Fiona MacDonald tells difficult archival stories — of local nobodies, worthies and outright bastards — who make regional Australia both singular and crushingly familiar. Her starting point is her hometown Rockhampton built by the world's richest goldmine at Mount Morgan. Tongue and Groove (2009) abuts timber-width strips of photographic portraits like old timber Queenslanders, recycled from the Mercer Photographic Studio archives in Rockhampton. Vinegaring is eating at the old negatives, rendering a creepy-cracked veil over each sitter's face so that the series has the sad chill of clairvoyant or spirit photography. MacDonald's touch-ups further embalm the original artifice of these Hollywood fantasias, the detritus of long-forgotten, living-room mantelpieces.
Cat Moore, Jo Holder from Local Studies: Legend and Legacy exhibition essay

     
Tongue and Groove No. 5, 2009
Source images: Mercer Studio portraits left to right V Evans, J March, Rockhampton 1942, Pte S C Barnham, Mt Morgan 1942 Pte A E Boyne, Springsure 1941, B Stevens, Rockhampton 1943, E Childs, Rockhampton 1941, and Pvt. R Benfield, Rockhampton 1944; Ewan MacDonald photographs of Rockhampton houses 2008
     
 
Tongue and Groove 10, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 63 x 47 cm Tongue and Groove 9, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 61 x 50 cm    
     
Tongue and Groove 6, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 60 x 90 cm      
     
Tongue and Groove 1, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 60 x 92 cm      
 
Tongue and Groove 7, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 61 x 50 cm
Tongue and Groove 8, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 61 x 50 cm
   
     
Tongue and Groove 3, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 60 x 95 cm      
     
Tongue and Groove 2, inkjet print from digital image on Hahnemule Photo Rag 180 gsm paper, 60 x 115 cm
     

Edition of 5 with 3 artist proofs

Art Work source images: Mercer Studio portraits courtesy the Central Queensland Collection Rockhampton Regional Council Libraries and recent photographs of houses at addresses of portrait subjects by Ewan MacDonald and the artist.

 

 

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