Tuesday, 21 October 2014

As Autumn approaches: Support & spend!

©Deborah Baker Acerasterus
Series: In Paradiso 
(Her works are on display at the William Morris Gallery till 2 Nov)

As Autumn sets in I susceptible to being in a ponderous mood as everything around me changes, the temperature dips, the nights draw in and the colour on the trees fade to warmer tones of red, orange & brown. This reflective time makes me appreciate the summer but also look forward to cosy nights in, interspersed with many nights out as openings, art fairs and exhibitions spring up all over London and beyond. One thing always occurs to me, how do I fit all this in? Answer, you don't! 

See what is interesting to you & you can't go far wrong. Thinking about Christmas & all those possible purchases, why not take time to support your fellow creatives by buying their work or supporting their fundraising campaign? 

Emily Allchurch (right) with Manchester Art Gallery curator Natasha Howes 
See the project & fundraising campaign here

I hear photographers woes mostly, but it applies to all disciplines - they need more support and yet they never expect to reciprocate when they get it themselves? Why is this? Are we all just selfish? Have we given in to the prevailing 'look after #1' attitude? I would like to think that the creative world is better than that. Why preach about art without supporting it with action yourself? 

The usual excuses comprise of:

#1 "I have no money."
(We never do, but there is always enough for a pint or a glass of vino for a fiver down the pub, ahem...) 

Just think that £5 could support a campaign to fund a commission by a great artist for the greater British public and anyone who visits or see's the work on tour.

Series: Scents of Caramels
Gelatin silver print - hand printed by artist

#2 "Nobody ever supports me."
(Wonder why? Don't give to receive & you might be surprised with the results - the most generous people are generous with their time as well as their money & always pay it forward...)

#3"There's so much out there I can't choose."
(Try! Is there an artist you have admired, always wanted a work by but couldn't afford - fundraising usually offers rewards of work in Limited editions much cheaper than a large work - perfect)

Why battle this when it could be so much easier...

So back to Christmas shopping

Yes I know it's October, but there is a reason to think about this early. Most artwork is made to order, so it doesn't happen overnight. With photography even if the print is already done it may need signing, possibly framing, mounting, authenticating with a certificate, delivering between printers & framers then onto the client… So 3 - 4 weeks isn't that long to wait with all things considered. Also most framers don't work weekends, may have a ton of jobs on with all the art fairs at present & winter shows coming…so GET IN EARLY!

Passiflora - Plate 85
The cost of a work can be paid for in more than one instalment usually, then goods received when paid for in full. Remember, you can buy a vintage 1932 Karl Blossfeldt photogravure for as little as £90 or a contemporary photogravure from £350 by Hendrik Faure. For £500 a stunning Deborah Baker print (small size) or large for £1000 on aluminium - reverse perspex mounted! See them on display at the William Morris Gallery till 2 Nov. I could go on…

Laura's bird
For the price of a jacket & a pair of jeans you could own a real limited edition (by this I mean less than 20 in an edition - truly limited) which (if cared for properly) will last a lifetime not just till the seams wear out or it goes out of fashion. You can share this with your friends, family and beyond through all the channels out there - also with fellow collectors. 

Series: Lion Farm Estate

Why not band together & share a work. I know people who share the costs of larger works with friends & rotate the collection each having a work or number of works for 6 months then swopping over. As the collection grows they start to buy their own as well. This encourages others, everyone benefits! Before you ask - they drew up a straightforward legally binding contract so that no-one can sell unless prior agreement is made by all concerned & insurance is covered by everyone too. 

