Critically acclaimed photo media artist Tamara Dean has created a new fleet of large scale photographs which explores her and our intimate relationship with nature. High Jinks in the Hydrangeas explores Dean’s desire to be in and of nature during the first global lockdown in 2020, and how our interior experiences of isolation were inextricably linked with escaping into the exterior world.
This theatrical series sees for the first time the artist placing herself in front of the camera, embodying both model and photographer. Dean’s luminous body is curled, concealed, and at times emboldened within striking plants of ruby camellia, magenta azalea and periwinkle blue hydrangeas. By placing herself in front of the camera, Dean allows herself to become a figurative element of the landscape; one with nature.
Currently showing in dual locations, High Jinks in the Hydrangeas is Dean’s first solo show at Michael Reid Sydney and is also the inaugural opening exhibition at Ngununggula, the newly established Southern Highland Regional Gallery located in Retford Park.
As our daily lives have suddenly transformed due to COVID-19 I have embraced this period of self-isolation and have been using my photographic process as a form of escapism from my pandemic induced anxieties.
I have been creating a series of photographs in private gardens, using myself as the figurative element in the landscape. At times emboldened within the landscape, at times fleeing from an invisible threat. Reflecting the dual aspects of my psychological response to the virus and the social isolation – from a feeling of claustrophobia and anxiety, to a sense of release and connection to nature.
Also referencing that while we have slowed down, the natural life and lifecycles continue on around us as they always have.
– Tamara Dean