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First you squint then you strain and blink, perhaps moving back a step or two, yet the photograph remains perpetually blurred, its subject never coming into focus.

Gazing at Jacky Redgate’s 2009 photograph Light throw (mirrors) # 1 makes the viewer completely aware of the fact that they are looking. At some point a decision has to be made: whether to doggedly continue deciphering the content of the photograph (and how it is made) or to simply surrender and enjoy its mysterious ambiguity.

Drawn entirely from the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW, the 15 works included in the exhibition Jacky Redgate: the logic of vision follow a similar trajectory. Suspended in tense moments of imprecision they ask the viewer to question what things are and what they can be. In Redgate’s hands, photographs appear as objects, objects look like sculptures and sculptures are rendered invisible. This tantalising duality is a hallmark of her oeuvre, which sustains a conceptual rigour while remaining visually exciting and seductive.

Issue for consideration

  • Look at Light throw (mirrors) #1 2009. Is the image easy or difficult to see? What physical actions do you take to try and interpret this image? Are they effective in clarifying what we are looking at? How does this artwork make us conscious of the act of looking?