Series: Hidden Identities: Unfinished 

If this sounds too complex why not just start with one work, pay bit by bit (that is how I bought my first limited edition print - Edition of 3 in the smaller size) A print of the same photograph in the large size is part of the National Media Museum's collection, I'm pleased to say. (I found this out long after my purchase) It's the journey, not just the destination. 
Your instincts. But also enjoy it. You could deliberate forever & regret it. Buying emerging talent now and getting in early before prices rise makes sense. If a new series comes out by an artist you love dive in quick. Artists like the wonderful Lottie Davies have a new series Quinn which is still ongoing, but with her track record assures us that it well worth investing in. Her work recently made a splash at a Christies auction, selling for much more than anticipated. Buy now before the price becomes unattainable. Her Viola As Twins for example, is now available only as an AP so don't miss out! The AP is the most treasured therefore priced accordingly. This means that no more are available afterwards…

Series: I shall say goodbye with my strengthening love for you, forever and ever

Saving money:
Buying several works as prints only, then having them all framed at once can cut out multiple delivery costs. See if the framer can do a good price for more frames, they usually will. Framing them all at the same time can also mean that you also have the option to match them up to fit in a room together. The money you save can go on buying more works instead! 

Remember if you buy two or more works from one artist you can often get a discount. The more you buy the better it gets usually as printing/framing costs can come down with multiples.   

Images from her Adolphe Valette research

Be Part of something:
Adding your name to a project will show solidarity but also should fill you with pride to be part of something great. Spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram etc…and as the project is completed be happy to be part of its success. Remember, if you later have a project of your own to fund you already have grateful people on side to be part of the journey again. It never gets old. 


Positive + action = good vibes/cosy feelings
Don't tell people how artistic you are without getting creative with your support. Wingeing never got anyone anywhere. People like to be around a good women & men that are positive & upbeat. That enthusiasm always bolsters support & camaraderie. Keep moaning & friends soon begin to avoid you. We all know life is tough, so lean on each other without squashing your/their drive to do better. 

Ok. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill.

Put your money where your mouth is:
Swop one evening meal for a donation - have beans on a baked spud instead - go on just for one night! 
Hold back the wine/beer for one night for a cosy night & some cocoa.
Think of a person who would love something truly exclusive & limited who you would love to treat!

Make your enquiries now while it is on your mind & make the it the best end to the year ever!

Series: Somerset Stories Five Penny Dreams

Enquiries for L A Noble Gallery: hello@lauraannnoble.com

See all of the L A Noble Gallery artists here.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Personal reflections on William Morris & 'In Paradiso' by Deborah Baker

Book cover of new publication In Paradiso by Deborah Baker
Available for the special price of £30 during the exhibition (£40 thereafter)

The first time I became aware of William Morris was a little pack of gift cards I received as a present as a teenager. They were a selection of his patterns, repetitive, natural & somewhat old fashioned to me at the time. His work takes maturity to appreciate, I know that now. The cards were useful as thank you's for gifts at birthdays & Christmas, but that was as far as my thoughts went back then. Without any contact with his work (I was living in my hometown of Manchester at the time) it was of no importance to me. 

The Morris Room at the V&A 

Then I was to encounter him again years later walking into the Morris Room at the V&A & falling in love with it at first sight. The pressure to live in minimal surroundings, free from clutter or homely touches rarely transfers to reality. This room - & subsequently his furniture, politics & associates in the arts -  made me think of alternatives to the crisp white walls & trendy furniture we are supposed to be striving to live amongst. 

Presenting ourselves online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & all the rest of the social media options as having amazingly happy lives where we are always out with friends enjoying ourselves, in glamorous locations with fancy food & drink is a facade, a perpetual press release to the world.  

Why not allow for alternatives, to be somewhere where patterns with all the tangled aesthetic complexity of Morris can be quietly studied, reflected upon & absorbed. The profundity of a visual a statement is often found when the image does not reveal itself all at once. Powerful images rarely deliver in seconds, sometimes they can take a lifetime to appreciate as we mature & find more within them, as our own experiences in the world grow so does our eye for meaning. Morris' work remains timeless & popular as ever for the simple reason that it is carefully studied, using the already profound certainties of the natural world as inspiration to weave layers of humanity into each design. (See the selection still available here)

I have fond have memories of patterned wallpaper or frilly doilies on furniture, tiny ornaments grouped on windowsills or in dark wood cabinets. In them lie homely comforting memories of places where care was taken to surround themselves with pleasing things for themselves, not to show off to others (as the monetary value of such things weren't high) but to enjoy & treasure. 

