion, making each violent ball of fire a rich work of art in itself.
Noting that in these days of computer generated imagery, the best way to simulate an explosion is still with an explosion, the exhibition’s introduction states that while the explosions are staged, “they allude to every explosion from the original big bang of creation to the anxiously anticipated big bang of a terrorist bomb or nuclear disaster. The near absence of a recognizable physical context emphasizes this referential quality, allowing the viewer to imagine their own context, to supply their own narrative around these isolated climactic moments.”
Geoffrey H Short: Towards Another Theory
Until 31 May, 2014
Colour Factory Gallery
409-429 Gore Street, Fitzroy, VIC 4065
By Matt Hurst