This offers a remarkable collection of Russell James's photography: portraits, natural world, and figure - which, itself covers a wide range. Within figure, some models appear floating weightlessly, textured with sand, or elegantly posed. Then, in the next section, many of those photos appear again, plus some new ones. This time, though, primitive, hand-drawn designs overlay each one. Energetic geometries appear, often in earth tones, suggesting a rend in the fabric that separates photographic reality from dream-time. This sense is deliberate, a collaboration with one of Australia's native people, and an homage to the culture that suffered so badly under Eurpoean rule. This blending of photography and painting goes even further in the section titled "Haiti." Energetic painting covers more of the visual space in many pieces, little to none in others.
As a whole, this body of work offers more mystery than not. It evokes vivid symbols - but symbols drawn from a culture very different from mine, leaving me to wonder, in many cases, what the artists hoped to convey. Mystery isn't altogether a bad thing, though, and I don't look for every image to reveal itself easily. The combination of photographic technology with ancient art forms kept alive says plenty, though. It reminds the viewer that, no matter how advanced the mechanism used in creating an image, it's still a human creation drawn from the pool of primal feeling and experience that's as old as humankind.