In this age of post-modernism where do we go? Conceptual art can often lack aesthetic & decorative art vice versa. Finding the balance of meaning, emotion, passion & avoiding pretension is the battlefield we cross when we enter into the domain of the arts. But when we find it, oh what joy there is to be had. 

I found this in Deborah Baker's work - currently on display at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow - her raw emotions are transformed into poetic visual feasts of nature. 

©Deborah Baker Betulanimbusi
Courtesy of L A Noble Gallery

When embarking on the creation of her garden it seemed futile to just record each stage as the plants were continually growing & changing, the seasons transforming their appearance in perpetuity. With this in mind her response as an artist was to depict this growth by making the plants 'breathe' through the fracturing & movement infused into her aesthetic. The leaves in Betulanimbusi seem to burst out from the land skyward, exuberant & free. 

©Yayoi Kusama “Leaves”-1954

There is an obsessiveness, repetition of forms, spectral wonderment in a  fractured assemblage of photographic imagery which operates on many levels, just as a painting does, layering each shape amid the planes of colour built up in intricate detail. Well known doyen of the art world Yayoi Kusama's explorations of the natural world dance amongst the vibrant colours of her palette in her early work pictured above. Her compulsive style of working is in itself a therapy to Kusama. The therapeutic effect of both Baker & Kusama's work extends to the audience that views it. (If you have chance to watch the documentary on her do, it may surprise you a lot)

Whenever people come into a room with Baker's pictures they always become quiet, reflective & calm. In breaking down natural elements without completely removing the recognisable plants within her work, Baker doesn't merely record, she recreates the feelings of being in a garden, with all senses alert to receive the visual dance of the living with a reverence of the past.

©Deborah Baker Pruneucalus

I am the happy owner of one of her works, which fills the long gap in the view from my bedroom window of the cherry blossom that comes & goes so fleetingly each spring. 

©Laura Noble Cherry Blossom April 2013
All rights reserved 

The movement in her work through the multiple layers of light, dark, form take you into the picture & beyond its physical borders to a psychological space somewhere between waking & dreaming. When I look at Pruneucalus I am sometimes filled with lightness of being, sometimes it understands my dark self too. 

It is this dichotomy that renders her works longevity.They are not just pictures of plants, trees & flowers, they are filled with the fears, hopes & dreams of life where words fail to express. 

In Paradiso Folded cards in 3 designs also available 

In Paradiso will be on display from 3 September - 2 November 2014 (click for all info)

To accompany the exhibition the Limited Edition book In Paradiso (500 copies), including essays by Laura Noble and Nancy Ann Roth will be available to purchase for the special price of £30 for the duration of the exhibition, (RRP £40). Deborah will be signing copies of her book on 3 October.
Wear a work of art

3 crepe de chine scarves of immense beauty & delicacy are also on offer, each in an edition of 50 only, they measure 100 x 150cm & hang like a kimono when worn loosely around the shoulders.  £240 each

In Paradiso book:  Deluxe Limited Edition of 10:

Available to buy within a slipcase complete with a print of Raouliexigu, priced at £200 each

In Paradiso will be on display from 3 September - 2 November 2014

Transport: Walthamstow Central (Victoria line and national rail) or Wood Street (national rail)
Please note that there is limited pay and display parking available on site

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Love London Life!

On the left just past White Cube before the church.

Ring the bell, we are on the 1st floor.

