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Old New World
Photographs by Mary Macpherson. Introduction by Gregory O'Brien
Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland, 2012. 96 pp., 62 colour photographs, 12
In 62 profound and beautiful photographs photographer Mary Macpherson investigates the complex visual fabric of small town New Zealand. The work shows the shift from the remains of a traditional New Zealand to places of prosperity, development and reinvention that look very different to the remembered past.
In work that is fresh and witty, and alert to the context of landscape, community and history, Macpherson also tracks the way provincial towns are representing themselves and New Zealand identity. The instant ‘New Zealandness’ of murals, advertisements and artworks combine with older identity symbols such as war memorials to highlight a society in transition and the layers of time that are around us.
The photographs are in dialogue with the tradition of documenting the human landscape in a restrained yet socially charged way. First exhibited at the Auckland Festival of Photography, Old New World is also a touring exhibition in New Zealand.
“We arrive at the first photograph in this series at 4.18pm – as registered on the Foxton town clock, which hovers at the centre of the image like a sun and a moon. The image registers a specific time as it does a place. Time presides over the first image as, or more obliquely, it does over all the subsequent photographs.” Gregory O’Brien (introduction to Old New World)
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