Susan Fereday’s practice centres around the notion of photography as a system of knowledge. She explores photography as both means and metaphor for seeing, knowing and being, and is particularly fascinated by the metaphorical space of photography and its uncanny resonances. Fereday engages a range of media, including digital and analogue photography, installation, video, light and shadow, and is best known for her ‘post-photographic’ installations in which simple materials (papier-mâché spheres, glass bowls and goblets, light and shadow) are employed to invoke the logic of photography without the use of traditional photographic means. For the past decade, she has also been collecting vernacular photographs of uncertain origin, from flea markets and other sources, then editing and re-presenting them to privilege new meaning, for example the series Under a Steel Sky, in which her collection of amateur snapshots from the 1950s is constructed to resemble Robert Frank’s series The Americans. Other works combine her studied interests in both Surrealism and psychoanalysis alongside an irreverent semiotic tendency, through which she establishes cryptic and revelatory relationships between image, referent and language.
SUSAN FEREDAY has held more than twenty solo exhibitions across Australia since 1988, including at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne; Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide; Artspace, Sydney; Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Her work has been included in significant survey exhibitions including: Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes, National Gallery of Victoria (2015); Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1996) and The Aberrant Object: Women Dada and Surrealism, Museum of Modern Art, Heide Museum of Art (1994). Her work is held in private and public collections across Australia. In 1995, she won a Samstag scholarship and resided at the Cité International des Arts, Paris. Fereday has been an active arts curator, writer and administrator, notably as director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography 1992–95 and Inaugural director of RMIT Gallery, Melbourne. She completed her PhD in Fine Art at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University in 2009.