Olive COTTON, Drainpipes Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 2003

Drainpipes 1937 Creation Notes: printed 1985
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Signed l.r. print border, pencil, "-Olive Cotton". Dated l.l. print border, pencil, "Drainpipes".
Dimensions: printed image 32.0 h x 30.7 w cm sheet 46.8 h x 37.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1765

Given Cotton’s intense fascination with the pictorial possibilities of long shadows, it’s not surprising when she later commented on the making of this image that she remembered how impressed she had been with the precisely formed circles and curves of the pipes, interspersed with slivers of light. In keeping with her usual mode of working and what interested her eye, she used the rhythm of light and shadow to give the image life and dynamism. The tight cropping emphasises the monumental size of the pipes, as does the inclusion of a workman behind, almost completely eclipsed and only visible thanks to the slivers of light that fall on his head, shoulders and hands.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra