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The artist

Jacky Redgate was one of many young women artists that burst into the Australian art scene in the early 1980s armed with a university degree and a politicised outlook. She had migrated to Australia with her family from London in 1967, going on to complete a number of degrees both in Adelaide and Sydney, focusing on art theory, sculpture and photography. Even after her reputation was well established, Redgate continued to study, finishing her Masters in Art in 1999 and undertaking a PhD.

Informed by conceptual methodologies of the 1960 and 70s, Redgate has drawn upon various disciplines – from history and cultural studies to physics and mathematics – to conduct analytical investigations into the systems, mechanics and production of vision. The use of photography in combination with sculptural practice has been particularly crucial to her as a tool for examining the way we perceive and construct the world around us.

When she began exhibiting in the 1980s in major contemporary art events such as Australian Perspecta, Redgate’s inventive and complex use of photography helped place the medium firmly on the same bar as painting. But the difference was clear. Together with contemporaries such as Julie Rrap, Anne Ferran and Debra Phillips, Redgate was not necessarily a photographer in the traditional sense of the word, but rather an artist who used photography among other media.

Issue for consideration

  • Jacky Redgate was part of a generation of Australian artists, which included Julie Rrap, Anne Ferran and Debra Phillips, who were interested in the ways that photography can question how we know and understand the world around us. Using the Gallery’s collection as a starting point, research these artists and this period in Australian photographic history. Identify strategies they use to problematise our received ways of looking. Speculate on why they saw themselves as artists who used a camera, rather than as photographers in the traditional sense.