Rod McNicol | A Photographic Portrait of Mortality

The first survey exhibition of work by acclaimed Melbourne portrait photographer Rod McNicol will feature at Tweed Regional Gallery from 13 February to 24 May 2015.

Tweed Regional Gallery Director Susi Muddiman said the Gallery was proud to host the Monash Gallery of Art travelling exhibition Rod McNicol: memento mori.

“This wonderful travelling exhibition highlights the work of one of our most enduring and important portrait photographers. Tweed Regional Gallery has had a long association with Rod McNicol through one of the Gallery’s major initiatives, the biennial Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture,” Miss Muddiman said.

“Rod has been a finalist many times, and his work Eddi Stileto (1985 + 2005) was acquired for the Gallery’s collection through the Award in 2005.”

Rod McNicol: memento mori comprises works spanning more than three decades, providing a compelling account of an artist deeply connected to his community and the genre of portraiture. From his earliest black-and-white prints through to recent colour portraits, McNicol uses photography to highlight ideas of mortality.

Exhibition curator Stephen Zagala said: “Like Richard Avedon, McNicol uses uniform lighting and monochrome backdrops to isolate his sitters and foreground their physical vulnerability. These matter-of-fact portraits function as witnesses to the inescapable passing of time.”

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McNicol has photographed hundreds of people with relentless uniformity. They all look at the camera with a similar expression against the soft hue of McNicol’s studio backdrop, bathed in the uniform light of clerestories and skylights. Each body occupies precisely the same part of the photographic frame.

His work has earned a string of prestigious awards including the National Photographic Portrait Prize (2012) and the Australian Photographic Portrait Prize (2004). McNicol recently won the inaugural DUO Magazine Percival Photographic Portrait Prize for his portrait of actor Jack Charles.

Born in Melbourne in 1946, McNicol attended the Prahran College where he studied photography during the early 1970s. His work is held in many major collections, including Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Library (Canberra), Monash Gallery of Art (Melbourne) and Tweed Regional Gallery.

Workshop: The Art of Portraiture with Raimond De Weerdt Cost: $40

On Sunday 22 March from 10am to 1pm, Raimond De Weerdt provides a brief look at the ‘portrait’ and provides tips and practical techniques to help create portraits at home. Bookings are essential by contacting the Gallery on (02) 6670 2790.

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