Bett Gallery, May 2022
Rosie Hastie is a photographer who tames the wild, capturing the most fantastic landscapes: silhouettes of tearing oceans against ragged coastlines, glowing mist, sea spray, low-lying cloud, slender reflections—always at dawn; water like glass, skies like smoke, land like torn paper—always at dusk. L’heure bleue. There is a French phrase, entre chien et loup, “between dog and wolf,” deriving from the latin, intra hora vespertina inter canem et lupum. The phrase describes a time at dawn and a time of dusk, when the light is just so, that a dog might be mistaken for a wolf. The wild can’t be distinguished from the tame.
Rosie Hastie is a photographer who tames the wild, her landscapes are entirely fantastic, made of paper in a theatre the size of a tabletop. The water is glass, the sky is smoke, the mountains are folds, and the ocean is only torn. The light is artificial—always dawn, always dusk; forever blue—always between dog and wolf.
Throughout European art histories, the notions of the sublime and the beautiful have found themselves pitted against one another in the contest to be the artist’s muse. The sublime is a reasoning with scale, it is a terror at the magnitude of that which, when we view ourselves apart from it, can be conquered only by the calm of beauty. The sublime is the wrestling of fear, an imagining of our human selves as worthy competition for the planetary forces that wreck us again and again. Beauty is the illusory restoration of calm.
For Hastie, it is neither the sublime nor the beautiful. It is the contest. And in the contest are both the threat and the illusion. The threat of believing that we are somehow separate from the vast landscape that is beyond our control. The threat of believing that we are powerless to invent the beauty within it.
For her most recent exhibition, Hastie investigates this interplay between threat and illusion twofold. The artist presents a series of postcards that utilise traditional landscape photography of well-known geographic locations. The scenes are familiar to anyone who has visited even only a gift shop in Tasmania. Of course, the scenes are not real. Through her painstaking and fleeting recreations, Hastie asks us to consider the fragility and the illusory permanence of such sites. These places need protection through more than visitation and image capture before they are wholly relegated to figments of Hastie’s wild imaginary.
Rosie Hastie completed her Masters in Photography at the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania in 2011, where she developed her arts practice using analogue camera and countless hours in the dark room. This is Rosie’s third exhibition at Bett Gallery, with her work being acquired by collectors both nationally and internationally.
For Purchase head to Bettgallery.com.au