• Simone Douglas, detail from Eternal Return, 2022





Monday, 29 August 2022 - 10:00am to Sunday, 12 February 2023 - 5:00pm

Northern Beaches-born, New York-based artist Simone Douglas takes over MAG&M’s façade for spring with her water and skyscapes, large-scale durational photos that evoke processes of elemental change.

The luminosity of the night sky and the physicality of the water connect us with the immensity and intensity of our fragile existence on a small blue ball shimmering in the deep.

Made in ‘slow time’, each image was formed over a period of months using light drawings and alchemical processes, encapsulating a year of skies, tides, and storm waves. The artist gently resists photography’s historical emphasis upon capturing a moment. Here, photography’s task is instead directed towards capturing the magnitude of time.

Simone Douglas has spent the last few years in dialogue with light as a medium. Having returned from New York when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March 2020, the Australian-born artist has since lived a semi-nocturnal existence, spending long nights teaching her New York-based students at Parsons School of Design via Zoom.

Watching the nightly journey of the moon across the sky is now a familiar sight to the artist. By day, Douglas immerses herself in Sydney’s coastal waters, and skirting its edges, she has alchemically conjured up a series of images that mark the time and land in which she finds herself. For Douglas, the ocean, harbour, and water are connective forces that hold our collective history. Here, making sense of the local landscape and waterways through different lenses and readings has, on one level, also become a metaphor for making sense of the world right now.

This iterative lived experience is evident in her latest series of otherworldly works that slowly developed into a series of carefully nurtured apparitions through periods of pandemic lockdown. Consequently, each work is implicitly reflective of this profoundly collective contemporary experience. We get the feeling that time has slowed, the world has subtly tilted on its axis, and we are seeing things as we have never quite seen before.

Over the last twenty-four months, Douglas has returned to her roots, creating, layering and abstracting a series of images inspired by the iconic waterlines of the Northern Beaches.

With thanks to Simone Douglas and Rhianna Melhem, Curator, Artereal Gallery whose texts are woven together through this statement.

The artist acknowledges the Saltwater People of the Northern Beaches area, including the Gayamaygal and Garigal people, on whose land this work was made.


Manly Art Gallery & Museum
West Esplanade Reserve
Manly NSW 2095
Map of Simone Douglas: MAG&M Art Wall

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