Examining the way in which photography mediates and shapes experience, Michelle O’Byrne’s practice engages with popular photography as a language with its own syntactical and semantic rules. The works within this exhibition explore the conventions of our photographic language and confront the viewer with the possibilities and limits that it presents.

Metonymy within photographic language is investigated through stock photography, a form of photography intentionally produced to be used in a multitude of situations, often as a placeholder to indicate a particular ideology. The works call attention to the pervasiveness of such images and arrest their ideological function by bringing the photograph into relation with material objects and descriptive text, offering alternative avenues for meaning.

Approaching image making with an expanded idea of image, the assemblages presented undulate between language, object, and image, exploring what is sayable and unsayable within the mediums and embracing the generative space between them.

An artist book that explores the poetic potentialities of image descriptors, such as key words and descriptions from archives and captions, will be produced for this exhibition. This is the first in a series of exhibitions that O’Byrne hopes to mount exploring various language structures within photography. As she moves forward she will be considering aphorisms, superlatives, and similes.

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