THE MYTH MAKERS
BECC ORSZÁG + JEREMY BLINCOE | GALLERYSMITH | MELBOURNE | APRIL 2017
essay BY DR ASHLEY CRAWFORD
The making of worlds just seems to come naturally to some artists. Constrained or frustrated by the ‘real’ world, they create their own where they can investigate and commentate on everything from the environment to religion to the structures of society itself without the constraints of the everyday. They are makers of myths.
Becc Orszag is an illusionist par excellence. What we may assume are straightforward sketches of existing landscapes are in fact the result of agonizing foraging to uncover numerous elements which are used to create collage ‘sketches’ to utilise as the ground work for her drawn fictitious worlds. While upon a first glimpse one assumes a simple and beatific landscape, it does not take long to realise there is something ‘off’ about this world. She calls these Immaculate Landscapes, but they are landscapes presented via Rorschach structuring, as if allowing us a choice of directions to travel in. This almost schizophrenic, labia-like tableaux act like altarpieces for an alternate church allowing us a choice of worlds to choose from.
She states that these dreamscapes explore; “the fine line between Utopic and Dystopic ideals by investigating political, religious and social belief systems, drawing upon an interest in the universal longing for a heaven or utopic land, addressing mans inherent need to be lead and belong, to idolise and revere, and its inevitable shaping of us as individuals and a society.”
There is a sense of grandeur at play in her works, more than a hint of the sublime but with the added frisson of the sacrilegious. Her alchemical process and resulting duplications or doubling up of imagery create both contemplation and delightful disorientation in the viewer and a world where new myths can be born.
Born in New Zealand and based in Melbourne, Jeremy Blincoe studied photography at Massey University in Wellington and went on to hone his craft via advertising photography. The patina of advertising aesthetics remains; he is a bravura technician and perfectionist when it comes to composition, but that is where the influence comes to an end: In fact Blincoe’s interests are the antithesis of those of advertising. Contemplating his subjects, his lighting and his colouration, one becomes immersed in a distinctive world-view saturated with that most dangerous of terms; ‘spirituality.’
His works are inevitably set at dusk, that non-time between light and dark, the interzone between wakefulness and slumber where the imagination tends to wander, creating chimera from shadows. Set in the Victorian wilderness, he drapes his actors in garb that he himself designs, creating a sense of arcane ritual that give one pause. However the real ‘stars’ of these fabulous tableaux are in fact the settings: Regardless of the activities undertaken, with their hints of arcane religious ritual, it is nature itself that dominates.
Blincoe titled this series ‘The Myth of Progress.’ It is unfortunately an apt title, for the word ‘progress’ suggests improvements or developments, a ‘myth’ indeed when one begins to take for granted a world in which the very climate seems hell bent on global devastation due to human indifference to the world in which it lives.
Instal photography by Jeremy Blincoe.