Fiona Pardington

Soft Target I

Soft Target I by Fiona Pardington

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Insistently and delectably subversive in her approach to photography, Fiona Pardington creates images which linger and ripen in the mind. Soft Target is like a religious icon or reliquary, framed with beaten, studded copper and gold-painted wood, but encrusted with contradictory images and texts. The sensuous, softly focused image of a woman tenderly caressing a man's - a beloved's - foot, brings to mind the New Testament story of Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus and drying them with her hair. But at the top of the grand gilded frame, someone disappears into the mouth of a whale - how love does swallow up its victims - and a lozenge bears the ironic statement 'The House of Dreams Come True'. Below the photograph, in one of the tiny strips of biblical text, are the words 'O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?'. And roses (with thorns) suggest that beauty and love can come with snags attached. Around the bewitched-one storm a mass of images like bestial marginalia in a medieval manuscript - perhaps love provides a refuge? Pardington reflects on the paradox of love and loving captivity in her search for a heightened visual reality, 'an image created from the experiences of the female spectator, a sensual gaze, intimate yet gentle too . . . respectful. What do women feel when they look at their lover's body? Sight in which touch is so close'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
Soft Target I
Artist/creator
Production date
1991
Medium
gelatin silver print in wooden frame with oil paint and collage
Size (h x w)
1350 x 995 x 144 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1991
Accession no
1991/9
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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