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Venus Virgin Tomarz
24 May - 4 June
Robert Earp & Venus Tomarz
VENUS VIRGIN TOMARZ
24 May – 4 June 2022
Tues – Fri: 11am-5pm
..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?..
The audacious and electrifying conceptual photography of Robert Earp focuses on the ‘surreal realness’ of transgendering with Venus Virgin Tomarz – Named after Earp’s ‘divalicious’ collaborator and muse.
The true story of Venus Virgin Tomarz is told in hyper-colourful composite photographs that recall the sci-fi kitsch of yesteryear. “Venus’s idea of taking 1960s sci-fi as the metaphor of her story of transgender, I just thought that was brilliant,” says Earp.
In Earp’s images, entire galaxies and epic encounters have been created in minute detail, using everyday household items as their building blocks, the stars are bicarbonate soda or a sprinkling of chalk dust; the moon is a swirling pour of beer; a Kitchenaid blender whips up tornadoes; and the flesh of alien robots comes from the fish in Earp’s own tank.
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?
“Behind it all, the narrative is about equality, really,” admits Earp. “It’s also about that fight between Venus and Mars in the classic sense from literature – you know, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That fight is in everybody.”
“Congratulations. Welcome to the world of art, clarity and invention. These are the only things that move humanity forward. Even technology follows them. And remember Equal is not just a drink sweetener, it’s how everything must be.”
– Ian Buckland
Robert Earp / Photomaker
Having honed his craft as a student in the ‘film era’, a young Rob found himself exhibited in the National Gallery of Victoria with a shot from his third roll of film.
“At art school, my mentor John Cato, explained that there are two kinds of photographers – there are ‘takers’ and there are ‘makers’. Takers are your photojournalists, documentary and reportage photographers, whereas your makers are the ones that make a photograph from scratch. Say by building a set or finding the perfect location. It starts with a conceptual idea and is built into something. I immediately recognised what I was. I was a maker.”
“I’ve always loved the magician’s trick where there’s a woman floating. The magician is putting a ring around her to prove she is actually floating. You know in your head there are strings attached but you still feel as though she is really floating. I strive to bring this ‘magic’ to my photography – to give it gravity. Even if it’s something that is totally surreal, it creates a sense of realness.”
Robert took his ‘magic tricks’ into the commercial space where he became known for and sought after a world of creation and making the unreal seem real. Feeling the pull to once again tell his own stories, Robert decided to return to his natural home of fine art photography.