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Allusion and Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks, Monash Gallery of Art.
September 29, 2018 - November 18, 2018
Allusion & Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks is the first in a series of exhibitions that profiles and explores the work of previous William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize alumni.
Valerie Sparks won the Bowness Photography Prize in 2016 for her work ‘Prospero’s Island – North East’ from the series Prospero’s Island (2016). Sparks had been a finalist four times previously, but it was for this work that the judges decided to award her the coveted prize.
Sparks purposefully creates sensuous and stunningly beautiful large scale works that entice the viewer with perfectly impossible landscapes. Each work is meticulously constructed using photographs she has taken of different landscapes, flora, fauna and taxidermied animals from museum collections. It is a painstaking process to remove the background before creating the multi-layered work.
These montaged, composite images draw attention to concerns over the destruction of landscape, post-colonialism and globalisation. In particular her work draws attention to displacement and the turbulent history of Tasmania, and highlights the problematic way historical museum collections have been established.