Photography Art Gallery of NSW

Review: Visual Arts/Photography

Joy before the object

Not sure if you have noticed, but dedicated photography galleries within our public art galleries are now reduced to two.  There is one in the Art Gallery of NSW and one at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra). The one upstairs at the National Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, recently just evaporated and the space taken over for other stuff. That’s it! Our otherwise creative and intelligent gallery directors still do not get it. People love photography and will travel to see photography exhibitions, and while they are in the building will look through other exhibitions.

So it was wonderful to visit the Art Gallery of NSW last week and to see a very interesting exhibition of photography, titled Joy before the object.

The exhibition did have a theme. Here it is.  I did my usual thing and ignored the reason for the exhibition and dived straight in. I walked around and enjoyed the photographs. What a great selection it is. Judy Annear, the curator pf photography, has used her very insightful mind to select these particular works. They are a joy to behold. There’s the occasional smile, the occasional marvel at the scene and all the while the enjoyment of looking at such beautiful objects of art.


Yes, I  liked this exhibition. It a selection of works brought together for the curator’s own reasoning, and as a result you have before you a range of styles from photographic artists from the beginnings of the medium to those in contemporary practice. It is great to see how the professional expertise and passion of a curator, such as Judy, delivers to us an exhibition such as this: Joy before the object.


As for the theme, it fits well, or should that be that the photographs fit well with the theme. Anyone can take a photo of an object. But these artists have made their photographs of the objects and have  produced opportunities for an engaging experience.

The curator has brought this particular selection of twenty-four great photographs together to entice the audience to travel  to twenty-four places of imagination.


Images of the exhibition works are online – right here.

or if that does not work, try the link off this page – a click where it says “View all work”

The exhibition is up till 2nd February 2014, and is free.

Go and have a long look.

Recommended: Rating 8/10

PS: A message to the other public art gallery directors: We like to see photography exhibitions, not just assimilated into the other exhibitions, but in stand alone exhibitions. Bring out you collections.


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