Under Twenty-Seven by Ella Dreyfus

Under Twenty-Seven is a solo exhibition by Australian artist Dr Ella Dreyfus that presents a series of poignant portraits which began as black and white photographs of her son and his soccer team when they were finishing primary school back in 2005. The work tracks their growth with a new portrait every seven years and Dreyfus’ detailed photographs show the boys/men bare-chested against a deep black background. Each of them displays their own unique posture and subtle facial expressions, giving the works an intensely intimate quality. Sitting side by side, the triple portraits taken at ages eleven, eighteen and twenty-five, are a meditation on masculine development, as well as a sobering reminder of the passing of time.

© Dr Ella Dreyfus, Under Twenty-Seven, SB, 2005, 2010, 2019, 460 x 460mm each, UltraChrome pigment on Canson.
© Dr Ella Dreyfus, Under Twenty-Seven, SB, 2005, 2010, 2019, 460 x 460mm each,
UltraChrome pigment on Canson.

The exhibition provides an opportunity for audiences to reflect on the representation of masculinity in contemporary culture, by showing them in a way that is distinct from the narrow ideals generally found in the mass-media and advertising. Through the work, Dreyfus demonstrates a particular sensitivity to the experiences of the young men, who during these critical stages of their lives will undoubtedly have been influenced by the social demands and perceptions of masculine attitudes, looks and behaviours. In this society, men are often expected to repress certain emotions such as tenderness and empathy; in drawing attention to these issues the exhibition takes a probing approach to gender, representation, beauty and the body.

There are 14 sets of portraits in the series. Ella Dreyfus has been photographing the body – young bodies, old bodies and all inbetween bodies – for over thirty years.

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November

Sydney: The exhibition delves into the State Library of NSW's vast collection of two million images, showcasing 400 photos – many displayed for the first time.

March

Albury: The National Photography Prize offers a $30,000 acquisitive prize, the $5000 John and Margaret Baker Fellowship for an emerging practitioner, and further supports a number of artists through focused acquisitions.

May

Ballarat: Art Gallery of Ballarat presents Lost in Palm Springs, a multidisciplinary exhibition that brings together fourteen creative minds who respond to, capture, or re-imagine the magical qualities of the landscape and the celebrated mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs, California and across Australia.

June

Canberra: The works by the 34 selected finalists provide a powerful visual record of the year, reflecting a particular time in Australian culture, both socially and artistically.

Sydney: The exhibition features over 90 photographs that shine a light on the astonishing array of flora, fauna and landscapes that can be found across the Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea bioregion.

July

Wollongong: Employing magical realism and unique printing techniques, Cooper’s photographs place their inhabitants in a dreamlike world.

Melbourne: A group photography exhibition from 19 local Melbourne photographers.

Sydney: Award-winning art director, trained architect and acclaimed photographer Damien Drew shines a light on the serene yet haunting landscapes of Japan’s Shikoku Island in his latest exhibition ‘Shikoku no Seijaku’ (Shikoku Silence).

Sydney: Influenced by a family legacy from migrant to missionary, seamstress, and educators, Milgate's work intertwines personal and historical narratives, delving into the socio-political context of colonial and post-colonial discourses.