Anne Zahalka

Anne Zahalka
Anne Zahalka
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Anne Zahalka


Rhetoric, Confident, Assertive, 1993
Anne Zahalka (born 1957)
dye sublimation prints on perspex
25 × 25cm each
edition of 20
signed, dated, inscribed and numbered 6/20 on Rhetoric panel

Exhibited: Gesture, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney 19 October - 12 November 1994
Literature: Anne Zahalka, Gesture catalogue, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Other notes: Rhetoric is in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW Accession number 203.2011.2


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‘Confident’, ‘Assertive’, ‘Rhetoric’, 1993 combine images of hands in various gestures with symbolically charged objects and text. They are related to five other works, titled; ‘Sincerity’; ‘Allure’; ‘Restrain’; ‘Open’ and ‘Silence’. They are also more broadly related other works from the series ‘Gesture’ which examines the language and meaning of gesture within western representations.
The gesture, removed from its context is severed from the past and magnified under the microscope of the 20th century. This intervention with our history enables a re-writing of the values and meaning ascribed to it. From its initial depiction in painting, the language of gesture has been a persistent means of narration both visually and symbolically. The most powerful application of gesture emanated from the liturgical proceedings of Mass and from the law courts in its judicial procedures. These rituals were concerned with communicating significance in a comprehensible form to maintain the power, authority and control it held over its audience. ‘Rhetoric’ for example depicts a pair of masculine hands juxtaposed with a gun, set on an orange background. There is a gendered subtext here: by invoking art-historical representations of gesture, Zahalka references the prescriptive notions of gender that are manifest in Western art history.
While critically engaged with the frames of art history, these works also have a delicate beauty, and manifest what curator Jim Logan described as ‘Gesture as an outward expression of the soul’ (J Logan, ‘Gesture: towards a lexicon’ Anne Zahalka Sydney: RoslynOxley9, 1994, np)

Anne Zahalka by Mark Rogers.jpg

Anne Zahalka

Anne Zahalka was born in Sydney in 1957 where she currently lives and works. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1979 and a Post Graduate Diploma in 1989, both at Sydney College of the Arts. In 1994 she gained her Master of Fine Arts, at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. Anne is one of Australia’s most highly regarded photo-media artists having exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas for more than thirty years.

Anne Zahalka is represented in major national and international collections including National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Australian Bicentennial Collection; National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Parliament House, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria; Sir Elton John Collection; International Polaroid Collection, USA; Visart, New York and numerous other regional galleries, universities and private collections in Australia and internationally.