Collaborative source: Mareea Vegas

D-Photo looks at interesting photographers doing interesting things – Mareea Vegas talks to us as one of four contemporary artists behind the upcoming Auckland Festival of Photography exhibition SOURCE.

D-Photo: Can you briefly describe the SOURCE exhibition?

Mareea Vegas: SOURCE is a collective exhibition comprising four photographers; Leon Rose, Ian McRae, Laura Forest and myself. It will be a contemporary show of analogue and digital fine art photography, exploring complimentary themes around light, landscape and perspective.

Leon Rose

How did the idea for the exhibition come about?

I guess I got the idea when I realised that the space I wanted to use was too big for me. It was a blessing in disguise because I didn’t want to give up the show so I was forced to think about who could come on board so that the exhibition could happen. Leon, Ian and Laura are good friends of mine as well as awesome photographers. We share a similar palette and ethos so it was a natural choice for me to ask them to share the show.

How many works are displayed and is there anything particular in the way they are exhibited?

There will be around 29 or so framed works on display. Presentation is so important to all of us. We’ve just had discussions about our individual wall plans and how the show will flow as one body of work. SILVER (Whitespace) works really well as a space as there are quite a few wall selections, each section is gallery lit and of equal prominence.

Mareea Vegas

How do the different works relate to each other, are they tied together in any explicit way?

When we first starting sharing images for the show we began to see major correlations between them. I knew that the caliber would be high, I didn’t realise our styles and imagery would be so harmonious. We had worked within similar colour ranges - subject matter and even horizon lines between many of our works had matched up. One predominant feature seemed to be the unmistakable use of the notion of a singular light source. From there we thought more about this concept as something that pertained to all four of us. We chose the concept of SOURCE not only as a literal term but also as a remark on living as an artist in general. It could be heard as source of inspiration, source of income, source of comfort or discomfort. It’s a term that not only relates the works together but also us to each other.

Do you have a favourite image from the collection?

One of the first images I chose for this show was a photo I took while staying in Peel Forest close to the Southern Alps.  I was lying on a bed in an old outhouse that was nestled deep in the bush. The sun was streaming through these crumpled fifties floral curtains and all I could see and feel was a beautiful golden light and the hint of the dense NZ bush in the background. This image is about that instant. I had only taken my Nikon film camera to the bush and this moment for me was beautifully captured by a perfectly matched medium. I like the idea of romanticising fairly normal situations. I’m forcing myself to be mindful and to see the beauty in that second.

Laura Forest

What did you find to be the biggest hurdle to getting the exhibition together?

Definitely getting the four of us together at the same time. Now that everyone is a little older and there are so many ‘grown up’ things involved…complicated! Everything else just fell into place.

This is not your first time exhibiting at the Festival, how valuable have you found the experiences?

Last year my exhibition Human in Geometry went off.  It was far more successful than I anticipated. I’m not entirely sure why it worked out so well but it was definitely a valuable experience for me. I exhibited not long after that on the North Shore and my work flopped. So yeah, it’s valuable to go through these experiences so you can hone in on where your lovers are and where it’s worth putting in the extra effort. I find that if you can fashion it so that it doesn’t become a massive financial burden then its possible to enjoy every part of exhibiting. Julia and Bev at the Festival are so super supportive; we are really lucky to have these guys working madly to make this happen each year. In this climate, at this time, they’re heroes for ensuring the arts not be overlooked.

Ian McRae

What do you hope viewers will take away from the Source exhibition?

Well apart from lots of prints I guess from my point of view I would love viewers to have the opportunity to be suspended briefly from their reality. I can remember leaving many shows so utterly captivated and lost in feeling. The ability to give this gift to someone else for me is a real honour.

What other exhibition at the festival are you looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to checking out the Daniel Crooks’ exhibition Remapping. I heard he’s quite the elusive artist…his work intrigues me.

SOURCE opens on June 4 at 5pm at Ponsonby's SILVER Project Room, next to Whitespace, and runs until June 9 as part of this year's Auckland Festival of Photography