Kate Ballis: Before Time

2 - 23 February 2023
Exhibition Text

Kate Ballis employs photography as a conduit into the unseen. Straddling the empirical and the magical, her photographs capture invisible energy, mystifying the mundane and rendering the familiar foreign. 'I am fascinated with unseen energy', reflects the Melbourne artist, who works with a specially converted full-spectrum mirrorless camera and infrared filters to expose a world that exists just beyond human perception.


'Before Time' is a new body of work from the celebrated photomedia artist exploring the rainforests of far north Queensland. Through Ballis' transformative process rich siennas and burnt umbers coat the landscape in a palette that removes them from our reality altogether. The series recalls the deep time of earth when Gondwanaland was the supercontinent and prehistoric creatures roamed. Each photograph becomes, in the artist's own words, 'a memory you can't quite pinpoint'. 


These lucid images offer a point of reflection for us to consider the history of these places and the vitality of protecting them into the future. Traversing the World Heritage rainforests along the north-east Queensland portion of the Great Dividing Range the series includes fleeting moments captured in Babinda Boulders, Millaa Millaa Falls and the Daintree National Park. Having spent years photographing locations around the world including Palm Springs in America, the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina and the sundrenched coastline of Greece this series brings Ballis home to Australia. 


Though Ballis' photographs glow with a euphoria, there is also something residing under the surface that encourages contemplation, much like the ecosystem of these places. 'Before Time' harbours an optimism for these landscapes, in the liminal realms Ballis conjures we are invited to stop and see - perhaps for the first time - the majesty around us and the endless time stretching backwards and forwards for which we are lucky enough to experience for a singular moment.

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