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 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.  

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