To kick off our 2021 online exhibition program, Artereal Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by renowned Australian photographic artist Anne MacDonald.
Perfectly timed to align with Valentine’s Day, Anne MacDonald’s latest body of work Love employs the visual tropes of consumerism to explore the ephemeral representations that contemporary society falls back on in our search to express love, maintain connection and satiate our unquenchable capitalist appetites.
With works held in a myriad of state gallery and institutional collections, Anne MacDonald is highly respected for her technical prowess with a camera and is recognised by the Australian art industry as one of the leading photographic artists working in the country today.
(To view and purchase artworks from this series, including pricing details, scroll to the end of this online exhibition page).
“Drawing on the history of the Vanitas still life genre and the association of photographs as memento mori, Love continues my exploration into the symbolic potential of everyday artefacts in contemporary consumer culture.
Visual expressions of love proliferate on social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest. Centred around the purchase and arrangement of decorations for Valentine’s Day events, these images are exuberant, celebratory, joyful and fun. Masses of gleaming foil balloons in the form of love hearts and declarations – Love, XO, Be Mine– are disarmingly charming, yet ultimately ephemeral.
These perfectly styled Valentine party scenes, in luscious pink and vivid blood red, with their connotations of excess and indulgence, also evoke more complicated emotions. We know the romantic ideal of love, popular in social media, falls short of real love.
We also know that events like Valentine’s Day can serve to heighten feelings of rejection, loneliness and isolation. Finally, we know our inordinate love of consumption has led us to a world on the brink of environmental disaster.
Despite this, we cannot seem to break the cycle of desire, where too much is never enough. In my Valentine’s Day scenes, tinged with humour and pathos, the decorations have been abandoned; the party cancelled before it begins.”
Artist Statement, 2021
Lives and works in Tasmania, Australia.
Anne MacDonald received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts from the Tasmanian School of Art at the University of Tasmania, where she was for 31 years a Senior Lecturer in the Photography Department.
Since the 1980s Anne MacDonald has worked with photo media, producing large-scale photographs and installations exploring and pushing the boundaries of the photographic still life genre. Working exclusively in the studio with a large format camera, MacDonald’s photographs explore the emotional anxieties created in the counterpoise between birth, life, beauty and the transience of time on the one hand, and fragility, death, decay and dissolution on the other. Her subjects are fixed – virtually embalmed – through the photographic process, and thus raise the inevitable connection between photography and life and death. Her works are a continued investigation into the potential for objects to act as powerful metaphors for thoughts and emotional states.
Anne MacDonald’s work can be found in public and private collections around Australia including: the National Gallery of Australia, the University of Tasmania, Artbank, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Gold Coast City Art Gallery and the ANZ collection.
View all of Anne MacDonald’s new artworks below.
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