the quiet never meet review
Hawkes' exhibition, 'The Quiet Never Meet' got reviewed on the Sydney Art Month website by Orlan Erin Raleigh:
GRANT HAWKES 'THE QUIET NEVER MEET' AT MOP
Saturday, March 12, 2011
What are we doing, when we think nobody is looking? What do those around us witness of ourselves? "The Quiet Never Meet", an exhibition of photography by Sydney artist Grant Hawkes, is currently showing at MOP gallery in Chippendale. The body of work, Grant’s first exhibition, consists of thirty four black and white photographs made whilst Hawkes was travelling alone in remote Turkey and Iran.
Upon entering the space the viewer walks along the long wall of images almost following in the artist’s footsteps, encountering people and scenery without a sense of time. We are as displaced as Hawkes was, and are immediately absorbed in simultaneous narratives – the artist’s, and of course our own inherent interpretation of the images. Our preconceptions of Iran are dissolved by Hawkes' sensitive touch. We fantasise about travel to exotic locations where we have not dared to go. The power of images from the recent Libyan uprising lingers in our minds. There is familiarity in the faces he has captured of people we have never met.
Such an undertaking could produce "Time/Life" photographs – ones we have all seen and know – instead Hawkes confidently shrugs off such formulae and tells his own story. Each framed image in "The Quiet Never Meet" is a poignant element in a photo essay exploring loneliness, contemplation and escape.
The repetition of patterns in the works reveals Hawkes' strong compositional eye. Shadows, scaffolding and brickwork create a visual grid on which, and within, he removes any severe dramatic narrative and in a way allows the organic story to shift and move. The images are subtle. They are brave and without agenda. None of the images feels overtly voyeuristic; a testament to the artist's strong storytelling. The figures have space within the compositions. Some figures are almost hard to distinguish from the expansive landscape, setting them free whist we approach to inspect closely what it is they are up to. Nothing constricts them from continuing with their preoccupations and it is their preoccupations at which we are staring. We go along for the ride. We quietly watch them, and recognise ourselves. A boy sitting amongst the items in a stall staring into a fence, enveloped in his thoughts. A man at rest still smoking his cigarette although barely awake invokes the relief of the end of a day, whilst another races past the camera on a motorcycle, awakening our keen sense of adventure.
Hawkes' practice delves into contemplation and places those who view the works by his side. Whilst rewarding those intrepid art scene travellers with photographs which leave an indelible sense of worldwide community, "The Quiet Never Meet" also provides the viewers with thirty-four stunning images, reflections of that which we already know- ourselves.
Orlan Erin Raleigh - Practicing artist and art consultant
Anon commented on 12-Mar-2011 04:24 PM
Nailed it, great article - captured what i also took away from this really strong exhibition. Am more of a fan of painting but the art and understated intelligence in these photos has really grabbed my attention. Well done MOP, bravo Grant Hawkes.
Anonymous commented on 13-Mar-2011 08:03 AM
This is an insiteful and intreging exhibition,one look at the works tells one story, whilst further investigation will tell another.Each person will have their own interpretation. Quite an amazing exhibition,well done Grant.
Anonymous commented on 13-Mar-2011 08:54 AM
Beautiful, understated and immersive collection of photographs. I agree there is a strong sense of narrative and storytelling but the wonderful thing is that these elements are evoked rather than told. It was a great pleasure to see both Hawkes' and Mosca's shows for their inherent strength without their need to demonstrate it...
Anonymous commented on 14-Mar-2011 08:53 AM
Wow..... just amazing,