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Australian art


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Site investigations: site #1, outside Wilcannia, New South Wales



Lynn Silverman

United States of America, Australia, United Kingdom

1952 -


Lynn Silverman was educated in America and taught photography in Sydney from 1975-1981. She then taught in England and completed a Master of Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College, London before returning to America. While in Australia, Silverman completed two related series on the edge of the Australian desert, ‘Horizons’ and ‘Site investigations’. ‘Horizons’ is a series of diptychs where one image looks straight ahead at the horizon and the other looks down at the photographer’s feet. The subtlety of difference in sky and earth and the location of Silverman within this becomes highly contemplative. Like Marrison, Silverman was not interested in heroising the Australian landscape but presenting its effect on eye, body and mind. Meaghan Morris, in writing about this series, said: ‘I see Lynn Silverman’s photographs as a study in the construction of inland space: how space is made intelligible for us by a play of identity and difference; how cultural systems of interpreting a space can be unsettled by exhibiting the process of framing interpretations; and how landscape photographs induce a curious convergence between what you do when you set out to see the sights, and what you do when you look at an ordered sequence of images.’1

'Site investigations’ excludes Silverman’s feet and instead of an equal balance between the view straight ahead and the view to the ground the horizon is the greater with the view to the ground consisting of three separate images. The changes from one image to the next are substantial as the minutiae of the outback landscape reveals the teeming detail of the microcosmic.

1. Morris, M. 1982, ‘Art & Text’, Melbourne pp 62-63

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007




Media category


Materials used

4 gelatin silver photographs


63.4 x 48.2 cm window mount :

1 - upper image, 22.7 x 22.8 cm, image/sheet

2 - lower image, 7.7 x 22.8 cm, image/sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Dated l.r. window mount, pencil "...1979".


Accessioned 1987


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Lynn Silverman

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Judy Annear, What is this thing called photography?, Sydney, 1999, (illus.). no catalogue numbers

Bronwyn Clark-Coolee, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Not 'simply' anything', pg.266-287, Sydney, 2007, 278 (illus.).

Ewen McDonald and Judy Annear (Editors), What is this thing called photography? Australian photography 1975-1985, Annandale, 2000, 13 (illus.).

Gael Newton, Re-constructed Vision: Contemporary work with photography, Sydney, 1981. 47