Recent Work, an exhibition by Australian photographer, Murray Fredericks, showcased a selection of large scale work from his Lake Eyre series and Topophilia, the Greenland Ice Sheets.
Lake Eyre is a continuation of Fredericks' Salt series, as previously exhibited at Hamiltons in Salt, 2007 and Salt II, 2009. Often travelling alone with a bicycle and trailer, carrying his large format camera and supplies, Fredericks navigated this vast area in Southern Australia in extreme weather conditions, taking both a physical and mental toll, in order to capture the perfect frames.
His work has evolved from large format colour photographs to grand scale panoramic scenes, 1.2 x 4.1 metre: ten to twenty frames assembled in one image. Each photograph within the Lake Eyre series was captured at night and marks a new technological leap for Fredericks which, he sites, "makes the work there worthwhile for me again."
"The project arose out of a desire to work in the most barren landscape that I could find. Lake Eyre was chosen as an appropriate location since its perfectly flat surface and razor sharp horizon provide a landscape devoid of features, which extends, once out on the Lake, in every direction." Fredericks.
Rather than covering multiple landscapes a single location is selected and the work concentrates on drilling into that frame, that environment, that circumstance. The subject is stripped to its essence through the methodology of repetition.
Each pigment print in the project, which commenced in 2003, 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.
Fredericks sites Topophilia: the Greenland Ice Sheets, as the next conceptual step to his Salt and Lake Eyre series. "The rationale was to locate the project in an even more minimal landscape than Lake Eyre, replacing the salt lake bed with snow and the clear desert air with an atmosphere of fine ice crystals." Fredericks is a man that risks his life for his art, throwing himself for extensive periods of time into unimaginably inhospitable conditions - he made six journeys to the centre of Greenland's Ice Sheet, between 2010 to 2013, in a continued quest to explore the subjects of 'space' and the 'void'. Aiming to convey 'an emotional experience of space', he describes an inner, rather than outer landscape. Fredericks locates his projects in featureless, perfectly flat landscapes, austerely defined by an unbroken and continuous horizon. Working in such minimal environments, temporal atmospheric phenomena and the subtleties of light become powerful elements that define the visual plane. Verging on transcendental, this view transports us beyond our everyday recognition of geographical space.
Fredericks' projects extend over many years - sometimes with months spent in treacherous conditions - yet he says that the adventure is simply a by-product of the pursuit of a vision and an adherence to concept.
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; Sir Elton John Collection, London; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Valentino Collection; ABN Amro Collection amongst others. Fredericks has produced two documentaries; the multi award winning and widely acclaimed Salt, and more recently Nothing on Earth, filmed in Greenland whilst producing Topophilia.