Stuart Redler: Black and White Africa

Stuart Redler: Black and White Africa

26 April - 18 May 2013

Black and White Africa draws together Stuart Redler’s recent photographs from South Africa, with images from excursions over the past two decades, through Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Compositionally bold and varied, Stuart’s photographs are unified by a striking aesthetic, unusual perspectives and exquisite detail. From striking geometric architectural structures to tumultuous landscapes, engaging portraiture and witty still lives, Stuart approaches his subjects with perceptiveness and alacrity.

Not restricted to his photographs of Africa, but throughout his portfolio of work, Stuart moves nimbly between different subject matter. In Woodpile logs are piled several feet high, a tower removed from its context and surroundings, bathed in a bright white light, like a Richard Long-esque abstract sculpture in a white gallery. In another photograph a meerkat stands poised and alert. Plants are woven, folded, platted and crimped by children to sell to visitors. Stuart captures their unusual forms as they are tucked and twisted into alien-like figures, which become partially transparent when the leaves are placed in the shade against the sky. In Keep Left, tracks of vehicles veering left or right as the road forks, have a painterly quality as undulating clouds pass over the land. There is a sense of the open road and a great enjoyment of the land and the country.

In Market Street Stuart concentrates on textured and tactile structures; the photograph is divided horizontally into thirds between the striped awning, the coarsely rendered wall and the sky above. Tightly focused and compositionally dynamic, Stuart’s photographs give importance to variegated leaves, or the way in which the light glances across a corrugated metal roof.

There is an overarching sense of humour in Stuart’s photographs. Submerged hippos play staring games with the camera lens while witty titles lend another engaging element to Stuart’s work.

With a highly distinctive photographic style, Stuart’s striking and contemporary black and white images are accentuated by the bright African sunlight and the strong deep shadows. After shooting with Mamiya and Leica medium format cameras, Stuart edits and hand prints each series of images, a highly important part of the process which often takes more time than the trip itself.

The unmistakable African-ness of these ph