Sunday, 15 September 2013

Autumn is upon us...curating the Vole & other spaces...

Helén Petersen's work awaits it fate...

Hello dear reader, with summer well & truly over my favourite season has almost begun. Autumn I am told in the Northern hemisphere officially begins on September 22nd till December 20th! With that in mind the art calendar also begins in earnest with so much to see we will barely know where to start.

Unseen opening 2012

As you may or may not know L A Noble Gallery is in between exhibitions & off to Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam 26 - 29 September. I am off to Foam Museum to give some collecting lectures on Tues/Wed evening, so before I head out thought it only fair to post beforehand.

Phillip Wülfing's domestic image in a warm wooden
 frame compliments the space beautifully

A new show is always an exciting time as the preparation leading up to it finally becomes a reality. It's a bit like looking forward to a holiday without the beach bit.  In this case the change of venue provided a new challenge from a curatorial point of view, which I relish. Curating the same space is good, but the creative solutions you have find to make the most of a new space is all the more satisfying when they work. 

Katherine & Emily measure

In the current Maybe A Vole space with its grey walls allows the work to ‘pop’ as the contrast pushes the wall back & the images forward. We are so used to white walls in art galleries & often by altering the status quo an audience can receive the work differently. This refreshing change of backdrop, with warm toned wooden furniture also has the effect of perceiving the pictures in a more domestic setting. Measuring the space is the first essential step to establish what will fit comfortably in the space. 

 Lanscape/portrait mix it up & measure

With 31 works & 15 artists to display the first task was to look at the sizes  & see which were the largest works – where they would be best placed in order to utilize there size within the whole exhibit. 

So Helén's work goes up in 
the middle of the left wall 

The larger works of course are apt to stand out, so hanging the largest works first sets up the balance for the rest of the display. 
Then the scale can be played with...

Anne Leigniel's work on the right wall

By hanging the smallest works at the furthest point emphasises the depth of the room even more - encouraging the viewer to come further into the room and stand closer to the smaller work in order to look at it at its optimum distance. 

Make it bold

The height can also be played with, by stacking one work above another.

Sketch it out

As a visual person I find that a combination of scaled drawings & placing the works themselves against the wall to see how well they fit in the space is the best way to realise your vision. Planning a wall can take a lot of measuring, but well worth it. 

The spaces in between works if too large or small can ruin the flow of the exhibition. When done right you barely notice the curation. Bad curation stands out a mile. 

I think back over the best shows I've seen & invariably the best curated shows not only make a greater impact but also encourage you to look at each & every work. 

Variety adds to the interest of the work 
playing with horizontal & vertical lines

If placed badly your interest can be lost or works missed all together. I have seen works obstructed by pillars, other objects like plinth's in the way so that I couldn't get close enough to see the detail of a picture on display behind it. 

A painting is not painted at this angle so why hang it so?

A little trick if a picture has to be hung from a rail - to stop it hanging forward, put a slice of cork behind it so it doesn't lean forward. Alter the width of the cork for the deisred effect. The weight of the picture will hold it place. The cork doesn't slip. You can buy these things but  just save your corks & voila! A painting is not painted at this angle so why hang it so?

Already the depth of the space is accentuated by the size
 of the works in relation to the space

It's always good to 'walk the show' as if you are a visitor. Walk in & go left, right, clockwise, anti-clockwise to see if anything is lost or not given the space it deserves. The size of a space needn't be a negative if the show is well thought through. 

My most recent planning has been off site for Unseen. To plan the walls each work was printed to scale (nothing fancy) with a wall made to scale out of paper. I prefer to use 10cm as 1 meter as it's a nice size to fit on a table. Then with the images cut out they can be moved around & visualised pre-hang. 

Of course there may be minor changes on the day, but this prep is really invaluable, especially for a fair when there is a limit to the time you may have to hang your walls. Last year we had the whole space hung in 3 & 1/2 hours! Not bad. 

