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By Carrie Miller


Artists are by nature voyeurs but there’s a long-standing interest in the history of art in the concept of the gaze. In Covert at galleryeight, Carolyn McKay demonstrates this ongoing fascination with the power of the camera lens to frame the subject of its gaze in a series of compelling video works that demonstrate that our ability to surveil others can transcend the oppressive forces of mere objectification.


The works were created from footage McKay shot travelling around Japan last year that she filmed covertly from behind glass, either through the window of a train or a hotel. These banal scenes of strangers going about their everyday lives – a generic looking commuter, a mask covering his face, reading a book on the way to work – are given poetic resonance through the process of translation afforded by post-production manipulation that distort time or create a mirror effect as in the case of The Walking Man. McKay’s ability to reveal something in an ordinary, ephemeral moment and extend it to create something new and enduring is what sets her work apart from a lot of mediocre contemporary video work that claims the banal as its subject matter.


Until September 30


galleryeight, Millers Point


Pic: [Courtesy the artist]

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