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Pat Brassington
Picturing
1 August – 22 August 2020

 

Pat Brassington’s photographs are not designed to easily satisfy. Her works are mysterious, leaving the viewer searching for a narrative, a solution to the psychological puzzle of familiar forms made strange. Humans seek order and familiarity, we find patterns where there are none, and Brassington’s uncanny photographs encourage this behaviour. In the diptych, All in a Dream (2020), the jagged cliffs of a dramatic gorge are juxtaposed with a fragmented doll-like figure that floats mid-air, its flesh-like ‘torso’ shockingly inhuman. Like her triptych And It Came to Pass (2020), we immediately grasp at the most obvious link between images: the inverse patterning of light and shadow. Over time, we start to see more within the tease of mystery elements: the doll, the almost flesh, the animal that may be alive or dead, the fingertip sharpened into a terrifying point, the torso twisted into an unnatural shape, the eyeball that glistens like a pearl, or the object that yesterday looked like an orange, but today looks more like a negative space. While there will never be an ultimate ‘answer’ to the puzzle, the photographs give a little more on each glance – a reward for our time. As curator Juliana Engberg says of Brassington’s photographs, “even though there’s a sort of darkness that lurks in all of these works, there’s a wickedness and playfulness there to be excavated as well.”*

*Juliana Engberg cited in Heather Rose, ‘Pat Brassington: Under our skin’, Art Monthly Australia 273, 2014, p. 19.

Lucy Hawthorne

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