Curator's radar: Jacky Redgate - Art Collector

Issue 59, January - March 2012

This profile appeared in the Curator's radar feature, part of the annual special issue 50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2012.

Jacky Redgate has exhibited in significant exhibitions locally and internationally and carries a reputation as a rigorous artist. She recently won the Bowness Photography Prize for Light Throw (Mirrors) #4, a beautiful image of prosaic objects staged in still life formation. “It is virtually flawless as a photograph … challenging many of the expectations of what a photograph is,” notes judge and Monash Art Gallery director Shaune Lakin.

The win drew greater attention to Redgate’s photographic career and reputation as a stellar practitioner. It was timely, too, as it readied viewers for closer examination of her play with optical and perceptual challenges in a forthcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Jacky Redgate: the logic of vision opens in June. Its curator Judy Annear says: “We now have a photography gallery to showcase the AGNSW’s 4,500 strong photography collection … we will show Jacky Redgate’s work from the collection because we have a modest yet solid representation of her photography since 1984.”

The AGNSW holding includes gelatin silver photographs from the mid 1980s, type-c photographs from the 2000 series Untitled Day and a sculpture created in 1989 made up of vase shapes on five wooden stands, familiar to audiences from its exhibition in René Block’s 1990 Biennale of Sydney The Readymade Boomerang: Certain relations in 20th century art. This year she will also stage a solo exhibition with Melbourne’s Arc One Gallery in April.

Redgate immigrated to Australia from London as a child in 1967. Since the 1980s, the Sydney-based photographer has explored the interplay of systems of perception and representation. Her enquiry is about what happens with objects when they become captured in images. It is an enquiry that has afforded her a place in impressive collections and surveys including two Australian Perspecta exhibitions, three Biennale of Sydneys and more recently, the Clemenger Art Award at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2006 and the Heide Museum of Modern Art’s Cubism & Australian Art in 2009.

Redgate’s Sydney dealer William Wright held an exhibition of Redgate’s Light Throw (Mirrors) in May 2011 at his East Sydney space. He says: “It really is groundbreaking work. It connects to the history of photography, the way light was working in photography in the 1930s.”

At one stage Redgate’s profile appeared to dip – perhaps because her explorations shifted from photography back to sculpture, the discipline she initially trained in – and then she surged back onto the radar. Wright says: “You know in 1963 Patrick McCaughey accused Australians of being ‘terribly modish,’ of not going beyond the promoted fad at the time. Redgate has always been self-critical, obsessively attracted to the rigorous pursuit of a proposition. The AGNSW show will add further confirmation of this.”

Courtney Kidd

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