"The parallels between painting and photography - the latter of which, if you define it as the projection of an image on to a surface independent of a method of chemically or digitally fixing that image, has existed for centuries - are well-known.
Many painters use photography to varying degrees, from an aide-memoire through to literal transcriptions which are rarely successful.

This is just as true for landscape painting and photography, whether aerial or the earth-bound variety, and one can only imagine what friends and fellow aerial travellers, photographer Richard Woldendorp and painter Robert Juniper, might have done had they been in the place of photographer Jarrad Seng and painter Amok Island. The latter pair's original, thought-provoking and beautiful collaboration, Parallels opens at Fremantle's PS Art Space on December 8.

Seng has worked on projects with high-profile artists and brands including Passenger, Ed Sheeran, Qantas, Converse and tourism bodies around the world. Amsterdam-born Amok Island is known for his large, nature-inspired murals that can be found in more than 20 countries. He has also exhibited in Australia, the Netherlands and Japan.
Parallels presents nine sets of aerial images - one a photograph, one a near- abstract interpretation of that photograph, so 18 pieces in all - of Rottnest Island as seen from a light aircraft.

"I think that's what so interesting about this project, and why I was so keen to collaborate with Xander (Amok Island)," Jarrad says. "It's really something different.
"Showcasing the same subject matter side by side but interpreted in really different ways. The highly textured photographs are probably more what the audience is accustomed to. But by putting them together with Xander's minimalist abstract interpretations, it elevates both."

The result is a less passive way of looking. One is encouraged literally to find parallels between the two pieces in each pair. "Hopefully the audience spends a lot more time than usual looking between the two," Jarrad says. "You can find a specific detail in a photograph and see how Xander's interpreted that. Then go back to the photograph."
"I'm translating Jarrad's photographs into my own visual language," Xander says. "I make all kinds of rules for myself. For example, the waves I translate into dots and bring out more cubist qualities. I'm balancing on that fine line between abstraction and a realistic representation of Jarrad's photo. But I'm pretty happy for people to see them as abstract works of art."

Jarrad says the collaboration started in the plane. "I work quite a bit for tourism bodies and I'm in the air quite often.
"So the aerial landscape genre is very familiar to me. What made this project special was working so closely with Xander. I'd be shooting these images but consulting with him the whole time regarding texture and framing and so on. And that made me look at the landscape differently."

"Landscape painting in this form is quite a new thing for me," Xander says. "It's only now that I've got close enough to an individual style to really think about an exhibition. Which is this one."

Text: William Yeoman, The West Australian 2016
Video: Jarrad Seng Photography
Music: Airling


Opening Thursday night December 8, 6:30 - 8:30
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I hope to see you there!

Selected Murals

'6 stages of Banksia baxteri'
Grain silos Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016

Each silo side shows a different stage of the flowering cycle of this species of Banksia, only found between Esperance and Albany. From flower buds, to full bloom, to seedpods developing, drying out and opening. The animals are this species' main pollinators; the Honey Possum and New Holland Honey eater.

The artwork encircles the 3 silo's infinitely; the final silo marks the beginning once again of the first, making a connection with the cycle of the seasons and grain farming processes this area is known for.

'Horse Chestnut' Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2016

'Creatures of Marmion Marine Park' Marmion, Western Australia 2016

'Banksia menziessi' Curtin University Bentley 2016

'Banksia menziessi' Fremantle 2015

'Blue Swimmer Crab' North Fremantle 2015

'Icelandic Brown Trout' Iceland 2015

'Macaque' Kep, Cambodia 2015

'Crocodylus porosus' Highgate, Western Australia 2015

'Raja Ampat Walking Shark' Sorong, West-Papua 2014

'Histrio Histrio - Sargassum Frogfish' Leederville, Western Australia 2014

'Hippocampus Subelongatus' Fremantle, Western Australia 2014

'Untitled' Pilbara desert, Western Australia 2014

'Cephalopholis Urodeta' Mt Lawley, Western Australia 2014

'Flatback Turtle Hatchling' Port Hedland, Western Australia 2014

Selected Canvas

"Leighton Beach study"
Acrylics on canvas - 91cm x 76cm 2016

'Radiated Tortoise / Astrochelys radiata'
(endemic to Madagascar) ENDEMISM Exhibition
acrylics on canvas - 126cm x 95cm 2015

'Wooly Orange Banksia / Banksia Victoriae'
(endemic to Western Australia) ENDEMISM Exhibition
acrylics on canvas - 95cm x 126cm 2015

'Laughing Kookaburra / Dacelo novaeguinneae'
(endemic to Eastern Australia) ENDEMISM Exhibition
acrylics on canvas - 60cm x 46cm 2015

'Tiger Snout Seahorse / Hippocampus subelongatus'
(endemic to Western Australia) ENDEMISM Exhibition
acrylics on canvas - 45cm x 60cm 2015

'Three Horned Rhinoceros Beetle / Chalcosoma moellenkampi'
(endemic to Borneo) ENDEMISM Exhibition
91cm x 75cm - Acrylics on canvas 2015

Selected Installations

Stainless Steel, Western Australia 2015

Stainless Steel, Western Australia 2016

Stainless Steel, Western Australia 2015

Concrete 'A'
Feb 2013 ~ Feb 2014, Western Australia

Concrete 'M'
Feb 2013 ~ Feb 2014, Western Australia

Concrete 'O'
Feb 2013 ~ Feb 2014, Western Australia'

Concrete 'K'
Feb 2013 ~ Feb 2014, Western Australia

Concrete and 6 months of marine organisms, 2015