Wayne Barrar’s photographs go beyond the simple documentation of a landscape. His striking and beautiful vistas, devoid of humans, become a discussion point for the complex issues surrounding human intervention in the landscape. This duality allows Barrar to convey an ironic subtext: beneath the appearance of scenic grandeur lies both a warning and an appeal.
Sightlines South derives from three interconnecting projects all engaging issues of land in the lower South Island.
The earliest series, Mason Bay: A Natural Succession (produced on Stewart Island, 1988), investigates the subtle visual realities inherent in a landscape that appears to be unaltered but is nonetheless a product of human contact.
The more recent Monowai series (2003) makes direct reference to the less than subtle intervention created when one of New Zealand’s earliest hydro power schemes left its mark on an ancient lakeside shoreline.
Also included are several images from an ongoing series that looks at the engineered landscape evidenced by dams and tourist sites – new interventions in response to social change. (1)
1. Artist statement, 2004.