Post Albion…

..time passes, listen, time passes… and so it does, just as Dylan Thomas said. Can a month go by that quickly? Have I really just spent the weekend taking the exhibition down and already planning the next one?

The paintings have gone into their sheets like Ms Havishams dining room and the photographs languish in their bubble wrap.

The Girl in the Cafe, Stoke Newington, London - Philippa Gedge

The Girl in the Cafe, Stoke Newington, London - Philippa Gedge

Among the sales Phillipa Gedge stormed the show and sold 4 of her ‘Girl in the Café’ which was taken in Shoreditch, as did DIXSY our resident polemicist selling 2 ‘Sucking Bankers’, a brilliant play on words.

Sucking Bankers - Ian Dicks

Sucking Bankers - Ian Dicks

It’s no surprise Jess Douglas’ London Pub sold too considering the extraordinary coincidence that the illustration is of the pub across the road from the Tramshed!

London Pub - Jess Douglas

London Pub - Jess Douglas

Maybe it’s too simplistic to say the work that most of the work that sold was quite referential to London or had an urban, gritty vibe. It was a surprise to us that few landscapes sold. Having said that we have experienced a spike in interest in the website as a whole and have taken orders for artwork from the site, which is half the aim with these events, show the general public what the ‘product’ of printing photography on aluminium is and persuade them to buy artwork online as well as at the physical exhibitions, with Michelle having a commission request for her cameras through the commissions page on the Gallery site. I have found that people need time to digest and think about what they want and come back a little while later.

We are waiting for payment and collection of artwork and possible leads with commercial interest and will process the commissions as soon as we have collated all the information and printed and sent out orders to clients.

In the meantime I’ve spent a couple of days in Bristol with some friends and curators with a view to holding the ALBION exhibition in May, it’s a short lead time for an exhibition but I will try my best to make it happen. So hold onto those  unsold pieces and I’ll be in touch soon!

Chelsea

Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present.

I had been hoping to see the National Gallery’s exhibition exploring how the relationship between and the influence ‘high art’ has had and continues to have upon photography and was lucky to catch it on tour. The basic premise for the show was not simply to hold images up against each other and see their relative merits but to explore and argue that ‘…historical art was an engine for early photographic innovation, and that both these precedents inspire present day photography’.

It was with some trepidation that my belief that photography is not the poor relation to painting would be proved wrong. That not only the highly overworked, large or medium format prints on a gargantuan scale, staged, theatrical images, but the intimate portraits and still life tableaux could express and resonate just as a painting can. Does photography just record the world around us in a literal way? Would the images stand scrutiny, for example, one next to the other as in Ingres’ masterpiece The Small Bather, 1828, Oil on Canvas next to Richard Learoyd, Man with Octopus Tattoo II, 2011 as seen juxtaposed (sorry!) in the publicity.

I feel strongly about photography standing shoulder to shoulder to painting; the time, thought, content and execution can create something equally as beautiful. It is true it was once considered a pale imitation of what a painting could convey, but that was 180 years ago! Even then, photography as it developed using differing techniques (that now sounds so romantic; fine layers of mercury-silver particles on the polished surface of a silver-plated copper sheet) could be the beginnings of one of my paintings!

I went in with one question in mind: Can photography convey emotion and beauty and thereby transcend and transport you as a painting does? Just look at Tom Hunter’s Death of Cotelli, 2009, C-type print and Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus, 1827, Oil on Canvas. In both images you are drawn directly to the tragic ‘heroine’s’ half closed eyes. The image is familiar but whereas I’d probably walk past yet another painting of rape, abuse, theft or murder in an overdose of chaos in a classical gallery setting, the photograph goes straight to the heart of the suffering. Maybe our language and ability to ‘read’ a painting has diminished and that the accessibility of a photograph allows us to strip back the excess off  C19 oil paintings, but for me Hunter’s photograph has greater power. But this begs a question; would he have created this mise en scene without the proceeding art history? I don’t believe Hunter would have, so yes we can assume from this example that masterpieces do influence modern day photography. The important thing is does the photography add to art history? Does it speak volumes tell a narrative? I believe it does. Let me know what you think. I know in my working life, photography informs my work, my work is a collection of ideas, I can’t ignore or deny art history and it’s influence, I reference it constantly. If art history is a continuous line then photography is surely a natural progression of recording and creating imagery.

Was I ‘Seduced by Art’? Yes, always, but I would have called the exhibition ‘how photography came out of the shadow and stepped into the light’.

View “Whats on” at the National Gallery currently.