Ali McCann <em>The Alps</em> 2020, printed 2022; digital type C photograph. Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2022<br/>
© Ali McCann. Photo: Predrag Cancar / NGV

Ali McCann

Ali McCann
(b. 1977, Stawell, Victoria. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Ali McCann is a Melbourne-based artist known for her mise en scène photography, and sculptural works. Her highly staged photographic compositions spotlight the illusory qualities of the medium, often taking cues from outmoded photography guides, amateur artworks, and 1970s domestic and educational interiors to examine the aesthetics of education, nostalgia and memory.

The four works by McCann included in the Slippery Images group installation were created in the artist’s studio using a series of nostalgic and often kitsch props. These objects were sourced from op shops and online during her time teaching photography, and are placed here into still-life compositions that play with ideas of illusion and objective realities, collapsing and rebuilding prevalent assumptions of our ability as viewers to ‘read’ a photograph. This has become a continued theme in McCann’s work, which is inspired by Dada and Surrealist photography in the way it recontextualises what McCann refers to as ‘the psychological space’ occupied by these artefacts. The works were captured in-camera, and shot on medium-format colour negative film.

McCann has exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney and regional Victoria since the early 2000s. Solo exhibitions include Οι νέοι (2019) at Gertrude Contemporary, Masks for Magicians (2018) at Caves, Polytechnic (2018) at Tristan Koenig and An Introduction to Liminal Aesthetics (2017) at c3 Contemporary Art Space. Recent group exhibitions includeStates of Disruption (2022) at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Not for the Sake of Something More (2021) at Sarah Scout Presents and the 2020 National Photography Prize exhibition at Murray Art Museum Albury, in which McCann was a finalist. In addition to her practice as an artist, McCann also teaches photographic studies and art history to tertiary students. Her work is held in public and private collections across Australia.