Jacky Redgate is regarded as one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, with a practice extending four decades. She is known for her photographic and sculptural work using systems and logic. Born in London 1955, Redgate emigrated to Australia in 1967 where her career began in the context of late 1970s feminism, minimalism and conceptual art.
Redgate studied a Bachelor of Arts, Fine Arts (Sculpture), South Australian School of Art in Adelaide, graduating in 1980. Followed by a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts (Photography), at Sydney College of the Arts in 1984, a Master of Visual Arts (Painting), at Sydney College of the Arts in 1998, and a Doctorate of Creative Arts by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in 2013.
Redgate has a long exhibition history and has exhibited extensively within Australia and internationally since the end of the 1970s. She was actively involved in the Women’s Art Movement, Adelaide and her work appeared in WAM-organised exhibitions and publications in the 1970s.
The artist became a prominent presence after her move to Sydney in the early 1980s and she made her name as a photographer, with such classic series as photographer unknown (1980-83), Naar het Schilder-Boeck (1985), and WORK-TO-RULE (1986-87), but also works in sculpture and installation. From the late 1980s Redgate has explored the interplay of systems of perception and representation, particularly in relation to photography and what occurs in the translation of the three-dimensional world into two-dimensional images.
She has been included two Australian Perspecta exhibitions, three Biennales of Sydney, and the Looking at Seeing and Reading, Ivan Dougherty Gallery (IDG), Sydney, Institute of Modern Art (IMA) Brisbane and Monash University Gallery, Melbourne, Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography!, MCA (1996), Heide Museum of Modern Art’s Cubism & Australian Art (2009), Mirror Mirror: Then and Now, IMA; Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia, Adelaide; UAG, Verge Gallery and Tin Sheds, The University of Sydney and Photographer Unknown, MUMA (2009); the Clemenger Art Award at the National Gallery of Victoria (2006), Photographic Abstraction, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne (Monash Gallery of Art), 21st Century Heide: The Collection since 2000, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2015), Edge to Edge: Australian Contemporary Art to Japan, National Museum of Art, Osaka; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art; Nagoya City Art Museum (1988), Elsewhere, Photo-based work from Australia, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1988), Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839–1988, Australian National Gallery (1988), After the Artefact: An Exhibition of Contemporary Photographic Practice, Wollongong City Gallery; Newcastle Region Art Gallery; IDG (1984).
She is a recipient of the 1st prize, Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne (2011) and the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award (First Prize) (2006). After being awarded the Bowness Photography Prize in 2011 for Light Throw Mirrors #4 (2010), an image of prosaic objects staged in still life formation, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia and judge of the prize, Shaune Lakin, commented : ‘It is virtually flawless as a photograph...challenging many of the expectations of what a photograph is.’
Recent selected solo exhibitions include:Life of the System (Mirrors) Fold/Unfold, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne; WORK-TO-RULE (NEGATIVE), Kronenberg Wright Gallery, Sydney, 2018, Jacky Redgate Light Throw (Mirrors) #1-10, 2018, Latrobe Regional Gallery.
Redgate has received numerous competitive grants through the Visual Arts/Craft Board of the Australia Council, including a 2007 Australia Council Fellowship and in 1987, the highly prestigious overseas fellowship residency, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Her work is included in major national and international collections and has been supported and written about extensively by some of Australia’s most important scholars, curators and writers, including: Judy Annear, Geoffrey Batchen, Edward Colless, Michael Desmond, Helen Ennis, Blair French, Ross Gibson, Shaune Lakin, Robert Leonard, Anne Marsh and Ann Stephen.
Major survey exhibitions and monographs include: In 1991 Curator Robert Leonard curated a five-year comprehensive survey Stacey/Redgate, Shed 11/National Art Gallery, Wellington; Artspace, Auckland; AGNSW; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. In 2004 Alan Cruickshank, Director of the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia presented a comprehensive three-part survey exhibition of Redgate’s work and a substantial artist monograph Michael Desmond, Imagining Space in Jacky Redgate: 1980–2003, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide (2005), which formed the basis of similar surveys at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney in 2005. The survey exhibition at the MCA titled Life of the System incorporated a curatorial project by Jacky Redgate of selected works from the MCA Collection.
In 2008 the IMA, Brisbane staged an exhibition of her work titled Visions From Her Bed. Curated by Robert Leonard. Leonard recognised a common thread in her artwork was an interest in both personal and impersonal systems and staged her early art school work alongside a selection of works from the previous survey exhibitions including her seminal found photographic series photographer unknown (1980-83).
In 2012 the exhibition Jacky Redgate: the logic of vision, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, curated by Judy Annear, bought together the holdings of Redgate’s work in the collection. Putting the emphasis on her photographic practice, the exhibition of 15 works surveyed Redgate’s creative trajectory from the 1980s until now.
For two decades Redgate has worked with mirrors and objects in her studio, exploring abstraction, light, space and reflection with remarkable photographic and sculptural outcomes. In 2016 Redgate’s mirror works, included a new project using found photographs in an exhibition titled Jacky Redgate: Mirrors at the University Art Gallery, the University of Sydney curated by Ann Stephen and Robert Leonard, and a comprehensive publication that unpacks the significance of her mirror works. This important new monograph which focuses on Redgate’s eminent work with mirrors in recent decades is co-published by Power Publications with the University Art Gallery, The University of Sydney, in partnership with the UOW. Ann Stephen’s essay emphasises Redgate’s debts to the history of high modernism. Robert’s Leonard’s essay argues Redgate’s work can be seen, not just in optical terms, but in psychological ones. Judy Annear, Senior Curator, photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales observed: ‘Jacky Redgate: Mirrors is an important contribution to the scholarship on this artist’s fascinating 35-year+ practice. Bringing new material and situating Redgate with peers from past and present, this book is essential reading.’ (2016)
In the current exhibition Light Throw (Mirrors) Fold/Unfold at ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, Redgate continues her optical/psychological photographic Light Throw (Mirror) works by systematically rotating different primary coloured -– red, yellow and blue and tints – pink and light blue, black and white in the studio. She mixes colour in pairs across either side of the fold, as well as recycling the mirrors that rebound light from a battery of multiple flashes. In the photograph there is a flattening space and a hallucinatory effect of the afterimage in the vision of the viewer, as well as the blending of primary colours into secondaries and tertiaries – orange, green, purple and brown, in an ethereal fog on the substrate of the photograph.
More information on Jacky Redgate’s exhibition Light Throw (Mirrors) Fold/Unfold at ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne.
In 2019 Redgate will be included in Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Featuring thirteen artists, this important exhibition explores the current state of contemporary photography in Australia.