The photographic process I use to create these images has its origins in a technique called ‘photogenic drawing’ invented by William Henry Fox Talbot, in 1834. This pre dates photography by at least 40 years.
Experimentation by Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy extended the possibilities of Talbots’ technique in the 1920s. Called ‘photograms’ by this time, the process involved arranging objects on photographic paper and exposing the paper to light. It was then developed, fixed and washed. The resulting prints have a dark background and a silhouette of the objects in white.
My discovery in this context is that by recording the shadows of transparent objects, I am able to insert dimension into previously dense silhouettes. In this work glass jugs, the blackness and the red seals are all useful metaphors. Jugs because they hold. It is their function to contain. They hold water, a symbol of emotion—a visual equivalent. Blackness also has emotional equivalence. In these works is a place where there is no horizon. This location is an under/inner world.
1999 Love Letters, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
1998 Keeping Still, Switchback Gallery, Monash University
1995 The Shaking Tree, Stop 22, St Kilda Railway, Station. Melbourne.
1984 The Mirror, Visibility, Carlton, Melbourne
Selected Group Exhibitions
1998 Three Suites, The Photographers’ Gallery, Melbourne
1988 Contemporary Australian Artists, The William Heimerman Collection, The Photographers’ Gallery
1997 Savannah, Touring Exhibition, Gippsland Art Gallery. Sale
1995 Cerebration and Place, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale
1995 Pilgrimage with Kaye Green and Julie.Adams, Monash University
1990 Contemporary Gippsland Artists, Touring Exhibition, Latrobe Regional Gallery
1988 National Photographic Exhibition, Albury Regional Arts Centre
Susan Purdy's photograms respond to the flow of light that circulates around water jugs. They invite us to delve more deeply into these seemingly simple vessels to consider the energies they might collect.