Preview

Tasmanian artist Rosie Hastie exploits the photographic medium like an illusionist. To create her work, Hastie combines skillfully placed lighting with wads of crumpled paper to produce the impression of a fantastical landscape. Conjuring lo-fi special effects made with a mixture of bicarb and dry ice to add atmosphere and depth, Hastie’s landscapes challenge our sense of what is reality and what is imagined.

Labelling her photographs “paperscapes”, Hastie’s images recall romanticised landscapes bathed in morning light and flanked by undulating waterways.

There is a hint of melancholy within their implied vastness and little evidence of human presence. Many of Hastie’s works are emotive reflections of places she remembers or works of art she has seen, brought together in a filtered blend of reality and memory. “When I first started to work with paper and light in 2011, it was as a means to find perfection in place,” she explains. “Essentially, this is something that doesn’t exist, but I wanted to be in control of a place that my mind could then freely inhabit.”

Pendulous is loosely based on the ideas behind Michel Foucault’s Heterotopia, a theory investigating parallel spaces and worlds within worlds.

By using unconventional materials and manipulating the technical elements of photography, Hastie aims to create layers of multiple meanings in her images, challenging the viewer to question the truth of a photograph. “I think the use of paper and light to create images has now become a test for myself,” she says. “I feel like the possibilities are infinite and I want to push the ideas as much as I can. The best creations are made with the tightest parameters.”

Pendulous
Rosie Hastie
Bett Gallery
18 January—9 February

This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Briony Downes