Acclaimed photo-artist Samantha Everton’s latest exhibition, Vintage Dolls, explores history, race and culture through magic realism. Dickerson Gallery Melbourne: 4-22 March and Sydney: 1-19 April 2009
The odd stillness of the scenes also appears to be an intentional ploy that is reminiscent of both the long exposures of typical 19th-century portraits and the cinematic, creating heightened anticipation of what is to come.” (Photofile, Spring 2007).
There’s always a sense of drama about Samantha Everton’s exhibitions and her latest body of work, Vintage Dolls, doesn’t disappoint. Opening at the Dickerson Gallery Melbourne on Wednesday 4 March and Sydney on 1 April 2009, and featuring a total of 12 works, the images capture a series of surreal adult-themed moments expressed from a child’s fantastical perspective; from eras of a time gone by to cultural, racial and social differences.
“I was inspired by the innocent act of children playing dress ups and the way they re-enact adult behaviour, concepts and themes, without preconceptions or judgement,” Samantha Everton says.
In Vintage Dolls, the images give physical reality to a child’s fantasy of adult life and discussion. “I wanted to present a child’s perspective about adult subject matter, particularly race and culture, much of which came about because of the personal discovery of my own upbringing in a multicultural family,” she adds.
While the pictures suggest a chance encounter between camera and the moment captured, the reality comes together because of the intricate choreography of imaginative concept, lighting, mood, costume, setting and artist/s. Samantha spends endless days and months gathering all the elements needed to create these theatrical works; from finding a decrepit house that she could manipulate and semi-demolish, to costumes and props, to a living tree and a friends black cat.
“The house was by far the hardest prop to find. I spent weeks searching all across Melbourne for just the right place, to finally find a house a few streets from where I lived. Then I had to convince the owner to allow me to smash holes into the walls, strip wallpaper and carpet up and install a tree into the living room,” Samantha says. “The owner was very accommodating!”
Since her last exhibition in 2007 – Childhood Fears was showcased in Melbourne and Sydney to critical acclaim – Samantha has gone onto further develop her art and explore her use of light. “I’ve been exploring my use of different light levels to create the undertone emotion of each image, which is exemplified most noticeably in the image featuring the wolf, with the warm comforting light under the bed and the natural morning light streaming through the window, providing balance to the fantasy theme of the image.
Earlier this year Samantha was selected as a finalist in the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (www.moranprizes.com.au) which is currently touring around Australia. And her work Imaginations of the night won The Brewer’s Choice Award in the Corangamarah Art Prize, held at Otway Estate winery.
Samantha Everton’s photographic exhibition Vintage Dolls pursues a familiar theme in her oeuvre,” says Stephen Nall, Director of Dickerson Galley Melbourne. “Her world is full over with dream like images; they are haunting, humorous, colour filled and crystal clear pictures that complete a narrative in the viewers’ own mind. They will kick-start one’s imagination & memory of things past. They will move you.
“Samantha continues to stretch the boundaries of the sub-conscious in most challenging ways, using her skill and creativity,” says Stephen.
Like her previous work, Samantha used traditional photographic techniques (on film) which she digitally re-mastered in post-production. The images are then meticulously printed on watercolour paper with pigment ink to give them a dreamlike, fantasy feel, and suitably framed.
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