Venus Virgin Tomarz by Robert Earp

Described as a an intergalactic adventure in photo making, the conceptual photography of Robert Earp focuses on the ‘surreal realness’ of transgendering with his current exhibition. Named after Earp’s ‘divalicious’ artist/collaborator/muse – and featuring the sometimes-salacious and ever-sassy wordplay of Ian Buckland – the true story of Venus Virgin Tomarz is told in hyper-colourful composite photographs that recall the sci-fi kitsch of yesteryear. Think Barbarella-meets-Flash Gordon-meets-Dune. Entire galaxy and epic encounters have been created in minute detail, using everyday household items as their building blocks.  

© Robert Earp
Two Faces. © Robert Earp

“The idea of taking 1960s sci-fi as the metaphor of Venus’ story of transgender, I just thought that was brilliant,” says Earp. “What I brought to the table was, if we’re going to make it a true nod to ‘60s sci-fi, we’re going to have to build it all ourselves. We’re going to have to make stars, make planets, make aliens, and make it come to life.”

In Venus Virgin Tomarz’s universe, the stars are bicarbonate soda, mixed spices or a sprinkling of chalk dust; the moon is a swirling pour of beer; a Kitchen aid blender whips up tornadoes; and the flesh of alien robots comes from the fish in Earp’s tank. 

Playtime with Pluto. © Robert Earp.
Playtime with Pluto. © Robert Earp.

Nothing is as it appears but, once you metaphorically scratch the surface, these very analogue methods come together to pose profound futuristic questions that affect us all (whether goddesses or otherwise). Where are we going and how are we getting there? Will we be able to accept each other in whatever guise we appear?

Ride the Rocket. © Robert Earp
Ride the Rocket. © Robert Earp
Mars Triumph. © Robert Earp.
Mars Triumph. © Robert Earp.
Clash of Two Worlds. © Robert Earp.
Clash of Two Worlds. © Robert Earp.

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September

Civilization: The Way We Live Now is an international exhibition featuring 200-plus original photographs by over 100 contemporary photographers from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

The first major survey exhibition of celebrated Australian photographer Petrina Hicks, it includes more than forty photograph and video works spanning the period 2003 to 2019.

October

A new exhibition now open at the Australian National Maritime Museum reveals some of iconic moments of World War II as captured by renowned photographer, Dorothea Lange.

November

'Array' is the final ‘cycle’ in award-winning Australian artist, Murray Fredericks’ 16-year 'SALT' project.

December

Nurturing the careers of young women in photography, Sam I Am’s mentorship program, Chapter One, presents the work of its eight protégé photographers at a special exhibition.