Take Away One

Virginia Woods-Jack captures personal moments, her images evoking fleeting experiences in the artist’s own life. Printed onto transparent silk, her photographs emphasise the temporality and vulnerability of both time and image. There is a sense of the ethereal here, a lightness of touch. But these works also display a subtle yet undeniable sense of stubbornness, a refusal to conform to established expectations regarding the presentation of photography and our corresponding engagement with this medium.

The photographs are printed onto silk using sturdy UV protected billboard quality inks; this combination of fragility and durability resulting in a tension between the image and its materiality. The photographs appear to be grappling with their own form – the darker and denser the inks, the more the images buckle and protrude, rejecting the surface of the delicate material. The works are hung from the ceiling, away from the wall, the intention being that the visitor can circumnavigate the photograph, viewing it from either side. Light passes through the image, and fellow visitors in the gallery are glimpsed through the fabric. These works exist somewhere between photography and painting; the photograph as an image painted in light. These static images are in some sense re-animated by the material upon which they are printed; the fabric drapes and falls, shifting and rising ever so slightly in the subtle air currents produced by a passer-by.

These works form part of a series of photographs taken over the course of a road trip with the artist’s two young daughters, a trip that came during a time of great change in their lives. While the title of this series – Take Away One (2011) – provides some clue as to the impetus for this trip, the works themselves refuse to be read in relation to a clear narrative structure. The circular format reflects that shift in perception, that heightened sense of the world and our surroundings experienced in times of emotional intensity. These images are of a particular time and place. Woods-Jack attempts to convey something of her own experience, to extend our understanding of the image to establish a relationship between photographer, subject, and viewer. She limits our view, reduces our frame of reference. It’s as if the edges of the world had dropped away, leaving only these only these illuminated portals.

(the above text is written by Lily Hacking, curator at The City Gallery, and is an excerpt from the essay “This Must be the place – three photographers” to accompany the exhibition.

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All Images © Copyright Virginia Woods-Jack 2020

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