Pollyxenia Joannou-Reddin is an award-winning Sydney-based contemporary artist working in painting, drawing, sculpture and installations.
She has only recently returned from spending a couple of years with her partner in London. London, however, is no stranger to Polly as she completed her MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins (UK).
The breaking news, however, is that Polly is having a new exhibition in a gallery on the fringe of the Sydney central business district, opening 23 August, 2023.
“The work or process is a path that evolved rather than a conscious, academic process. I see the world or landscape as structured architectural codes; the repetition of lines; 3D structures of an urban landscape and what I perceive as unnecessary, I discard. I seek in my work a quiet corner. The work provides a pause or a resting place before moving on. I try and achieve this through colour palette, a balance of aesthetics via shapes, line, repetition, and materiality.” (Pollyxenia Joannou-Reddin)
I love Polly’s clean, intelligent work…so it’s a pleasure to photograph and contemplate each piece as we manoeuvre it into position for the final capture.
Check out Polly’s work at CBD Gallery in the city (until 23 September), a relatively new space which also runs workshops in various topics.
It has been my pleasure to photograph the development of Charles’ paintings, drawings and installations over many years. This time it was a little different … recording his artworks on public display, as part of two outdoor installations. This situation brought its own technical hurdles in terms of light and reflections, particularly as his drawing at The Rocks was displayed behind a deep-set glass window, which was also unevenly lit (a challenge for any photographer)
However we managed to get good results and Charles’ large-scale works have now been properly documented. If you are near either Botany Road in Alexandria or Nurse’s Walk at The Rocks, look out for his two installations.
Artist extraordinaire Laura Matthews has recently completed a new body of work, which I happily photographed and documented at her inner-west studio in Sydney. Her paintings often look at how figures interact with expressive landscapes, including her recent series of underwater images.
Laura is the product of the illustrious British art school, The University College London Slade School of Fine Art (informally known as “The Slade”). It is touted as one of the UK’s top institutions for art, design and experimentation. A notable teacher at the Slade was the well-known British painter Lucien Freud.
After her studies, Laura moved to Australia with her husband, where she has worked as an artist ever since.
I enjoyed photographing her recent work. I admire Laura’s draughtsmanship as well as the looseness of her painting. I love “painters who paint”. What I mean by this is that I appreciate painters who really push their colours around on the canvas … where you can see the medium of paint and their techniques.
My ongoing Spot the Arab project continues with the addition of Yunis Dargit to the ever-growing line-up of models I have photographed and exhibited. Spot the Arab is my highly-personal series of portraits looking at issues of race, identity, gender, religion and prejudice as seen through my lens, presenting honest, uncomplicated portraits which challenge the viewer to consider whether the model might identify as Arab or not. Some of the models identify as Arab, partially Arabian or not at all. It is up to the viewer to read the signals, and make their own assumptions. It is truly interesting to see on what basis each person makes their guesses.
I have exhibited my Spot the Arab series in Rome in a solo show at Galleria Il Ponte Contemporanea in 2017 and later in Australia, at the Backspace Gallery in Ballarat in 2018. For more information and a more detailed description of this series please visit the following Link: Spot the Arab
Now in 2023, I have continued my series with Yunis, an interesting man with a fascinating background. Currently he lives in Sydney, Australia and works in hospitality. I first challenge you to guess whether he identifies as Arab or not.
We started the shoot with some standard head-shots as a warm-up. This was also to provide Yunis with some new images to use for his social media and CV … see the official portrait below.
Following the head-shots, we moved on to capture the Spot the Arab portraits. Here are a few depictions of Yunis in costume from this shoot.
Yunis does identify as Arab, which is the short answer to the question. But it is more complicated than this … as it often is when we discuss nuances of human identity. Here’s an excerpt from what Yunis wrote:
“I researched my background as far back as 1843 and although some may dispute the fact that I am Arab, I possess documents that verify my lineage.
My family originates from what is now known as Syria, however I was born in Turkey and grew up later in Germany.”
I’ve been photographing Rhonda Pryor’s works and exhibitions for many years. Originally Rhonda was my studio buddy when we both worked in the same warehouse building in Lilyfield – me with my photography and Rhonda in her painting studio. Rhonda has since moved on to work in a studio closer to home, but she continues to commission me to photograph and document her eye-catching works, which combine painting and textiles, both hard-edged and shadowy.
Rhonda writes about her work: “While studying for my master’s degree at Sydney College of the Arts, my media of choice evolved to photography and textile work. However, I feel my work still suggests a painter’s sensibility in many ways and has influenced me in working with oils yet again after a long break. Recent textile pieces range from tight, abstract and amorphic shapes with linen, to more fluid, evocative manipulations – like catching sight of something but not quite seeing or understanding it (much like the process of remembering).”