The view from above

The view inside

Now approaching its last week, the ‘London Life CompetitionExhibition’ at L A Noble Gallery in collaboration with Art Bermondsey I thought I would share with you some of my observations, weird coincidences & visitors comments. It has been a breeze for some, a learning curve for others but I hope, ultimately a great experience for all the finalists.  
The Private View, announcing the winners

Opening night was a lively affair as always, with many of the finalists in attendance.

1st Prize - Carlotta Cardana

The winner Carlotta Cardana is now an L A Noble Gallery artist see her wonderful work here. (There are 2 projects including her latest series, more about that in another post) She is currently showing her 'Modern Couples' at the Noorderlicht Festival as well, busy times for a worthy winner!

The series pictures Mod couples in their chosen locations. By asking them to choose each couple is clearly comfortable therefore the resulting photographs reveal much more than a studio sitting. 

2nd place winner: Sheryl Tait 

During the evening we discovered the most wonderful coincidence - 2 photographers had both discovered their imagery in the same place. 

This extraordinary fact came to light when David O' Mara pointed to the buildings in James Reid's picture & said that is where he found the negatives he printed from. London really is a small place after all! 

These 2 approaches reflect the diversity of this city in one place, a council estate in Elephant & Castle that was once the largest in Europe (now gone) full of many souls all living their lives in many different ways… 

© David O'Mara  
Heygate Palimpset 2 / 2012

O' Mara's salvaging of negatives & printing them despite their dilapidated state , then presenting them in frames worthy of any great image elevates them to be appreciated by a new audience in a new way treats the snapshots taken of & by  an unknown family with respect. In one image the edges of the frame have worn away to create a portal of an image which beautifully resembles a silhouette of a woman in profile - in the aperture a woman in a pink headpiece reinforces the suggestion made by the shape. Another wonderful coincidence…?

3rd Prize winner: Alison J Carr

The difference in experiencing the work in the flesh is further emphasised with Alison J Carr's work. Her recreations of dancers on cigarette cards from the 1930's really transform the origins of the objects which inspired her to a whole new level. 
The back of the card duplicated exactly & the same size as the original
to offer the context & physicality of the initial object to the work.
We are treated to the attributes & talents of the dancer that 
was pictured on the other side of the original card, 
as well as a great additional caption. 

As the originals were black & white so are Carr's (hand-printed silver gelatin in fact). However to give them some colour she has framed the works in the dominant colour of each costume she wears in the picture. The more home-made nature of the costumes makes for a more authentic picture of the period.

©Walter Rothwell
Walter Rothwell's silver gelatin prints have to be seen in person to see the perfect 
example of quality printing with all its deep blacks & variety of tones. 

Rothwell's work has a wonderful duality, you look twice & see the humour & irony after the contents of the images' reality sinks in. The limo is so glossy that it is only upon closer inspection that you realise that it is rusting & abandoned. By using the cinematic proportions & cropping out the rest of the street the windows act like frames on celluloid & the context reveals itself slowly. This is the place where the artist sets the tone & narrative through composition. 

©Walter Rothwell

In another of his images Kate Bush's old house once owned by a man who was done for multi-million pound fraud (see here for details) depicts the fading hopes & grandeur of the aspirational dream of fame & fortune & acts as a warning to us all. Wuthering Heights indeed! 

©Louis Savage  Der Spiegel  2013
To further prove that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, Louis Savage's work takes us into familiar territory with pleasing results. The geometry of the tiles interrupted by the black outline of the woman walking through the tunnel makes me wonder if she uses the domed mirror to check if anyone is coming the other way or if she just uses it to check her appearance each day… Capturing these tiny moments is what photography does so well. Why not come & see for yourself?

Here are some more of the finalists with their work:

Stuey Burnett looking sharp with his work.

Emma Mapp as colourful as her photo

Pat Doyle happy angles!

Finally, a big thanks to all my amazing staff, Kelly here on the left & 
Co-Curator Chloe Rosser on the right wields the drill.

Lovely coffee nearby, don't be put off by the name! 

See www.lauraannnoble.com for info.  

