Juliana Swatko's approach to photography is informed by her training in other fine arts media and, as a consequence, her work explores a range of experimental possibilities and alternative photographic processes. For instance, the chemical changes exploited during image-making reflect, metaphorically, Swatko's way of seeing - less interested in the actuality of objects than in their poetic, evocative potential. She sees similarities between her processes and how things in the world might encapsulate other ideas or experiences.
This photograph is a large format contact print which is the result of a photographic transfer between ultraviolet light sensitive paper, thermographic processes and, in this case, flowers, grasses and foliage. Under pressure, the transfer produced is the combined reaction of differing material densities, heat and pressure.
Swatko produced these thermal monoprints using heat sensitive thermal copying paper, intended for use with a Thermofax photocopier, an early copy machine available in the 1970s. Swatko used the paper to produce photograms – applying the plants directly to the surface of the paper. The heat and pressure exerted on the paper generated the image, inscribing the contours and veins of the leaves. Recording the trace impression of botanical subjects, these images resemble prehistoric fossils.
28.1 x 21.5 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated original mount, pencil "...J. Swatko 1981".
Not on display
© Juliana Swatko
Shown in 5 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
Critic's Choice, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Apr 1994–10 Jul 1994
Emanations: The art of the cameraless photograph, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand, 29 Apr 2016–14 Aug 2016
Antipodean emanations: cameraless photographs from Australia and New Zealand, Monash Gallery of Art, Victoria, 10 Mar 2018–27 May 2018
Referenced in 1 publication
Critic's Choice, Sydney, 1994.