12 July – 25 August 2018

Curator: Naomi Evans

Photographic media proliferated throughout Australia during the 1970s, following the increased affordability of snapshot cameras and colour film processing. By the 1980s, colour photography was widely used by artists, who continued to explore a range of photographic approaches and techniques, from the immediacy of ‘point-and-shoot’ techniques to staged compositions. Their work referenced narratives of history and power and appropriated artistic strategies from advertising, cinema, and the televisual. By the 1990s, computer-generated imagery and increased access to the internet offered new languages with which to address pressing issues.

Photographs made by many women artists during this period differed in a significant aspect by refusing the male gaze. Against the backdrop of the feminist movement and influential thinking and activism in arts and politics, women took authorial agency into their own hands. Acutely aware of the ways in which the lens could empower or reduce the subject, they put themselves, friends, and family in the picture, and in doing so, changed the cultural landscape of Australia. Photomedia became an important instrument through which these artists confronted racism and the objectification of peoples; disrupted and subverted sexually violent imagery; and forged a renewed interest in the tropes of psychoanalytic theory.

The Dark Rooms exhibition surveys works that are emotional and intensely charged. Evocations of intimacy, fantasy, and trauma appear alongside humorous, politically astute, and confrontational pieces.

Drawing largely on works from the Griffith University Art Collection, Dark Rooms also features loans from artists, private collections, and public institutions, including The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, and HOTA : Home of the Arts, Gold Coast.

Downloadable exhibition labels


Maree Cunnington

Destiny Deacon

Linda Dement

Marian Drew

Bonita Ely

Fiona Foley

Elizabeth Gertsakis

Lesley Goldacre

Janina Green

Fiona Hall

Leah King-Smith

Lindy Lee

Anne MacDonald

Ruth Maddison

Wendy Mills

Tracey Moffatt

Jill Orr

Nat Paton

Eugenia Raskopoulos

Julie Rrap

Robyn Stacey

VNS Matrix (Virginia Barratt, Francesca Da Rimini, Julianne Pierce, Josephine Starrs)

Heather Winter

Jay Younger

Anne Zahalka

Opening event

Saturday 14 July 2018

2 pm – Artist talks, led by curator Naomi Evans

Marian Drew, Lesley Goldacre, Lindy Lee, Nat Paton, Josephine Starrs (VNS Matrix), Jay Younger

Josephine Starrs, representing VNS Matrix, will give a performative reading of their recent work 'A Tender Hex for the Anthropocene'.

3 pm – Official Opening

Location – Griffith University Art Museum