New photographic work by Kath Fries
Exit Gallery, Sydney
Thursday 31st January - Saturday 23rd February 2008
Opening: 6:00 - 8:00pm Wednesday 30th January
Kath Fries presents a new series of works at Exit Gallery, which explore the seemingly simple subject of rose thorns. The sombre but seductive photographs in Mirror, Mirror explore the popular and literary connotations of rose thorns through a range of contemporary and historic references.
Since medieval times through to the present day, roses have been used as references to vanity and the eternal quest for youth and beauty. Clichés frequently liken women to roses, and the rose is credited as the most romantic flower. However, none of Kath Fries' carefully considered photographs feature even the suggestion of a rose bloom.
Thorns have traditionally been used in reference to stories of pain, and cruelty. From Dante's Divine Comedy to Christ's Crown of Thorns, the thorn is evoked in accounts of trials and tribulations. Even in contemporary colloquial expressions such as 'a thorn in my side' and 'thorny issues'; the thorn is that which is best removed or ignored like a skeleton in the closet.
Kath Fries' Threaded thorn series draws connections between Dante's Seven Deadly Sins, and Grimm Brothers fairytales. In Snow White, the vain wicked queen consults her magic mirror -
'Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
who in this land is the fairest of all?'
When she learns that Snow White's innocent youthfulness has usurped the title, the wicked queen is consumed by envious wrath and plots her revenge.
Mirror, Mirror illustrates the rose thorn's robust delicacy through an exploration of the flora's relationship to a wider oeuvre of cultural and religious narrative. These photographs are part of the artist's continuing investigation into the motif of memory as it is represented in the background of our everyday life, exploring the idea of contemporary existence juxtaposed with objects that signify a multitude of personal and social histories.