Higher Ground

  • Artist
    Emily Gordon
  • Dates
    2 May—2 Jun 2024

Raised in Oakland California, Emily Gordon first moved to Australia in 2005 and now splits her time between downtown Sydney and Gunning NSW. Her limited-release cityscapes explore Sydney’s historic surrounds. Rhythm, light and pattern inform and elevate everyday moments, and the work allows viewers to share in her personal visual narrative. Emily is a represented artist with Michael Reid Northern Beaches, and ‘Higher Ground’ follows four sold out solo shows with the Michael Reid galleries. She is a finalist in the 2024 Ravenswood Art Prize, and previous finalist in the National Emerging Art Prize and Mosman Art Prize.

Higher Ground is a re-examination of familiar surrounds – set on Gadigal Land in the heart of historic Sydney, the works explore a highly examined subject to unearth something new and special to share. The development of the series ran as a dual-process, delving into years of archival photography in the area, mining for untapped gems of inspiration, as well as scaling new heights to capture known vistas from a fresh aspect.

There is compounded meaning in higher ground: when seeking a new perspective, the instinctual choice is to move physically upward, to take in broader surrounds. I explored elevated spaces within – and on top of – buildings and outlooks that brought entirely fresh entry to the subject matter that I have worked with previously (in spite of a crippling fear of heights).

We also head for higher ground seeking safety from danger, and there is an element of searching for respite from anxiety in familiar places, in calming rhythms and transcendent light. Diving back through my photo archives allows me to be subsumed by the quest to find and translate beautiful moments from my past personal narratives and share this sense of found peace.

Strategically, holding the high ground is advantageous, but I am more interested in the moral connotations. In my own seeking of higher ground, I have been undertaking an internal examination toward living in a more principled manner – a journey to better understand ethical precepts cultivated in parallel to these works, which ultimately cannot be divorced from the context of their production.”

~ Emily Gordon 2024

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