The ‘Expulsion of Eve’ series is in essence a single work which the artist returns to continually to develop and re-work the same image. ‘Number 16’, highly indicative of the series, is a photographic image of a young woman, the print having undergone many transformative processes including being cut out, reapplied, incised, worn back, applied with colour, stripped of colour and re-drawn. Interrogating notions of reality, Breninger expresses his personal and artistic concerns relating to ‘the rift between appearances and what is real’; ideas informed by his deep Christian faith.1
His subject, Eve, is not chosen symbolically as a female archetype; rather, the artist reasons, ‘because I believe in her historically and all humanity is her descendents’.2 Breninger’s Eve, in her features and expression, suggests a presence caught between the worlds of childhood and adulthood, innocence and intent, the temporal and corporeal. While there is a Christ-like surrender in the pose, Breninger’s ‘Eve’ also has a strong correlation with Edvard Munch’s ‘Madonna’, both visually and in terms of the obsessive process by which the artist revisits the image.
The artist’s belief that ‘cameras create an appetite for ghosts, for vapour, for beings of steam that we can never embrace, that will elude us like every photo does’,3 explains his intrigue with photography’s abilities and limitations in recording the subjective. He continued to develop the work with series III produced in 1990, followed in 1993–94 by series IV, comprising male and female faces.
1. Breninger W 1983, ‘Art & fulfilment’, self-published artist’s essay p 1
2. Warren Breninger in correspondence with Sue Smith, 24 Feb 1984, collection files, Warren Breninger, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
3. Breninger W 1983, op cit p 3
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
gelatin silver photograph with collage and mixed media, gum arabic print painted on card and exposed to sun through contact negative, hand-worked with synthetic polymer paint, pencil and crayon
49.3 x 36.7 cm sight; 65.7 x 50.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
© Warren Breninger
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Ten years on, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jan 1986–Jan 1986
Contemporary Colour Photographs from the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 1991–22 Sep 1991
Referenced in 1 publication
Judy Annear, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Magical realism', pg.226-245, Sydney, 2007, 236 (colour illus.).