The exhibition runs till 4pm Friday August 29th.

Portfolio reviews can be booked for next week, last review at 2pm Friday, to see more info read here

Art Bermondsey
183-185 Bermondsey Street, First Floor, London, SE1 3UW
Visiting information:
Tube: London Bridge
Buses: 42, 78, 100, 1 and C10 (direct to Bermonsey Square) or all buses to London Bridge.  

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Part 2: Arles 2014

Linda looks

I'm sure by now dear readers that you have heard about the infamous show -  Martin Parr & Wassinklundgren: The Chinese Photobook. The space consisted of many floors all lit by red lights in the corridors & dark rooms that with the use of a light (given to you on the top floor upon entering) you could view the work. The concept became a bit tiresome after the first few rooms as the exhibit was text heavy, with a LOT of material to view. Using the lights made it difficult at times as many of the books were in glass cases so the reflection made reading hard work. 

The bathroom looked great!

By the end I was wafting through the rooms sadly not giving them my full attention as I was frustrated by the presentation. I think a more considered approach would have been to just light the corridors & stairs in red to infer the connection to China & leave the lights on elsewhere so that you would perhaps visit more than once or at least spend a few hours pouring over it. 

 Lovely red corridors & stairs - a bit like being in a Dario Argento movie

Pop Photographica: Images & Objects Daile Kaplan was another great show with much promise. I'm not sure how the red lights benefitted the display? I would love to hear the reasoning behind this. 

I have a necklace like this myself. 

Really fascinating objects on display were hard to see as the colour was obscured by the red lights. The smaller more intimate objects really suffered under the lights, especially with works like this under glass.  

Speaking of suffering - Brazil V Germany ahem..

La guerre des grosses*
Léon Gimpel, 1915
*Kids at war

La guerre des grosses, was a great show, tucked at the back of the Raymond Depardon exhibit. These amazing images of children playing 'war' whilst their mothers worked & their fathers were at war really strike a chord about the origins of human behaviour from childhood to adulthood. These charming images (often hand-coloured) show the inventiveness of the collaboration - I say collaboration as the costumes, props & poses are perfectly staged & elaborate in some cases. 
©Léon Gimpel

I fell in love with the aeroplane. Combining the play with the certainty of the real horrors of war out of sight & the children whom themselves would probably be fighting in the Second World War sent a shiver down my spine. The death of innocence is as inevitable as it is necessary. 

©Vik Muniz 

Then there were the evening events at Théâtre Antique - the highlight for me being Vik Muniz's witty (long but witty) talk about his work. His current collaboration with Marcelo Coelho drawing sandcastles on grains of sand, photographing them then blowing them up to huge proportions were extraordinary. 

©Vic Muniz installation 

I actually think I enjoyed his stories about how he came to his current practice more than the work displayed in Arles. The images made of thousands of photographs collaged were underwhelming in the flesh as they were re-photographed then blown up. The lack of texture that would be on the originals as 'objects' rely on the scale to wow. I would have loved to see the originals to compare & see the intricacy in the flesh. Of course the large scale allows for each individual photo within the photo to be seen, but I couldn't help but feel short changed somehow when I got up close to them. 

The variety of ways he has made drawings to photograph over the years was riveting. I think a retrospective collating all his work together would be an incredible thing. His talk was chronological & I loved seeing his early work - Pictures of Wire - most of all. 

©Will Steacy Installation shot in Arles exhibit

Will Steacy's Deadline series documented over a 5 year period the decline of the newsroom & printing plant of The Philadelphia Inquirer. This work documents the place as it was cutting down its staff & the offices being stripped. I would have loved to have seen the empty advertising boards on the wall with Steacy's pictures inside to give weight to the installation. I felt it was a book on the wall. The images themselves compositionally were not as stimulating as the story behind them. A bit more creativity in the display or even the work presented in newsprint may have worked better perhaps…I can't imagine having any of these on my walls at home. 

