of iconic beach-themed images was assembled for a major survey
show at Manly Art Gallery & Museum by one of Australia's
most prominent photomedia artists.
From her acclaimed exhibition
Bondi: Playground of the Pacific, 1989, a series reflecting on
the mythologies of the beach and its community, through to the
celebrated Leisureland (1999) series which documented the central
place of leisure in Australian culture, and more recently a series
of images titled Homeground which delves into the cultural characteristics
of Sydney suburbs, Anne Zahalka has continued to explore the
place of the beach in contemporary Australian culture.
Reflecting on the imagery
of traditional oil painting and photography, cinema and advertising,
Zahalka has continued to play with the 'scenic backdrop', becoming
one of a number of tropes within her work. Alongside the repeated
motifs of the 'great outdoors' ocean, and seaside, Zahalka has
continually investigated and challenged ideas of national, cultural
and gender identity. Her work often deals with imagery that is
very familiar to Australians, but subverts these with an ironic
and critical voice. In the range of settings for her portrait
figures, Zahalka has never strayed for too long from the image
of the beach, whether real or contrived.
She has created new images
generated in part by her observations and research of the seaside
and harbour suburb of Manly and, through her investigations,
uncovered an obscure 1930s painting by Nancy Kilgour from the
MAG&M collection. She has reflected and re-figured that image
to be both artwork in itself and a backdrop for the creation
of other works. Her fascination with the scenic backdrop, iconic
oil paintings and 'the portrait' directs much of her work.
Anne Zahalka's artworks feature
in major public collections across the nation, prominently in
published collections of Australian art photography, and have
been commissioned for airports, hotels, galleries and houses
of Parliament. She has exhibited extensively in Australia and
internationally for over thirty years and held over 40 solo exhibitions.
A major survey of her portrait work was prepared by the Centre
of Contemporary Photography titled Hall of Mirrors: Anne Zahalka
Portraits 1987 - 2007, and toured regionally and to major venues
including the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.
This catalogue features
her most significant works from the beach and water-themed series
including The Bathers, 1989, Sunbathers No. 1 and 2, 1989 and
a revisiting of these works such as The New Bathers, 2013 made
for the documentary The Art of Australia presented by Edmond
Capon in which Anne was included and most recently a new version
titled The Sunbather, 2015 featuring the same model who appeared
in the original work now 26 years on.
We are very excited to be able to offer the original vintage
collection from Anne's formative exhibition Bondi: Playground
of the Pacific, 1989, printed by the artist from this period,
as well as her newer works.