Collection in Focus: Between Urgency and Leisure
Harold David, Lyndal irons, Ladstreet, Selina Ou, David Porter, Greg Semu, and Craig Walsh
By recent estimates, there are around 750 billion images currently in circulation online. And that is only 6 percent of the total photos that have been taken, but never shared online. The acceleration of the ways and the rate in which photos are now shared has no doubt changed our relationship to the photo image, as well as the ways in which these images are stored. Photographs, now, serve as a kind of proof of life. They are taken hurriedly, in a rush to capture a fleeting moment or to act as a stand in when our memory may fail us. They are taken with care, and often repeated in multiples, to ensure that we can properly represents ourselves, our families and our communities in moments of relaxation and joy.
Between Urgency and Leisure presents a group of photographic works from the collection of Penrith Regional Gallery, alongside newly acquired additions. The exhibition highlights the history of Penrith Regional Gallery in commissioning and presenting social photography projects that connect leading contemporary artists with communities from our region. In a time where the digital image functions as a beacon for that which is instantaneous – or urgent – as much as it records our collective pastime, this exhibition invites us to consider that which transpires in the moments in between.
Artists Harold David, Lyndal Irons, Ladstreet, Selina Ou, David Porter, Greg Semu and Craig Walsh are included in our collection, and presented as part of Between Urgency and Leisure, they represent a diverse and varied snapshot of Penrith and western Sydney as it has changed and grown over the last sixty years. The artworks included in the exhibition encompass a broad range of themes. From the lived experience of the Pacific diaspora in western Sydney and the representation of families therein; through to the revered status of sports and the vitality of music subcultures and their role in shaping public sentiment.
With a clear focus in capturing the people of Penrith and western Sydney in their own spaces, and on their own terms, the artists in Between Urgency and Leisure share a respect of their subjects, and an interest in how the everyday may be translated through photography into the iconic. In this sense, the exhibition presents an expanded notion of portraiture photography. One that extends to include – both conceptually and formally – representations of place and time, as much as the subject themselves.
While the medium of photography is intrinsically linked with time, the ability to capture or evoke can be elusive. What does the passing of time look, or indeed feel, like? Time doesn’t discriminate against any particular moment, whether we think of them as remarkable or inconsequential. But the photographic image, in all its forms, allows us to experience the spectrum of moments, from the historical to the mundane, to linger in the space between urgency and leisure.