Renata Buziak: Reveal

WHEN : 20th September - 21st October
WHERE : Onespace Gallery

Renata Buziak’s exhibition reveal presents a dramatic new series of self-portrait photograms* that capture the artist’s performative physical presence. Departing from and yet showing parallels with her previous photographic work, reveal marks an exciting direction in this artist’s career.

“The photograms in this exhibition were created during multiple versions of a solitary performance, born of days alone in the dark room. The images exhibit a painterly use of photography, using light, albeit with the rapid-fire aesthetic of the photogram medium.” [Louise Martin-Chew, catalogue essay.]

These enigmatic images in reveal create a record of Buziak’s own body. They capture her physicality, movement patterns, and silhouette, without the possibility of recognition. They are dynamic vignettes showing arrested movement that appear like flashes from a frenetic dance floor. Their psychedelic colours evoke acid pop or action painting.

In their colour, style and presentation, these multilayered images are a dramatic departure from her other studio practice. Buziak, who received her Doctor of Philosophy (Queensland College of Art, Griffith University) in 2016, is well-known for her PhD art+science artworks which produces biochromes – images that form as plant matter and photographic materials decay together over time. As Buziak suggests: “The reactions (between the organic matter and photographic material) take several weeks, allowing for micro-organic activities to develop. The photographic emulsion itself has layers of colour and gelatin, so it’s perfect for microbes to thrive on.”

However, in reveal, Buziak prefers a more poetic approach, recording her body in a much more sped-up dynamic real-time process. But these works also note the transience of humanity in a global milieu characterised by movement of people and populations. In these works, Buziak posits humanity within a similar process to the natural detritus and its cyclic nature of her biochromes.

Fresh back from the Netherlands where she opened her latest Medicinal Plant Cycles at WM Gallery in Amsterdam, Buziak is excited to be back home again in Brisbane to launch this latest body of work. The photograms in this exhibition were created during multiple versions of a solitary performance, born of days alone in the dark room. The images exhibit a painterly use of photography, using light, albeit with the rapid-fire aesthetic of the photogram medium. While Buziak has regularly made self-portraits, these recent works are her first created in series.

The shapes of the paper echo Buziak’s physicality; long narrow vignettes, they are slivers of action that record her body contacting the paper, using time lapse and light. She says, “They are experimental, serendipitous. This is a change for me, to work within a one-to-one scale. They are exactly the size of my body; the image captures the movement (of my body) on the paper.”

While she has put herself in the frame, Buziak becomes disembodied in the process, distanced through the abstracted nature of the photogram. Her interests are also informed by the performative body, a solitary act randomly selected by the light and colour of the process. The works parallel theatrical performances where the light directs the eye, and her poem Solitary Performance (see attached) evokes a dance, tracing the arc of memory vested in the body and its motion-driven changes.

Slices of this action are displayed in tight groups that denote each ‘performance’, positioned in the space like slots in the wall, corralled corners of discrete activity. Recognisable are the archetypal silhouettes of hands and feet (which remind me of the stenciled images you may see in age-old rock paintings), hair, and limbs. These images are dynamic in their capture of regular and constant movement, offering Buziak’s embrace of “the rhythm and colour of my heart beat”, the exhilarating physical act of being human in this place and time.

Exhibition Opening: 23 September 2017 from 4-6pm

Image: Renata Buziak, 2017, Softly pressing down (detail), C-Type print on aluminium, 186 x 29 cm.