The idea of documenting one’s self is not a new idea. Throughout history artists have documented the beauty and the decay of their own form, with artists such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt making it a central part of their work throughout their lifetime. Ballarat’s The Lost Ones Gallery explores this notion in THIS IS ME: Examination of the art of self-image – currently on display until 11 September 2016.
The process of creating a self-portrait is considered a valuable part of the artist’s philosophical exploration of “who am I” or declaration of “this is me”. The essence of the self-portrait is about control – controlling the way the self-image is represented but has also been linked to preoccupations with personal salvation and self-scrutiny.
In the era of digital photography, the almost manic documentation of self-image reveals this fragility in all of us. The fundamental human question of “who am I?” is changing and evolving under the influence of digital media. It is also changing the way we create bodies of work.
In this group show artists respond to the question “how is this you?” Traditional portraiture sits alongside video works. Instagram collections sit alongside sculpture. But all of the works reveal a window into the identity of the artist.
Archibald finalist Mirra Whale is joined by international video artist Natalie Bookchin, NSW artist Freya Jobbins, Melbourne based photographic artist Ilona Nelson, as well as regional artists, Aldona Kmiec, James Bonnici, Ali Afzali and Jon Harris.
The exhibition examines the role of the selfie in social media, and how the self-portrait is evolving under the influence of digital media, and features the body of work of Australian Instagram ‘celebrity’ Kurt Coleman, questioning whether his extensive self-documentation is equivalent to the work of an artist or just a flippant activity.
Visitors are encouraged to submit their own selfies as part of the exhibition. “We want to encourage everyone to understand that selfies are part of a long line of artistic tradition, and being preoccupied with oneself is as old as time,” says Tara Poole, co-founder of The Lost Ones Gallery. “Although it might be a disposable art form, and often frowned upon, we do believe it might have a role to play in the discussion of art.
The Lost Ones is a contemporary art gallery and creative maker’s space in the heart of heritage Ballarat. Housed in an 1870s-era Masonic temple, The Lost Ones hosts exhibitions, workshops, performances, art classes and more. From contemporary art to time-honed crafts, the gallery has a diverse and dynamic program that profiles artists from regional Victoria and across Australia.
THIS IS ME: Examination of the art of self-image
The Lost Ones Gallery, 14 Camp Street, Ballarat
Exhibition continues to 11 September 2016
For more information, visit: www.thelostones.com.au for details.
Image: Freya Jobbins, Cassiopeia 2015 (detail). Plastic dolls, vintage fibreglass mannequin and styrofoam (supplied)