Then presentation, clean clear labels - or in the case of the Summer Salon - numbers to label the works in a more subtle way giving the works more space on the wall. With photography I am dismayed when labels do not give all the appropriate info. I went to a very large exhibit recently which did not disclose either the type of print or if it were a vintage, modern or exhibition print. Some looked like they were there for context & not originals at all. This in my opinion is unforgivable. 

If the info isn't displayed with the work it needs to be available to the audience wether it is for sale or not. I always include the following info if possible, either on the label or available if asked for so as not to overload a label with too much text: I've put the bare minimum in bold.

Name of artist/photographer
Title of work: Either italicised or 'like this'
Date taken/made
Date printed/made
Edition - 1 of 5 or 1/5 or #2 from an edition of 5 for example
Type of print/medium: Archival inkjet print on ***paper / C-type etc... NEVER giclée (see previous rants for why)
Price: Either + VAT / excluding VAT / inclusive price outright

Occasionally the series may be mentioned or the other sizes available - but usually this is obvious or is on other hand-out materials/leaflets.  

It's the finishing touches that make a space pleasant to be in, wether that be a bunch of flowers on the desk or comfortable seating & space to move around in. 
Model planning

The next show at L A Noble Gallery is In Paradiso by the wonderful Deborah Baker & in order to work out the way in which her large & small works would be displayed a model of the whole space was made. We even have furniture to really get a sense of scale. (Thanks Emily) 

The hang will be dramatic, I can barely wait! Watch this space for more pics. In the meantime see the website, Facebook, Twitter or the gallery Twitter for updates...see you at Maybe A Vole or in Amsterdam soon!

Friday, 6 September 2013

3,2,1 & they're gone! 1 day left, 2 days left & 3 days left, catch these while you can!

I have planned your schedule, so relax sit back & read the instructions below for a perfect photographic trio to tantalise your eyeballs over the next 3 days!


L A Noble Gallery : 'Summer Salon'

Venue: Maybe A Vole, 51King Henry's Walk, London, N1 4NH

So my dear readers, it's your last chance to see the amazing 'Summer Salon' at L A Noble Gallery, featuring 31 photographic works for your enjoyment!

Here is one of the very talented artists Kate Owens whose new works are exquisite & all unique. Her detailed drawings on each image are so delicate it takes time to distinguish the printed ink from the applied ink. Measuring 25cm square each framed they are the smallest works in the show - great things come in small packages! 

Here discussing Chris's work...pre-hang.From left to right, the inimitable Robert D. Phillips, with the fabulous Chris Steele Perkins & mighty Robert Clayton

Here is a much better picture of Robert Clayton with his work from the 'Lion Farm Estate' series. Watch this space for more about the series in forthcoming posts...

It is such a pleasure to walk into this space, I shall miss the show as I do every one I curate. 

From left to right works by Kate Owens, Philipp Wülfing, Chris Steele Perkins, Anne Leigniel & Herb Schmitz

This stunning image by Philipp Wülfing is from his extraordinary series, 'Alzheimer's' in which he recreated still life's of things which his late mother did during the latter stages of the illness which we still have no cure. In this case when a gift of roses was received she wrapped some so that they 'would not get broken'. This touching surreal scene reveals much about the confusion of the illness as it does his own tender memories of his mother. See the rest of the series here

From left to right: Helén Petersen: Truly stunning work which when you realise that she hand prints these silver gelatin wonders. This large work took a full day in her darkroom & well worth it! 

Colin Coutts' 'Disruptus Digitalis' series literally display the stolen, chewed gloves that have been deposited back into his garden by pesky foxes - literally foxgloves! Printed on metallic paper the images refract the light back at you in the darkness as a foxes eyes do when glinting in the night. 

Robert Clayton's intimate still life complete with sugar bowl & radio are just as he found them in a resident of Harry Price House proudly welcomed her kitchen to be photographed boasting all its original 1962 fittings. I think we call that retro or vintage now, but even then it was beautiful & still as appealing to admire today.  
Brittain Bright's, 'Spirit Collection' works are hauntingly beautiful - with a different kind of floral theme - this time suspended in glass jars at Kew's herbarium. 

