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.

Upcoming Events Submit an Event

March

South Korean photographer Hyungsun Kim’s latest exhibition, 'Haenyeo – the sea women of Jeju Island', is on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum until 13 June.

April

Head to the the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney, to check out the winners and finalists from the 56th annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

May

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Max Dupain is regarded as one of Australia’s most respected and influential black-and-white photographers.

Refocus Retreat is back again in 2021 from 28-31 May down on the Great Ocean Road, in Lorne, Victoria. The event, for women in photography, offers attendees the opportunity to stay at the resort for three nights, or simply attend the conference only.