Review

Eventual Efflorescence – Kate van der Drift

Hello again,

I hope everyone is wrapped up warm this winter!  But if you are struggling, here is a recipe for Glögg (Swedish Mulled Wine) to help keep snug and toasty 😛  I know I’ve said it before, but I feel like the years are going by faster and faster.  It’s already June, which means that the Auckland Festival of Photography has rolled around!

Gracing Room 2 of Sanderson Contemporary in Newmarket is Eventual Efflorescence, the latest exhibition by photographer Kate van der Drift.  These new works depicts scenes of suburbia: front yards, stormwater drains, brick fences and more, and like previous images in her oeuvre, include vistas of water.  They express van der Drift’s ongoing investigation into place; how our surrounds undergo significant transformation due to human settlement, population growth, and industrial and technological advancements.

Eerily still and somewhat unsettling, her photographs are dichotomous in nature: mundane yet captivating, dreamlike yet real, they are images of nature that are unnaturally beautiful, and I found myself drawn in but equally detached.  The quietness of van der Drift’s works counter the fact that they are images of occupancy – they are about people and how we have modified our landscape to suit our way of living, but are void of a single person.  I found this particularly evident in Stormwater Reserve (2016, Giclée photograph on matte paper, 1350 mm x 915 mm) an elegant suburban panorama beside a mirroring body of water, emptied of people.  Furthermore, in Seychelles Drive (2016, Giclée photograph on matte paper, 850 mm x 850 mm) three perfectly manicured trees sit out front of a residence, an example of our fastidious shaping and control of our surroundings.  I think it is this containment and neatening of nature that lends a sense of artifice to what we are seeing, and makes one wonder what lies beneath.

When initially seeing these photographs, I was at a loss as to where they were taken.  With none of the usual clues (street signs, types of trees, licence plates) it was like a game of GeoGuessr.  The sublime palm in Sorrento Key (2016, Giclée photograph on matte paper, 1110 mm x 1110 mm) suggests somewhere balmy and tropical, like Florida or Vanuatu.  Thus I was surprised upon learning that these were photographs of Papamoa, the largest suburb in Tauranga, with a 16 km stretch of white beach.  It is currently an area of rapid growth and development, the land being irreversibly transformed to keep up with the demand for housing.  There is a universality to van der Drift’s images as they could be photographs of anywhere in the world.  By capturing the banal, she highlights what is missing – how places rich in history and memory are seemingly buried, and make way for new and differing needs and wants.  Her use of water as a motif for metamorphosis is fascinating, and the title of the exhibition points to the inevitability of such flowering and growth.  Though tinged with melancholia, water can also represent renewal and regeneration, and there is hope that the cultures and histories of such places are never really forgotten.

Hauntingly superb, Eventual Efflorescence by Kate van der Drift is at Sanderson Contemporary, Newmarket until 26th June 2016 and is part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.  There are a number of exceptional exhibitions to see, do check them out!

For images of van der Drift’s exhibition, please click on the links below:

http://www.katevanderdrift.com/eventual-efflorescence/

http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Exhibition/412/Kate-van-der-Drift/Eventual-Efflorescence/PageIndex/0/ProductId/11141.aspx

And lastly, my blog stats say that I’ve hit 2,000 views – I just wanted to say a big thank you and acknowledge all the visitors.  When I started this blog about two years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s been a fun and exciting journey 😀  Even if some of your visits have been accidental, I appreciate your taking the time to read, and I hope you have enjoyed it!

To more to come,

M.

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