For his latest series Australian photographer, Murray Fredericks, travelled alone with a bicycle and trailer, carrying his large format camera and supplies to capture a vast area of Southern Australia in severe weather conditions; taking both a physical and mental toll in order to capture the perfect frames.
Fredericks sought to work in the most barren landscape possible, with Lake Eyre becoming the chosen location due to its perfectly flat surface and razor sharp horizon which provide a landscape devoid of features. It is remote is the most extreme sense: windswept and devoid of fresh water, with temperatures alternating between freezing to the high forties and inhabited only by a few rare species of animals.
Evolving from large format colour photographs to grand scale panoramic scenes, each photograph within the Lake Eyre series was captured at night – a process which marks a new technological leap for Fredericks. Each pigment print increasingly concentrates on drilling into this single environment, with the subject stripped to its essence through the process of elimination caused by repetition.
Following the Lake Eyre series is a project located in an even more minimal landscape, Topophiia: the Greenland Ice Sheets, which replaces the salt lake bed with snow and the desert air with an atmosphere of fine ice crystals. Again risking his life for his work, here Fredericks made six journeys to the unimaginably inhospitable conditions of Greenland’s Ice Sheet. The work is part of his continued quest to explore the subjects of ‘space’ and the ‘void’: through physical sites describing an inner, rather than outer landscape.
Fredericks’ projects extend over many years and are consistently located in featureless, perfectly flat landscapes austerely defined by an unbroken and continuous horizon. In such minimal environments temporal atmospheric phenomena and the subtleties of light become powerful elements that define the visual plane. Verging on transcendental, this view transports us beyond our culturally imbued recognitions of the geographical qualities of place.
Murray Fredericks: Recent Works, until 30 January, Hamiltons Galleries, 13 Carlos Place, London, W1K 2EU. For more information visit www.hamiltonsgallery.com
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1. Murray Fredericks, Salt 270, 2010.