Abstracted Washing Line
Invited Artist – HR Gallop Gallery Dec 6-8
What can Creative Photographic Practice Reveal About Regional and Remote Crevice Communities of the Past?
Memories of the daily washing ritual typified by overflowing clothes lines on my remote childhood farm in the Upper Murray has inspired recent photographic explorations in light and shadow. I vividly recall glimpsing through translucent white, starched sheets to see lines of clothing diffused by light, transformed into layers of fluttering abstracted shadows. Wire strung between wooden props served as rustic farm clotheslines.
As obstructors of light, shadows possess an extraordinary ability to give the viewer distorted information about an objects shape. That shape can offer a visual image highly charged with imaginative potential. As a child I perceived clothesline shadows as beautiful, untethered images that existed in a twilight realm somewhere between a rural womans mundane daily labour of washing and the utilitarian purpose of wearing clothes to keep warm. These shadow memories somehow came to represent the essence of transient experience.
Within the broader concept of Crevice Communities, my creative photographic practice investigates the isolation inherent in a remote community. Access to consumerism, media, health, education and social interaction were and, in many cases, still are all hampered by isolation and remoteness. My work suggests this geographical and social isolation perhaps further supported the division of labour into traditional ‘gender’ defined tasks.
‘Abstracted Washing Line’ is also an example of my photographic practice that focuses on the production of photographs to reveal the sense of purpose, solace and connection daily rituals such as clothes washing offered women within remote communities of the past. I consciously chose to print in black and white as variations of transparency in different clothing shapes also reveal unfamiliar and unexpected tonal silhouettes that echo more recent blurring of gender stereotypes relating to work and the division of labour.
In the digital darkroom, my work allows me to bring simplification and order to a profusion of long-term visual memories. Crevice Communities of the Post Colonial past are thus explored through unconstrained childhood memories of clothesline shadows. My work attempts to highlight the power of visual imagery to find meaning in memories and show hope and optimism for the future of regional and remote Crevice Communities.
Marg has exhibited many times and pursued a full-time career in secondary and tertiary education in NE Victoria. Photography has been a constant passion. For Marg the crispness of a black and white image both simplifies and amplifies reality. She continues to embed environmental sustainability at the heart of her practice
Main image: Marg Leddin – Abstracted Washing Line.