Herb Schmitz's 'Cracked Doll' has drawn much attention with his attention to detail, even using David Bowies makeup artist to create the crack that runs across her porcelain white skin. This is pre-Photoshop stuff, fantastic! 

Then Yvonne De Rosa's intimate 'Wish List' works are magical. Dragonflies mate forming a heart shape with their bodies, truly a once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Here we have the colourful (love her coat) Anne Leigniel with 2 works from her 'Artist's Rags' series. I am so thrilled that one of my own rags has recently been photographed by her. I feel another blog post coming....

So what are you waiting for, come to latest L A Noble Gallery venue Maybe A Vole & see it Saturday 7th Sept!!


Sunday's photo fix:

Venue: The Wapping Project Bankside 65a Hopton Street, London SE1 9LR

The prize also raises money for younger women with Breast Cancer, so show your support & visit this on Sunday.

Here are some pics from last night's awards...

Lovely friend & fellow blogger Miranda Gavin wore the best hat of the night, full of summer sunshine. 

The very glamorous (& tall) Penny Lancaster, (a photographer & model) speaks to the crowd.

Miranda & Chis converse...

 The very hot (heat hot - it was boiling) crowd listen...

My glamorous assistant's - well current & past assistants - Katherine Leedale who will be coming with me to the Unseen Photo Fair  (more about it in later posts) & Gabrielle Brooks who now works at Genesis & writes their blog will also be attending the fair. 

Here is just a tiny selection of images from the exhibit which I was reviewing portfolio's at today & was happy to attend the awards last night. A great show with a lot to see at The Wapping Project Bankside, just a few minutes walk from Southwalk tube, so why not drop by? I'm sure it is not the last you will see of these photographers whose works are printed by the wonderful guys at Genesis Imaging

 ©Mirjina Vrbaski, ©Kate Peters

 ©Jackson Patterson, ©Lorenzo Vitturi

 ©Bryan Schutmaat, ©Hanna Putz

©Arnis Balcus, ©Kate Peters

'MAPS' Venue:
Ambika P3 Gallery, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS

On my way home from ‘MAPS’ (MA in Photography Studies) at Ambika P3 the University Of Westminster I felt compelled to write down my immediate impressions, so after my scrawls on the tube my intern Ben managed to decipher my notes so I thank him for that.

Due to my blog-pride I have added much more - as 20 minutes was not enough time to go into any sort of detail…….

Here are a few notables to whet your appetite...

 Peer close ..
Johanna Ward's display

I was enchanted from the outset by Johanna's images & even more so - when after attending a salon at the gallery - she gave me a sneak peek at her stunning boxed set of books that she had collected from the Wyvern bindery earlier that day. The hand made concertina pages stretched across the floating shelves are riveting viewing.

The series 'I shall say goodbye with my strengthening love for you, forever and ever' depict numerous images which dance gracefully across the paper unfolding a story of love & loss thereof (in this case her parents love, marriage & divorce) connect with the bigger picture, namely the planet. She successfully manages to entwine the concepts of decay & damage both literally & metaphorically. If someone told me that I would fall in love with 2 photographs of a skinned deer I would have laughed. But I do! I love this work, what can else can I say? I won't say any more (just yet), you just have to go & see it for yourselves...

Her work reminds me of one of the principles of the Tao De Ching (or Laozi) that we must yield to overcome - namely water will wear away the largest rock over time. The gentle line that passes from one print to the next display great restraint - a rare thing these days.

Her reactions to London perceive the claustrophobic nature of the city with a psycho-geographical twist in black & white.

Beatriz Perez with her work
Perez shows "a circularity where women are ‘sold back’ to themselves" in glossy red, like the magazine pages which entice us to believe the unrealistic hype which surrounds the female form in the media. Her critique through female body parts seduce & scare in equal measure. 

So there is your weekend & an art skive Monday planned, now go forth & enjoy! If you can't skive do more than one a day! Voila, now you have no excuse...