I first came across Trevor Mein’s sky photography at the interior design store Hub in Melbourne a few years back and have been haunted by those enormous, glossy vistas ever since. So I was delighted when I heard he had a solo coming up at fortyfivedownstairs. Mein’s ability to work with light is world famous. As a photographer of architecture he is know for orchestrating his photo shoots to maximise daylight – dawn, midday or twilight – to bring out the dramatic potential of a building. I can only wonder at the knowledge of filters, film and exposures this man must possess
It’s interesting to see someone with such a commercial profile turn toward the meditative subject of clouds. Sublime in their universality clouds offer a certain kind of essential experience – above the impinging constraints of human trappings. Time and location become blurred. Perhaps that’s exactly why – no matter age, class or background – staring into them is a transportive experience that takes us to the essence of things.
These new works, while not containing the same level of glorious light and crisp blue skies present in the works I first saw, are breathtaking none the less. There appears a clear decision here to focus on the more brooding elements of clouds – cumulus rather than strata. Printed at a vast scale of around 175 x 120cm each, the gallery walls are transformed by the sheer size of these works. When viewed from a distance, as a whole, they almost appear to be swirling like ink through water. Vertigo, and a slightly quavery feeling under foot, accompany the experience of standing in front of them, watching for some sense of movement within. But they’re not moving. They are fixed, caught forever in this moment of flux.
Throughout this series Mein’s palette remains for the most part within a range of sombre blues and greys. It’s all slightly foreboding as they are captured rumbling over head – full of rain, thunder and cold swirling winds. They remind me of Giorgione’s ambiguous painting The Tempest, that classical landscape of desire and vulnerability, a drama held together under the looming potential of a dark allegorical sky. On until 20 Augus