Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
9 September – 9 October 2004
SELECTED WORKS: Supernatural Artificial: Contemporary photo-based art from Australia, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan
17 July – 24 August 2004
SELECTED WORKS: Chulanlangkorn Art Centre, Bangkok
Coming out of the tradition of documentary photography, Zahalka’s work occupies a metaposition in relation to the stock images of Australian tourism. We look at ourselves looking at the postcard pantheon, buying into both ‘authentic’ and manicured experiences of Nature.
This body of work navigates the viewer through real and artificial landscapes within nature.
Natural Wonders focuses on the real and artificial landscapes within the diverse field of tourism and leisure documenting constructed habitats such as aquariums and zoos, theme parks, holiday resorts and nature reserves. A carefully landscaped miniature golf field course is photographed under artificial lights contrasts against the warm setting sun where vegetation vibrates with unreal colour under artificial lighting. Sculptured paths of astro-turf are traversed by players people putting in a strangely miniturised landscape. Anther image depicts a hydroponic orchid garden surrounding large ponds in the transit lounge of an airport terminal with a young girl observing the movement of fish. A mature garden park planted to replicate an English landscape shows kangaroos gazing back at the viewer in an uncanny way. Lookout points are signposted as sights of consumption to be viewed from idealised vantage point and navigated in predetermined pathways.