This extraordinary exhibition tells the story of Jerrems’ complex and highly influential practice. Drawn from the National Gallery of Australia’s massive holdings of the artist’s work, it features more than 100 works, most of which have not been seen in Melbourne since she lived here during the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
Born in Melbourne in 1949, Jerrems studied photography at Prahran Technical College under Paul Cox and Athol Shmith. Although she practised as an artist for only a decade, Jerrems has acquired a celebrated place in the annals of Australian photography.
Her reputation is based on her intensely compassionate, formally striking pictures, her intimate connection with the people involved in social movements of the day, and her role in the promotion of ‘art photography’ in this country.
One of several Australian women whose work during the 1970s challenged the dominant ideas of what a photographer was and how they worked, she adopted a collaborative approach to making photographs, often featuring friends and associates, and sought a photographic practice that would bring about social change.
In contrast to an earlier generation of internationally renowned magazine photojournalists such as David Moore, the new generation did not seek commissioned commercial or magazine work and took instead a low key intimate approach with a diaristic personal-documentary style of imagery focussed on themselves and their own, mostly urban, environments.
Jerrems put her camera where the counter culture suggested; women’s liberation, social inclusiveness for street youths and Indigenous people in the cities who were campaigning for justice and land rights.
Her gritty, poetic and elusive images show people trying to find a new way of life in the 1970s and have come to define Melbourne in a decade of great social and political upheaval.
MGA Director Shaune Lakin said Jerrems’ vision would particularly resonate with Melbourne audiences, especially as her vision was revealed across the full breadth of her work.
“Carol Jerrems: photographic artist concentrates on prints signed or formally exhibited by Jerrems in her lifetime, most returning to Melbourne for the first time,” says Lakin.
“In addition to many of the images for which Jerrems is rightly famous, visitors to MGA can see Jerrems’ early work, including her extraordinary concertina books and other photobooks,”
Carol Jerrems: photographic artist
Monash Gallery of Art – 860 Ferntree Gully Rd, Wheelers Hill Victoria
Exhibition continues to 29 September 2013
For more information, visit: www.mga.org.au for details.
Image: Carol Jerrems Butterfly behind glass 1975 gelatin silver photograph Edition: 2/9 printed image 17.8 h x 25.3 w cm Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981 Accession No: NGA 81.3078.273 © Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems