West of Tambo by Siegfried Manietta
Siegfried’s fascination with the Australian landscape arose from childhood experiences when, at the age of seven, he was transplanted from a grey post-war German city to various rural Australian locations. This experience generated an enduring curiosity in the Australian landscape; a curiosity undiminished after more than 60 years.
Consequently his photographic work is motivated by a desire to connect with and communicate the essence of this land. Siegfried deliberately avoided photographing Australia’s iconic landforms, selecting instead the vernacular landscape imaged in sympathetic light. This work attempts to make deceptively mundane marginal environments such as salt lakes, gibber plains and dunes extraordinary places: allowing the land to speak for itself.
The images shown on display are from an extensive archive dating back to the 1980’s. Many of the images are truly beautiful. By relying on whatever illumination is available—daylight, or dusk, or shadow—Siegfried creates a world, or other-world, of astonishing radiance. Light, in some of these images, takes on the weight of a tangible substance; the sky is loaded with it; stones and grasses gleam with it; and when it strikes the side of a branch or a hill, the object appears to have been fashioned from light itself.
The images are intended to engage the viewer’s attention with colour and design and then invite closer visual exploration, contemplation and perhaps a deeper appreciation – beyond first impressions.
More information may be found in Siegfried’s accompanying publication: “The Australian Environment: Landscape as Art & Inspiration” which is available at the gallery