14 AUGUST – 7 SEPTEMBER 2013
Gallery 9 is pleased to present six new large charcoal drawings by New Zealand born, Sydney based artist Simon Kennedy in The Stenographer, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition in Sydney.
The latest body of drawings follows from his well-received exhibition The Preserved (2011) for which he drew from historical photographic portraits of iconic World War II French Resistance women agents. Again for this series, Kennedy looks to photographs of important women, authors from New Zealand, and also Aldous Huxley and Ernest Hemingway, again to honour them as important historical figures. However, while the artist’s original intention for the exhibition was to honour particular writers this was somewhat abandoned early in creation of the first of the series’ drawings.
As with the subjects of the earlier series, Kennedy explains how, as the drawings progressed, the images themselves became more important than any theme he could adhere to and as each drawing was completed, the subject of the next, and source image would present itself. The images themselves are not only selected by the artist according to what he understands will work as drawn compositions but most essentially, what will present a great variety of interesting tonal investigation too. While there is a fascination with the subject, Kennedy feels he is already fortunate working what the photographer (or artist) achieved before him and while he knows he is drawn to particular images when asked why he choses them he claims to “have never worked it out” and asks “[i]s it the person in the photo that I am seeking to understand, or the raw data of the photographic image?” Self-reflection and the artist’s subconscious use of subjects with his own likeness is another topic continually raised from past works and is again perhaps present in these. In Kennedy’s words “Maybe I contort the image as I work to make it look like me; they never do look like the original photo.”
Simon Kennedy holds a BFA from the Otago Polytechnic School of Art in Dunedin. Before relocating to Sydney, he staged several solo exhibitions with Marshall Seifert Gallery in Dunedin and has won the Waiheke Art Prize in 2005. His work has featured in numerous group exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand and has been collected by the New Zealand Parliament Collection, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Artbank.