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November 13, 2013 - December 2, 2013
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm
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The olive groves of southern Italy are some of the oldest on earth. Some are so ancient – planted in the Dark Ages and nurtured by around 40 generations – they are actually listed by UNESCO as cultural treasures.
These groves, photographed in Puglia in the heel of the boot of Italy, are presented as triptychs, symbolic of the potential harmony on offer when humankind works together with nature. The artist, Jane Burton Taylor, is nearing completion of her Masters of Art at the College of Fine Arts (majoring in Sculpture). She took three years to photograph the groves, visiting them in each of the four season to witness their different stages: including their annual pruning and harvesting, the latter when nets are thrown on the ground and the trees are shaken to catch their ripe olives.
The thirteen works, presented in a linear collection that can be read as a whole, represent a man-made landscape; nature and human beings having both produced the spaces together. In a sense they are architectural spaces.
They also have overtones of mythological and religious narratives. “There is a hint of the potential paradise on offer if we work with the natural world, and equally, with the potential loss of natural systems that nurture and support us, if we don’t,” the artist says.
Individually, that is within each triptych, the photos present different perspectives, but are put together as if continuous, so giving the viewer a slightly unreal sense of place. They are like a memory, which recalls a place, but is never exactly as it is in reality. Arguably the groves become more evocative, more epic, even than the real thing, as so many places, people or ideals humans hold dear seem to become, in imagination, larger than life.
The photographs were shot on film, using a 50 year old Hasselblad medium format camera. They are sold in limited edition prints.
Jane Burton Taylor