The Hero With a Thousand Faces


Rory King 

Throughout history mythologies have offered explanation to the ontological questions that punctuate the existence of humankind and the seemingly infinite sprawl of phenomena that define our existential surroundings. When philosophical or scientific schools of thought fail to answer such questions, mythology seems to occupy the empty space that we cannot yet define. Since borne with the capacity for creative self-expression, representational artists have often turned to ancient cultural mythology and lore as thematic repertoire - a practice safeguarded and expanded upon by contempory artists who continue to address and reframe mythological narratives in their work. 

King’s most recent series, 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, acts as a photographic interpretation of what was described by Joseph Campbell as ‘the hero’s journey’ in his 1949 publication after which the series is named. Leading the viewer through a train of varied imagery, each photograph illustrates an integral component to the progression of Campbell's mono-mythic narrative. When viewed as a sum of all components, the work operates as a visual metaphor for the reoccurring key themes in mythic allegory, the processes of human knowledge acquisition, and the core psychological mechanics of personal growth and transformation.

Rory King’s work sits in the hybrid space between documentary practice and personal narratives fleshed out through an evocative and ambiguous visual discourse. Primarily shooting his work in black and white, and driven extensively by traditional photographic techniques, King is interested in the dualities and juxtapositions of human experience, the unseen personalities living on the fringes of society, the tensions between nostalgia, melancholia, the sublime, and our psychological landscapes. 

King received the National Gallery of Australia Summer Art Scholarship for photography in 2011, was awarded the 2017 Glebe Art Show Photography Prize and was also named one of the up-and-coming artists of 2018 by Vogue, Australia. He has shown strongly across his early career in group exhibitions, most recently in 'G L O S S' (2017) at Stairwell Gallery, NSW, 'Could this all be it?' (2017) at Cold Cuts Gallery, NSW, ‘Exposição Pública de Fotografias Etnográficas’ at Sólon de Lucena Park in Brazil, and ‘Mrljak Butters King’ at Down / Under Space in Sydney. King was selected as the 2018 PhotoAccess ‘Dark Matter’ Resident in which he displayed his first solo exhibition, 'Burnt Fingers, Broken Nose' (2018) which will also be exhibited in conjunction with 'Art, Not Apart' at Nishi Gallery and HeadOn Photo Festival in 2019.