Dido Haas has slipped back into the smaller exhibition hall of her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – a place I’ve taken to calling “Dido’s Space”, as it was used to be reserved for her personal art selections prior to her offering it as a space other artists might use. On display is a selection of eight images Dido is exhibiting under the title of Minimal.
All of the images are, as Dido notes herself, a step away from her usual style of work on a number of levels. Noted for her elegant, posed avatar studies and art that offers a clear narrative or sentiment to entice the audience into it, Dido’s work also tends to carry with it a delicate hand with post-processing to offer works that are richly finished in terms of their photogenic depth.
With this selection, however, Dido present pieces that are lighter in the touch of post-processing (if used at all) that is minimal in its finish, thus giving us the first reflection of the exhibition’s title. Further reflections of the theme are found in the way each piece is minimal in terms of its setting and framing, together with the fact that the props, etc. used by Dido all come by way of the Minimal in-world brand. Finally, there is the placement of Dido’s avatar; for those of us familiar with her exceptional still life and avatar studies, the majority of the pieces within Minimal reduce her avatar’s presence to a minimum, encouraging use to consider the scene as a whole.
And this is where the final take on the idea of the “minimal” theme can be found: each and every piece is of such a nominal nature that, a Dido herself states:
The images … depict several scenes which make you wonder ‘what is happening there’? Use your imagination and make up your own story.
In other words, these are pieces framed without overt commentary by the artists (other than the title), leaving the audience totally free to consider each piece, thus making them pictures that should be viewed as much by our imaginations as they should be by the eye of arts appreciation.
Take Telephone Booth for example – what brought the woman to the public telephone? Is it an innocent chain of events – such as being in a remote coastal area where cell ‘phone coverage is poor; or is due to more clandestine reasons – such as trying to avoid any record of the call appearing on her ‘phones records? Is her call to a loved one or is there something more to the call? Indeed, is she even making a call – or was it chance that she was passing when the ‘phone oddly rang; or is she even interested in it at all? It sits on the hook, and her attitude suggests she has no interest in it. Is the booth a means of escape, a place to hide – and if so, from whom or what? So many potentials for what may have happened – or what may follow, as each image need not be the end of its narrative, but the beginning or even the middle.
Intriguing and cosy in size, Minimal is an engaging experiment by Dido, one that exposes a different side to her work, one I certainly hope to see more of.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)