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‘Portraiture in Black and White’ – online exhibition

‘Portraiture in Black and White’ is a community exhibition featuring work by three artists who omit colour from their palette to create portraits rich in tonal complexity, drama, intimacy and mystery. 

Through detailed studies, Sue-Ann Roll captures Boroondara locals frozen in a moment, where a single look reveals a glimpse of their inner nature. The ethereal photographs of Ali Choudhry explore the relationship between time and the human form, to capture fleeting impressions of their subject. Irene Henning’s drawings employ dramatic tonal effects, close-up compositions and bold lighting to breathe life into her subjects and draw in the viewer. 

‘Portraiture in Black and White’ highlights the limitless potential of a muted palette and reveals our timeless preoccupation with seeing the world through a monochromatic lens. While meaning is understood through stark, non-negotiable shades of black and white, it is the tonal variations between that provide depth and emotion.

Featuring: Ali Choudhry, Irene Henning and Sue-Ann Roll.

Many of the artworks in this exhibition are for sale. Visit our shop to purchase an artwork.

Banner image: Sue-Ann Roll, ‘Lockdown’, 2021, graphite on Bristol paper, 44.5 x 58 cm, image courtesy of the artist.

Ali Choudhry

Ali Choudhry explores the possibility of portraiture being less about what someone looks like and more about capturing a feeling. ‘In Essence’ is a series of ethereal black and white photographs featuring Australian ballet dancers. These images explore what the subject ‘feels like’ and instils a certain emotive response in the viewer. The camera, and by extension photography, relates to the world in a specific way. Choudhry explains, ‘An image warps both space and time. You can photograph something miniscule that the naked eye cannot even see, like a single cell, and in another image something as large as a galaxy.  Putting the two images together distorts the size of both subjects. This extends to time as well; the camera can capture an instant the naked eye would not process or compress lengths of time into a single image.’

Irene Henning

Irene Henning’s work is about the beauty of black and white. It encompasses how meaning comes not only from the starker and non-negotiable shades of black and white but also from many layers of grey, and how light creates shadows and soft tones. Together, these elements give depth, nuance and richness. Henning loves the simplicity of black and white which allows incredible complexity as the layers of meaning are built up. Henning is inspired by the way the subject comes out of the paper to greet her as she draws. They emerge to become part of her life, where she lives and breathes them during their creation.

Sue-Ann Roll

Sue-Ann Roll captures Boroondara locals frozen in a moment, where a single look reveals a glimpse of their inner nature.  This series of graphic portraits depicts subjects that the community can connect with. People in everyday life: a policeman, a gardener, a volunteer, personalities, a dentist and a hairdresser are just some examples. Furthermore, it is that certain look that tells their story – aspects of human nature that viewers can see and appreciate in relation to their own experiences. Roll hopes that viewers find a portrait that touches them in some way.

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