Exhibition: The road: photographers on the move 1970-1985
Monash Gallery of Art. Victoria
until 31 August 2014
Artists: Micky Allan, Virginia Coventry, Gerrit Fokkema, John Gollings, Tim Handfield, Ian North, Robert Rooney, Wesley Stacey.
This exhibition brings together a range of photographic projects that responded to the experience of automotive travel in Australia during the 1970s and ‘80s.
The origins of Monash Gallery of Art rest in the golden age of automotive travel in Australia. Relatively cheap and accessible petrol, increased private car ownership, and a vastly improved network of roads encouraged the suburban expansion of Melbourne. This especially occurred along the major freeways that stretched to the east and south-east of the city. Great hopes were pinned on this expansion, and there is evidence of it all around MGA: a new headquarters for Australian Rules football was built in Mulgrave; major shopping centres were built and expanded in Chadstone and Knox; a major and highly ambitious arts precinct designed by eminent architect Harry Seidler was commissioned by the Waverley City Council, where MGA now stands.
The work in this exhibition shows that there was a strong relationship between photography and the road in Australian culture at this time. Photography helped to make sense of the particular experience of movement made possible by faster cars and better roads; at the same time, it helped to demonstrate the challenges to life and culture that accompanied suburban expansion and the rise of the road in Australia.