Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Degree Shows Round Up - 'Free Range' the new batch hatch! Part 1 Plymouth College of Art BA Photography Degree show.

©Tim Pearse
Taken with a hand built 20x24 view camera
Well two busy weeks have gone by since I saw the first of the Degree Shows at 'Free Range' in the Old Truman Brewery in East London. I have by no means seen everything but thought it only fair to mention  a few highlights for those whom have missed them.

The first visit there were a few stand out works, not least one by Tim Pearse from Plymouth College of Art (BA Photography), whose portraits taken with his hand built 20 x 24 view camera were a sight to see. The camera itself was hugely impressive, quite literally as it took a table & 3 tripods to hold it up with bellows must have been 10 feet long in all! I look forward to watching his progress as the project gets underway with more portraits to come. The one above was by far the highlight of his space at FR. 

The rope wrapped around the sitter - coupled with her strange stare - brought back memories of Michael Lesy's book & film Wisconsin Death Trip (image above) & Mike Disfarmer, (below) both of whose work I admire. The formats may not be exactly the same but the sensibility & lightness of touch most certainly is. 

© Mike Disfarmer
There were two other photographer's works that had curated & constructed their spaces beautifully. The first, were Anna Whittall's domestic spaces made derelict & ridden with decay by her own hand procured interesting spy hole images. They were made all the more fascinating when you realised that the scaled models were beneath the works, to peek into. 

  © Anna Whittall 

Her miniature forms were all the more enticing (like damaged vacant doll houses) as they were only viewable through the spy holes. The urge to touch the tiny furniture was insatiable, so perhaps a good thing that I couldn't... 

As you may or may not know I have a weakness for miniature things & although I never owned a dolls house (a bit of a tomboy) there was an old one at my grandparents house with its own tiny light switches, also Alice in Wonderland & all that tosh is hard to resist as well. The rooms that can be achieved in miniature are amazing! See these examples for 'Elegant Living':

Objects of a different kind drew Annie Crowells-Hodge to photograph & curate her own museum from objects owned by 3 generations of her family. Each image displayed in its actual size & curated to harness a narrative & flow along the wall, was charming & the objects given another beauty as a result of being photographed.

© Annie Crowells-Hodge

So this is the first starter, just a lite bite to be getting on with til the main course!



Sunday, 17 June 2012

B.S.T. British Summer (long) Time passing...

So my lovely readers, firstly an apology is in order, as my posts have been less frequent. The least I can do is give you an update of the numerous goings on including trips & openings in the last few weeks. 

B.S.T. British / Summer/ Time opened on June 6th to rave reviews! To see the press release with info on all the artists included download it from my website here. I shall blog further about it during the run of the show. In the meantime please come & visit as with all great photography there is no better way to view the work than in the flesh.

So, to other news...
© Laura Noble / Light installation at FOAM Editions Amsterdam
I was recently invited to speak about collecting photography at my favourite photography gallery in Amesterdam FOAM as part of their Collecting Club programme. I was joined by two of the gallery's artists, namely Emily Allchurch & Lisa Holden who expanded on the subject of contemporary practice in todays photography market, alongside talking about their own work & practice. As you may know both artists use traditional techniques coupled with incredibly advanced Photoshop to achieve the amazing imagery that they produce. Both - although aesthetically poles apart - have roots in traditional art practice including painting & performance art. 
© Laura Noble / Lisa & Tim having a well-earned ale!
The lecture was well attended & we were inundated with questions afterwards. Thank you to all those who came & a big thanks to FOAM for hosting such a lovely evening with such generosity. The evening was ended with a well earned drink at a local watering hole with Lisa, Tim (who kindly took pics at the event) & Emily of course.
© Laura Noble / New York Times show at FOAM
As there was time to catch during our stay we caught a couple of exhibitions as well. Emily & myself were keen to see a couple of things before going back to the UK. We of course went to see the displays on at FOAM including: Bertien van Manen's 'Let's sit down before we go' which has a book to accompany it. 
See the Mack site for details. I also found a look thru on Youtube. The display was large on the ground floor. Further up was the New York Times show, which was updated from the Arles exhibition last summer. It was interesting & informative & it was good to  compare it to the dramatic inventive display inside the empty church in Arles last year. (A curatorial triumph I thought)
© Laura Noble / A happy Emily Allchurch at the entrance to Nina Poppe's exhibit
Then into a wonderful room for another show by Nina Poppe called Ana which has been written about beautifully by the Guardian Culture section, in the link by Sean O'Hagan. The curation worked fantastically well amidst the book filled space with its spiral staircase. 
© Laura Noble
I couldn't resist taking a few snaps with my phone. (For those of you who love looking at books on shelves, see this site I love to peek at occasionally).
© Laura Noble / Varied sizes work so well in this intimate space
 The panelled walls with the shelves above make you feel at home instantly. It is a space perfectly chosen to display this intimate portrait of a woman who is part of the legendary fisherwomen who dive for abalone sea snails. 
Abalone sashimi
The delicate nature of catching these snails involves skilled diving, in tiring conditions without tools off the Japanese island of Ise-Shima. As you can see I couldn't resist putting a picture of food into this, especailly Japanese food! 
© Laura Noble / Small simple frames
 There is a book of this work also, see her site for details.
© Laura Noble / Emily inspects...

