Creative Paddington: Tracey Moffatt

By Lola Pinder



The Australian Centre for Photography offered Tracey Moffatt her first solo exhibition in 1989. Moffatt exhibited her now iconic photoseries Something More. This sequence of six coloured cibachrome and three monochrome works portrayed the artist as the subject in works reminiscent of B-grade Hollywood stills. Something More established Moffatt’s signature style of self-portrait, stylised scene-scapes and catapulted Moffatt to the heights of Australia’s contemporary art scene.

The ACP has shown Moffatt throughout her career as she remains at the forefront of contemporary practice. In 2006 Moffatt was included in SynCity, a collaboration of d/Lux/MediaArts and the ACP’s exhibition of experimental screen culture. The show brought together established and emerging video artists to celebrate the history of digital media. Moffatt’s artistic status was then celebrated in 2009 with the ACP exhibition Inheritance, a group show that took Moffatt’s highly acclaimed 1994 series Scarred for Life, a parody of the picture essay format of Life Magazine, as starting point for representations of contemporary family life through photographic and video media. Moffatt’s work was also included in Hijacked III in 2012 a survey of contemporary photographic practice at the time, including video, archival images, documentary photography and Internet media. 

Moffatt shifts easily between mediums. Her photographs reflect her film-making experience. The tableaux she creates are carefully staged and contain heavy narrative components. By the same means, Moffatt’s films reflect her strong photographic sense in their cinematography. She uses the popular and immediate aspects of film photography to conjure melodrama and kitsch in her works. Moffatt borrows historic references from pop-culture and the art canon in equal spoonfuls in her contemporary storytelling.

Forever the subject of reinvention in her own photographic practice, Tracey Moffatt straddles past and present photographic practices in her work. She references the aesthetics of analogue photography and embraces the accelerating progress of digital imaging. Moffatt's work looks at ways of re-imagining the past and rethinking the future; interrogating gender, post-colonialism, socio-economics and  the psyche. Her photographic and film works assure her place as one of Australia’s most internationally renowned contemporary artists.

Tracey Moffatt received the Infinity Award for art by the International Centre of Photography, New York, in 2007 and the Australian Council Visual Arts Award in 2012.

She is Represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, located in Paddington, and Tyler Rollins in New York.

Moffatt is exhibiting at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts from February 19th.

This post is part of the Art Month Event Creative Paddington taking place on March 7th in conjunction with Metro Screen and UNSW Art & Design.



Image: Exhibition invite courtesy and © Australian Centre for Photography Archive