Australian photographer Murray Fredericks embarked on his latest body of work, Hector, in 2010. The project is on going and continues his exploration into the concept of space and isolation, last shown in the 2007 and 2009 ‘Salt’ exhibitions at Hamiltons. The exhibition comprises a selection of large format black and white pigment prints, each from an edition of seven and prices start at £9500 GBP.
Hector is the colloquial name for the convection thunderstorms ‘Hector the Convector’ that occur almost daily over the Tiwi Islands, situated in the Arafura Sea North of the Australian mainland; and it was during the build-up season prior to the monsoon in 2010 that Fredericks chose to make his first trip to the area. These storms are among the world’s largest thunderstorms and consequently highlight, once again, Fredericks’ wilful photographic determination as he throws himself into lengthy, isolated expeditions in which he is forced to contend with extreme conditions in order to capture the unwavering quality of resulting work. These physically and emotionally challenging journeys involve spending weeks alone and pitching camp on remote parts of the Islands near, and often under, the location of the storms.
Commencing the project by finding a flat surface over which the storms could be photographed, Fredericks describes his approach as minimalist; his intention is to deny the traditional language of landscape in order to concentrate on space over place, whereupon the subject becomes the storm itself rather than the scene in which it sits.
“In order to make images that are about ‘space’, a conceptual migration of ‘place’ back to ‘space’ is attempted. This means working to evacuate the cultural signposts that activate the location as socially constructed ‘place’. For a visual strategy I looked to the methods of artists working as minimalists and more specifically the post-minimalists (working more subjectively) who faced similar challenges.” Murray Fredericks.
Each photograph is related by the placement of the horizon running across the lower third of the image. Often this is the only referential form providing the viewer with an element that paradoxically defines space and denies total abstraction. The aim is to represent the storm within a void, hence employing a pre-determined composition; yet of greater relevance says Fredericks, is the move toward, and the investigation of space and the results of that endeavour.
Fredericks has exhibited internationally in both individual and group exhibitions; his work is held in the collections of The Museum of Sydney, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra and the Sir Elton John Collection and he is currently nominated for two awards; the 2012 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award with Hector 12 and the 60th Blake Prize with his work Hector 9.