My second twenty four year survey is over, where to next?
Mainly, I feel liberated for the next phases of my work, but to that later in this post
Firstly, I will thank Julian Bowron, then Director of Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, BRAG, for inviiting me to have this show and for the organisation of the first stage, and for constant input to the show’s tour.
From Julian’s introduction to the catalogue “I first became aware of John Austin’s work when looking through the City of Bunbury Art Collection and discovering images from his enigmatic portrait series of the artist Howare Taylor. . . By then I knew that on the edge of the forest at Quinninup lived a remarkable photographer who should be the subject of a BRAG retrospective exhibtion by a senior South West artist . . .
The show was far harder than I had imagined, at first it seemed it would be simple. Julian suggested the show during the Doug Chambers opening. I thought about a small show of big prints of 10×8” camera portraits in the tiny cube gallery in the middle of BRAG. Big confronting prints with no room for the viewer to stand back for relief, and I would still like to do this. During our subsequent meeting Julian corrected me to a twenty four year survey show. I glibly accepted, thinking that the work was done, the prints existed in my plan chest, and all that was needed was a competent curator, a catalogue and funding for framing
Nothing could have been further from reality, it was a lot of hard work. Almost all the prints are new prints, the matting was tedious and the mental stress was huge. But the show was ready a month before the opening on 16th September 2017, and the beginning and end tour dates penciled in for Busselton and Manduah
The show has had a lot of great responses, and in particular the reception from women has been understanding and embracing. It has generally been women to have responded best to my work. It was two women, Diana McGirr and Sarah Drummond and who wrote the penetrating essays for the catalogue. Added to this are Eva’s comment in the BRAG visitor comments book and Rachel’s perceptive comments via Messenger that became the text for the Manjimup leg of the show