Photographic Work

Michael Forbes

1 June 1999 to 10 July 1999

198 Contemporay Arts & Learning

Michael Forbes's powerful photo-montages confront forms of racism, masculinity and (mis)information and draw visual analogies betwen art, politics, the media and domesticity.

Some are desert(ed) landscapes in which diverse historical events come together; some are stunning matrices, like masks that conceal and reveal a real threat of violence and repression. These works inhabit a space where every event has been multi-mediated until they become hyper-real.

The themes in Forbes's work often involve observations on the society we live in; they are mediated by a variety of approaches.

Portraiture, a genre with a long tradition, undergoes an overhaul: juxtaposed with other images, the images begin to provide an examination of social issues in our multicultural world. Women's sexuality, race, power and anger are explored through the mode of story telling. The New York subway system and the people who use it become subjects for a documentary study. More recently, Forbes has made digitally manipulated images dealing with social issues, among them oppression, wealth and poverty, race and religion.