Amanda Williams - Alpine Bogs and Associated Fens, 2020 | at The Commercial, Sydney


It is with pleasure that The Commercial presents Alpine Bogs and Associated Fens, a solo exhibition by Amanda Williams. It is Williams’ first solo show with the gallery and follows the presentation of her work in the group exhibition Peace Altitude and at Sydney Contemporary in 2019.
Alpine Bogs and Associated Fens is an exhibition of large format, analogue, black and white landscape photographs transported by Williams’ sensitive navigation of her subject and her commitment to and handling of antiquated photographic materials (metallic, gelatinous, fibrous) and techniques (challenging, inconvenient, performative). She elevates an obsolete medium to something relevant and revelatory, producing images that are deeply compelling in their tonal detail and sustaining in the tactile and generous expression of their subject. Sidestepping spectacle with beneficial grace, Williams lets simple topographies give voice to greater moments of humbling ecological complexity and subtlety. The exhibition is the largest presentation to date of her mural format, hand-printed silver gelatin prints.

Williams has been photographing the alpine regions of southeastern Australia for a number of years. The images in this exhibition meditate upon high country though straddle the snowline in her passage from gully to higher altitude. They were taken between September and December 2019, a timeline which parallels a period when fire, conspicuously absent from her viewfinder, became commensurate with the image of Australian landscape on mainstream and social media and the subject of urgent debate.
The artist and gallery pay our respects to the traditional owners of the alpine lands on which these photographs were taken. We acknowledge that they are more than one people and that understanding of the territories of traditional custodianship of these areas is currently under reconsideration between a number of Aboriginal peoples of different language groups whose deep historic connection to country has been displaced and obscured by colonial occupation. Much positive work is currently being done in this area. We pledge a donation from sales of works in the exhibition to Firesticks Alliance, an Indigenous-led network whose aim is to reinvigorate the use of cultural burning by facilitating learning pathways to fire and land management in Australia.
The exhibition is accompanied by a text commissioned from Michael Edward Harvey.