Death Metal Summer: Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton exhibit at the Art Gallery of Western Australia

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Death Metal Summer: Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton exhibit at the Art Gallery of Western Australia
Ed Templeton Mike Maldonado, Davenport, Iowa 1998. Digital fiber print, 91.4 x 61.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. © Ed Templeton, 1998.

PERTH.- American photographers Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton bring their first Australian collaborative photographic exhibition at AGWA.

Considered superstars of street photography and skate culture, Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton present a new, incredibly energetic overview of their work for AGWA’s Rooftop Gallery this summer.

Death Metal Summer: Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton comprises three large wall installations and features more than 140 works produced between 1995 and 2022. Death Metal Summer includes many of their most famous images – from Deanna’s exquisite swimming pools photos to Ed’s iconic work documenting skateboarders – as well as those shot on their local turf Huntington Beach, California, where late capitalist life and the suburban dream are collapsing in on themselves.

Shooting with film and employing an off-the-cuff street-style manner, the artists respond to the chaotic intensity and impossible beauty and sadness of life in a manner that seems that there is always something at stake.

"Everything I've ever shot has just been on the path that I've been on, be it skating or travel or street photography," said Ed Templeton.

Ed Templeton became a professional skateboarder a month before graduating from high school in 1990. He credits skateboarding and art as sustaining him through challenging teenage years. Instead of falling apart, instead of getting caught up in drugs and alcohol, it was these creative mediums that, in his own words, ‘deformed’ him in a more productive way.

It was a little different for Deanna. She started taking photos at the age of fifteen, shooting the LA punk scene with a camera her parents had bought her to hopefully save her from falling out of their orbit. Full of doubts and insecurities about every level of herself and her life, Deanna filled her diaries with these reflections from an early age. She would later often pair these with her portraits of other young women as she found a legion of troubled kindred spirits around her.

"I see my own struggles, disappointment and bravery in these girls," said Deanna.

AGWA’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Robert Cook, said, "A couple since they met as teenagers ditching school to go see a Red Hot Chilli Peppers gig, Deanna’s work also charted a different experience of life on the pro-skateboarding tour that she shared with Ed who was one of the most famous skaters of his era. Quite naturally, their works connect with and complement each other in various ways, as they continue to both wrestle with their places in worlds that never quite fitted them, finding glimpses of themselves in the people and scenes they depict as alternate selves succeeding or failing in the maelstrom.

"So while they offer a gloves-off critical take on the failure of various social and national ideals they balance this with moments of incredible tenderness and empathy, with a keen eye for occasions of tender, searching beauty and vulnerability."

Death Metal Summer stages all these elements of their works, in a charged and powerful way. And as it does it offers the chance for audiences at AGWA to start to look for the signs of the undoing and chaos and strangeness of our own beachside and suburban cultures.

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