Abstract Earth: Photography by Richard Woldendorp
3 February 2011 - 3 April 2011
Pink Lake, north-west of Esperance, Western Australia, 1988
Lambda digital print
|Richard Woldendorp |
Top of Curtis Island, north-east of Gladstone, Queensland, 2003
Lambda digital print
Richard Woldendorp is a pioneering photographer who arrived in Western Australia in 1951, and found his life's mission in the local landscape. Born in the Netherlands in 1927, Woldendorp studied painting in his early years. When he bought his first camera in 1955, he looked through the lens with the eye of an artist - an approach he has maintained throughout his career. Now, with numerous books and exhibitions to his credit, Woldendorp is recognised as one of Australia's leading photographers. It is his landscape photography, particularly his aerial landscapes, for which Woldendorp is best known.
Although each picture is a precise record of a landscape seen from the air, these scenes have the power and presence of large abstract paintings. They bear more than a passing resemblance to the canvases of Abstract Expressionists and Colour Field painters, and to the works of Aboriginal artists. While these photographs reveal marvels of topography and geology they are also the sacred places where ancestral beings have left their footprints and stories.
Because Woldendorp has spent much of his life as a hard-working professional photographer, it has been easy to underestimate the sheer artistry of Woldendorp's aerial landscapes. His friend, the artist, Robert Juniper, has travelled in the same light planes and snapped the same scenes with his own camera. The difference, says Juniper, is that he ends up with a photograph while Woldendorp produces a work of art.
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive illustrated publication available for purchase from the Gift Shop.
The national tour of this exhibition is managed by ART ON THE MOVE.
Visit Richard Woldendorp's website for more exhibition images and information on the photographer.