I was recently indirectly pointed towards Eden Gallery by photographer Pacific Fanshaw, who features the location in her Profile Picks. Operated and curated by Adelina (AdelinaLawrence), Eden Gallery sits within the Garden of Eden, a region given over to flights of the imagination, offering a mixture of fantastical public spaces and private residences.
In this, the gallery literally stands over the cavern of Enchanted Eden, a music / dance venue, and takes the form of a grand windmill-fronted cottage built within the boughs of a great tree. The tree is reached from the lowlands of the region via stairs and steps running up to and around the cavern or by means of winding path; steps and path both ascending to the plateau over the cavern, and visitors must ascend the tree by way vertical ladders and a wooden walkway that eventually lead to the gallery’s front door (used here as a landing point SLurl).
The treetop cottage offers three floors of space, although at the time of my visit, only the mid and upper levels of the house were in use. The front door accesses the middle floor, and an exhibition of art by Scylla Rhiadra, known for her explorations aspects of life and the human condition (such as with Virtual Toxic, which I reviewed here and Intimacy, which I review here).
So far as I could see, this exhibition has no title, but it very much continues in the vein of exploring aspects of life. Each piece, as artificially composed and posed as it might be, captures a single moment in life that is marvellously expressive and exquisitely rich in narrative, making the fact it has been constructed fade entirely into irrelevance, leaving us caught in the richness – and in places, the mystery – of the images as we encounter them. Just take Connect, the first image encountered in entering the house, for example: the message of love and intimacy is so powerfully conveyed through expression, skilled use of line-of-sight from one character to the other, lens flare, reflection, and the balance of light shadow.
Then within In Transit in the next-door room, there is an unmistakable sense of personal happiness in an exchange with someone – or something (Scylla might be responding to reading a departure or directions board) – is richly palpable. Meanwhile Little Universes tells a layered story containing just a hint of sci-fi mystery (catch the telescope and the white light spilling through the (slowly opening?) door) wrapped in what might otherwise be a more every day event – noticing the lens cap has been left off the telescope.
Each and every image is thusly evocative, but I found myself repeatedly drawn to Transition (above right) for is narrative mystery: is the man seen in the mirror actually there, or is he the personification of a memory on the part of the woman? Is the shadow on the wall behind her a clue that he is there, standing behind her – or is the shadow actually hers and merely fooling us?
Take the gentle curve of the staircase to the upper floor of the house, and you’ll find a display of art by Adelina, some of which in the main room at the top of the stairs might be considered by some as not suitable for work (NSFW).
These are more personal in nature, nude and semi-erotic images someone might take with their lover and intended for personal viewing rather than display. This gives them a depth of perspective that casts those viewing them into the role of voyeur whilst simultaneously presenting encouraging a sense of privilege in sharing in these personal, guarded moments.
Mixed with these are images that touch upon the realm of fantasy story-telling, fashion and contemplating reflection. All are marvellously composed, focused, framed and processed to present a collection that is beautifully and richly emotive throughout.
- Eden Gallery (Garden of Eden, rated Adult)