Since 2012, Ferran has collaborated with dancers in Australia, France and Finland to create her choreographed photographs of figures manipulating large lengths of coloured felt. Her dancers cling onto, or are cloaked under the weighty fabric and their improvised movements from behind or underneath allow these evocative images to emerge.
For Ferran felt is a material with indeterminate associations. Initially there was a focus on its association with historic institutional garb, though pictorially the artist is drawn to this dense, soft fabric’s ability to hold shape. Following her 2013 series, Box of birds, which employed a uniform subdued palette of blues, greys and browns, this new body of work introduces cerulean blue, red and white, creating stark contrasts which are further exaggerated with red, white and black painted lines interrupting each fabric panel. This palette resulted from Ferran’s observations at the Museum of Military History in Paris, particularly of colours found on both military and medical uniforms.
While working with Paris-based dancer Eléonore Didier, Ferran found the impression of a mask for the body, already present in the earlier work, was intensified. As body-masks, some of them had an almost uncanny, quasi-ceremonial presence. The abstract elements, colour, line and form are altered by the human figure supporting them. The presence of skin, limbs, or knuckles transforms a blanket of felt into imagery charged with notions of concealment and communication. Ferran relishes the many possible interpretations of these works.
Recent exhibitions include Emanations: the Art of the Cameraless Photograph, Govett Brewster Gallery, NZ (2016); MAMA Art Foundation National Photography Prize (2016); Anne Ferran: Shadow Land, a major survey show that has toured prominent national institutions (2014-2016); The Photograph and Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Photo L.A, with Queensland Centre for Photography (2013); Negotiating this World, National Gallery of Victoria (2012); Anne Ferran: The Ground, the Air, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and Wollongong City Gallery (2008-2009). She has been the recipient of prestigious awards, fellowships and grants, which include the Higashikawa International Photographer Award (2009), and the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photographic Award (2003). Her work is held in major public collections, including International Museum of Photography, New York; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Monash University; Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery; Art Gallery of South Australia; Art Gallery of Western Australia; and Art Gallery of New South Wales.
This work was supported by a Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowship.Artist’s profile