Red leaf, from the series Neo Eden
United States of America, Australia
Juiliana Swatko works with alternative processes challenging and redefining the limits of the photographic image. Exploring antiquated and unconventional techniques, including cyanotype printing, hand coloured and electrostatic imaging, thermal printing and, more recently, lomographic photography combined with digitally manipulated superimposition, she produces complex images that relinquish the premise of straight representation. Employing plants and other natural elements as its primary subject matter, a lot of her photographic work treads the line between abstraction and figuration, producing unrecognizable forms from commonplace botanic life.
In her 1998 series ‘Neo Eden’ Swatko produced type C photographs that impose a visual and tonal intensity on otherwise neutral natural forms. Leaves become saturated in lurid hues, pulling away from their connection to the real. Her compositions are dense webs of colour and form. In the shallow space of the image, enlarged fragments of foliage are pockmarked by planes of colour that look like dappled light. Producing these work by using photographic masks and combinations of colour and black and white negatives, Swatko manipulates the legibility of the image and gives these natural forms a stroboscopic forcefulness.
type C photograph
50.7 x 40.2 cm image / sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the artist 1999
Not on display
© Juliana Swatko