Two young women sit alone on either side of a cafe, engrossed in their phones. On the window outside, the reflected lights of the city create an aura of connectivity between these two solitary figures.
Southern Lights, Shinjinku Southern Terrace is one of four photographs by Australian photographer Matthew Sleeth and generously donated to the UTS Art Collection courtesy of collector and benefactor Patrick Corrigan, AM.
Sleeth’s photographs are seductively beautiful and disarmingly immediate, like snapshots taken on a trip abroad. And yet there is something else at play here, the reflexive eye of the artist.
“I want my photography to depart from the traditions of orthodox documentary,” Sleeth explained at a recent exhibition of his work. ”I want to engage with my times – to make pictures that grapple with social and political ideas,” says Sleeth.
His works have been a familiar sight on the walls of UTS in recent years, with several works on loan from the Corrigan Collection documenting the artist’s travels in Japan, Switzerland, East Timor and closer to home in Melbourne. Each series reveals more of Sleeth’s preoccupations with light and shade, tourism and urbanization.
Assistant Curator (Collection)
This article first appeared in U Magazine, April 2012