© Laura Noble / Yum, photobooks...
So, just enough time for coffee (which my sweeteners failed to penetrate) before going to the next museum...
© Laura Noble / One pill or two
A guilty pleasure visit to the cat museum, Katten Kabinet, go to the link for a virtual tour! 
© Laura Noble / Entrance to Katten Kabinet
It was a fascinating place, in stark contrast to FOAM, but equally enjoyable with lots of things to look at including a display of illustrations from a famous children's book illustrator, Fiep Westendorp & her cheeky pair of cats Pim & Pom. they were delightful & as both of us are avid cat fanciers we had a great time. 
Pim & Pom up to their usual mischief
 The rooms are full to the brim with interesting & varied cat-themed objects, furniture & the like...
 © Laura Noble / Amidst the dark interior a treasure trove of cat goodies!
By far my favourite work was this beautifully simple paper sculpture lounging on a sideboard, fantastic!
© Laura Noble / I can imagine a child waiting for it to come to life any minute!
So the next day we had time to head up to the Hermitage to cool down as the weather had been warmer than expected. On the way a bridge made way for a very long barge. The mechanism was fascinating as it lifted. I'm not sure what the text says on the panels beneath, but would be curious to find out.
© Laura Noble / Watch out big boat coming through
The Hermitage was a first for me in Amsterdam, so it was a wonderful chance to compare the traditional with contemporary spaces. 
What a spectacular building, so traditional from the outside, yet with all the mod-cons inside. 
Here are some examples of the beautiful interiors...
 I think I could get used to a space like this...
 Or this
With the odd artwork dotted here & there...
So as I was saying before dreaming of living in a place like this (all offers gladly received) I digress from the exhibition we saw. 
The show, Rubens, Van Dyck & Jordeans : Flemish painters from the Hermitage was not something that would ordinarily appeal to me as none of them are my favourites. However, the works by Flemish painters neither myself or Emily had heard of were indeed fascinating & a great surprise. 
Frans Snyders (1579–1657), Concert of Birds, 1630–50, Oil on canvas. 136.5 x 240 cm
© State Hermitage Museum, St
This work by Frans Snyders was less of a concert (despite the owl holding the music) & more of a screech, but quite extraordinary. Everything about it is strange, from the mixture of birds that would never be grouped together in nature & the idea to make this the subject of a bird study. Perhaps he was as mad about birds as I am, why not! 
Then to our delight, more amazing bird images took our fancy, amongst them many dead ones strung onto poles, looking beautiful all the same. 
Still Life of Dead Birds and a Hare on a Table, 1647 by Adriaen van Utrecht
Someone whom I had heard of but whose work I had all but forgotten having never seen their work up close was that of Adriaen van Utrecht. Here is a wonderful example. What can I say, beautiful death with so much care taken to render every bird 'feather perfect' (that ones an in-joke for those into taxidermy). It was hard to tear myself away from his work, I could st-hare at it for days. (Sorry)
© Laura Noble / The ceramic house
So in true Banksy-style we headed to the gift shop before leaving & bought a more realistic sized sample of Dutch architecture, a ceramic house. Finally a nice souvenir that wasn't painted in garish colours, horay!
© Laura Noble / Chance shot from a cab
It is impossible to visit Amsterdam without admiring its wonderful architecture. On the way to Lisa Holden's we passed this wonderful house, & as chance would have it this lady walked into the frame wearing a beautifully co-ordinated outfit to go with it! Ok, so it is a bit lop sided, but I was in a moving car at the time...
© Laura Noble / Great tattoo's on the escalator
And so back to reality on the London Underground, also whilst moving I couldn't resist snapping this lady's tatooed calves. She was wearing a Rockabilly styled outfit to match as well with a Mexican Day of The Dead inspired print too. 
I could easily do a whole blog on skulls in art....
© Laura Noble
I am the proud owner of a sugar skull from Mexico myself, with my name on it. The orange bow I feel is particulaly fetching & one of my favourite colours. Spooky, weird but true all the same...  
© Maeve berry / Courtesy of Diemar/Noble Photography, London
And so to another beautiful death...
I am proud as punch that the talented artist Maeve Berry has been selected to exhibit at the Arles Photography Open Salon this year with her 'Incandescence' series, so another reason to go!
© Vanja Karas
Here is a picture from last years venue. This year is bigger by all accounts, so I can't wait.
So back to London with my final bit of news before the round of all the degree shows which are still running & some new ones to attend this week in my next blog...
William Road Gallery
So no rest for the wicked, even at the weekend with a day at the William Road Gallery. I was a reviewer for the day event of portfolio reviews for the London Festival of Photography. It was a jam packed day, with lots of interesting work to look at & just as many interesting photographers to advise & discuss their work. I must thank Grace for looking after us so well, plying me with coffee, biscuits & sarnies to keep us all going. I was less than chipper with a lovely cold, so it was much appreciated. 
© Laura Noble / Review at the William Road Gallery
So that's all from me for now folks. Please post your comments, as I am always curious to your thoughts on any of the subjects, artists, ideas in this blog, its VERY encouraging.
Hope to see you out & about at DIemar/Noble Photography Gallery very soon, it is British Summer Time after all!