Huon-based artist Sam Beckman finally has his moment to shine at the Devonport Regional Gallery with his exhibition Fathom, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic closure of the gallery.
Director Geoff Dobson said the gallery was thrilled to have the 2020 Little Gallery Emerging artists program participant showcased through his talented photographs, which feature a colour and black and white series.
Mr Dobson said the photographs in Fathom investigate the emotive side of our interactions and relationships with the natural world.
“On the one hand contemplating the inevitability and drama of fire in the Australian bush, and on the other, recognising the restorative energy that time in nature provides, this exhibition is an invitation to reflect on personal and subjective connections to the landscapes around us,” Mr Dobson said.
For the last two years Sam has been looking at different approaches to landscape photography.
He said rather than trying for sharp, faithful recreations of nature, he has experimented with flow and movement.
“The resulting images are more abstract and allude to the emotive side of our interactions and relationships with natural landscapes,” Sam said.
“Two different but complementary series of images have emerged from this exploration.”
Sam said the black and white series takes a contemplative look at an ever-present element of living in the Australian bush: the prospect of fire.
“These photographs were taken on the slopes of kunanyi (Mount Wellington), an area imbued with fire history. Appearing almost like agitated rubbings of the bush itself, the charcoal-like smears and smudges are a reminder that this landscape has burnt in the past, and will burn again,” he said.
“The colour images are dramatic too, though with a quieter, more mysterious atmosphere. The compositions seem layered with mist, muted tones of colour, and light. They invite the viewer to reflect on the intimate connections humans have with the earth and sky.”
Mr Dobson said The Little Gallery Emerging Artist Program is open to emerging Tasmanian artists whose projects are innovative and thought provoking. The Little Gallery is named in honour of its founder Jean Thomas, whose vision for the Gallery was as a centre for community arts and activities that promoted the work of Tasmanian artists alongside national and international artists.
Other exhibitions in the gallery include:
Recollections: Revisiting the beginnings of the Devonport Regional Gallery Permanent Collection, which is on display in the Upper Gallery until 1 May.
The Devonport Regional Gallery’s collection has its beginnings in the works collected by Jean Thomas for The Little Gallery, beginning in 1966 with an exhibition of works by Tasmanian artist Christopher Pyett. This exhibition looks back on the artists represented in the original Little Gallery, featuring works from the Permanent Collection.
Constrained – Reclaimed exhibition by Vicki West and Davind mangenner Gough in the Main Gallery until 29 May.
Notable Tasmanian Aboriginal Curators and Artists Vicki West and Dave mangenner Gough have been invited to co-curate and exhibit in the Main Gallery. This collaborative work will guide and interact with visitors in the gallery space immersing in culture country and feelings of past and present.
- Little Gallery Sam Beckman Fathom exhibition dates: currently until Saturday, 1 May.
- Upper Gallery Recollections exhibition dates: currently until Saturday, 1 May.
- Main Gallery Constrained – Reclaimed by Vicki West and Dave mangenner Gough exhibition dates: Currently until Saturday, 29 May.
The Devonport Regional Gallery’s opening hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday and public holidays 9am-2pm, Sunday closed. For more information visit www.paranapleartscentre.com.au 
Photo: Sam Beckman’s photo The Lake in the Hills, 2017, archival pigment print, 90 x 60 cm.
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