Harry Hummerston’s latest exhibition, Double Vision, at the Turner Gallery until August 31. Go to turnergalleries.com.au for more information.
The juxtaposition of different aesthetic images requiring the public to work a little for their visual experience – this is the underlying theme of Harry Hummerson’s latest exhibition. From his background in screenprinting that lent itself to the process, this collection is an organic gathering of ideas and images combined to stimulate.
Hummerston does not have a preconceived idea about what any of it will look like when he starts – by using a collection of images that he has enjoyed, liked or simply piques his interest he puts together a collection of shape and colour. This work can suggest one thing in an initial impression, but invites the viewer to look more deeply into it to recognise the imagery and begin to form links and opinions about what is being experienced. Some are obvious, some are more deceptive to the eye.
How did you come to create the works that you are showing for this exhibition?
The main interest I have in putting a couple of images that aren’t normally associated together, and the colour comes about by either trying to disguise what the image might be, or to add an aesthetic to it which makes you think about it in a different way, to take time to look at the image and then suddenly there is more than you realise.
Dr Julian Goddard wrote about your work The Kiss – two disparate images of a ship and a hummingbird that come together with a common theme. Was this intentional?
It’s the viewer that makes the relationship, the background is the masts of the sailing ship and shadows, and two hummingbirds over the top. They are unrelated, though the article was talking about seeing two images together and you start making relationships. That’s what I’m after really, putting two images together and letting the viewer do the work and make of it what they will, so I don’t have a predetermined reading for the work itself. In his case, he read that birds use the wind, ships use the wind, air is the common medium, etcetera etcetera. Those were the kinds of connections he was making.
There are the odd nods to artists included in the paintings such as Andy Warhol which seems fitting for an exhibition that riffs of pop-culture with such abandon. Your work has commented on pop before – how is this collection different?
In one sense it’s a progression from those. Some of these images are from popular culture, and some are from very recognisable popular culture – for example, everyone is going to get R2-D2, but some are less obvious. Which is fine, as some people will want to find out, or take it as they will. This is a lot simpler than what I used to do. I’ve cut down or trimmed the fat off a lot of artwork, I guess.
_ SHAUN FRENEY