©Hans van der Meer

Another work I felt the same way about was Hans van der Meer's The Netherlands Off the Shelf - the concept fantastic, catalogues of street furniture used throughout the country in towns are unsettling realities, but pictures I would want to look at for any length of time, probably not. I don't think they needed to be so large. A mass of images or better still a catalogue layout would have kept my attention for much longer. 

Speaking of street furniture - this novel way to reserve a space 
would never work in London, they would be stolen in minutes! 

©Mitch Epstein 
This is the ultimate way to blend in, 
match your clothes to the art!

The Prix Pictet show A Retrospective was beautifully simple & elegant with curved walls, each artist with their own space. 

 ©Chema Madoz 

Then the show I had been waiting for, Chema Madoz. You may have noticed my dear readers that his name has come up many, many times in the past. The reason; he is a class act with imagination, wit & talent in spades. A true surrealist without the diva of Dali. His restrained work doesn't need to be showy it just is. Quietly & cleverly entering your psyche as you begging to realise what each image is. I could wax lyrical for hours but you must just go out, buy a book, go to an exhibition  & see for yourselves, no  I insist! 

My only regret was that I  wish there had been some air conditioning in the video area - I was the only person with a fan - as everyone was melting whilst watching the documentary about his work & practice. I hope to watch it again in more comfort sometime. 

Whilst I'm on things I love, here is the best meal I had all week, 3 courses of wonder at the Hotel Julius Ceasar, yum. Pretty as a picture. 

You guessed the dessert was my absolute fave!

Happy to see the moose in the fountain, it wasn't there 
the day I arrived, got worried for a moment there...

Then there were the interesting large scale models of Frank Gehry architecture in the Solaris Chronicles. I am not sure how the 6 month show will transform as artists have been invited to collaborate over the course of the show or indeed what this had to do with photography, but I liked it all the same.

The models are on movable tables, which were being moved around the space as I entered the building. 

Great to peek inside. This form of model making is not seen as much with laser cutting techniques used more & more & 3D modelling software. 

Nice reminder of being a kid though playing with a garage set - I'm a sucker for miniature buildings.

Then there were the shows not in the program, which due to time constraints on my part I wish I had had more time to view. One well worth a mention in a great space was a show by the MYOP agency with 18 photographers showing in a building they had inhabited for the festival from the 7th - 13th July. I would love to say more but the paper was all in french & like the Sophie Calle show a while back only having one language does alienate a vast majority of the audience. Wish I had seen this blog beforehand & made time to attend some of the events. A week is never enough!

Great use of the spaces in MYOP in Arles show

A peek into the Forum square

Then the icing on the cake, the last big presentation at the Théâtre Antique - a cake for Clergue for his 80th Birthday, with a big count-up to 80 by the audience & singing Happy Anniversaire before the jazz band made an entrance. 

The evening was long with an overwhelming absence of female photographers again, I think the first image we got to see was fleeting by Tina Barney & then at 12.15am (the screening started around 10pm) Nan Goldin was shown.  Groan….again! 

Round table. The image of women in photography has long been associated with their status as academic models or objects of desire. Has that changed since the year 2000? Has the rising number of female photographers had an impact on those images? Have they gone from being passive objects of the gaze to subjects of their own representations? With Lucien Clergue, Claudia Huidobro and Katerina Jebb, artists, Safia Belmenouar, exhibition curator, and Chritine Ollier, director of Les Filles du Calvaire gallery, Paris, and Wally Bourdet, Lucien Clergue’s model for a long time. Led by Brigitte Hernandez, editor-in-chief of the special edition Grand angle, Le Point.

This I attended (Sat 4.30 scheduled at an 'apt' time in line with the rest of the festival) & left disappointed as there was nothing close to a debate. It seemed an opportunity for the artists to talk about their work, not about the issue. None of the questions mentioned above were addressed to any degree. Shame. 

I look forward to the new Arles next year…