Women Leading the way in Australian Contemporary Photography

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions

From a once male dominated arena, female photographers have been at the forefront of Australian contemporary photography for decades. Their work often explores the internal, physiological, and intimate aspects of life, love, and loss. Here are four such photographers whose works would be well placed in your contemporary art collection. 

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
Starlight 2001
pigment print
$1,200 – 1,800

Pat Brassington
In smotheringly close, or odd angled views, Pat Brassington’s images are seemingly innocent. Her images open like a flower and then morph into a physiological rorschach test. The narratives are provocative yet ambiguous, an arousing beauty emphasised by its exquisitely loaded connotations, leaving interpretation in the eyes of the viewer.

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
PETRINA HICKS (born 1972)
Ousama 2005
lambda print (digital c-type print)
110 x 90cm
Sold for $3,720

Petrina Hicks
In their composition and form, Hicks’ photographs adhere to a purist aesthetic. Against a flawless surface, her subjects float like classical marble sculptures. A strong advocate for females in photography, Hicks portrays the interior world of young women, more so than their exterior world. Her practice frequently draws inspiration from art historical references, archetypes, and myths.  

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
Beating Drums 2003
c-type print, ed. 5/6
$2,500 – 3,500

Polexeni Papapetrou
Polexeni Papapetrou’s practice began by exploring carefully constructed stage-managed worlds; those of drag queens, wrestlers, and Elvis look-alikes. It was only after the birth of her daughter that Papapetrou began to create new worlds with her biggest muse, Olympia. During this pivotal period, Olympia was photographed in fantastical settings, reflecting a limitless world of imagination and storytelling.

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
ANNE ZAHALKA (born 1957)
The Cook (Michael Schmidt/Architect, Cook), from the Resemblance Series 1987
cibachrome photograph
84 x 83cm
Sold for $2,728

Anne Zahalka
In the realm of photography and portraiture, Anne Zahalka addresses issues relevant to cultural diversity, gender, and class. Collating inspiration from tourist brochures collected on her travels, Zahalka explores the peculiar notion that travellers experience the natural world as a spectacle, whilst addressing the absence of a realistic picture through a play on art-historical motifs and signifiers.

HANNAH RYAN / Art Specialist

Banner Image (detail): POLIXENI PAPAPETROU (1960-2018) Beating Drums 2003, c-type print, ed. 5/6. $2,500 – 3,500

March 2022