Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Richard Taylor
A blog by the Degrees unedited online editor to focus on and spotlight student artists work that deals with photography, either as an approach, a methodology, a tool or indeed an end result. This is a cross-blog with the World Photography Organisation site.
# 5 [6 September 2011]
Sally Jubb was raised in Edinburgh where she studied and is currently based. Portraiture is her main interest alongside editorial and fashion photography. She is fascinated by sub-cultures and uses images to explore communities or individuals that are often misunderstood or overlooked. Brought up by an American mother, the photographer's curiosity about her own heritage is a source of inspiration for the empathetic series 'Once Upon a Time in the West'.
'Once Upon a Time in the West' explores the hyper-reality of a sub-culture of cowboys from Glasgow, Scotland who are obsessed with Hollywood's interpretation of the mythical American West. They indulge their imagination with carefree enthusiasm, their constructed identity permitting them the opportunity to escape the mundanity and troubles of the everyday. The individuals photographed seek to capture the spirit of the West through memorabilia and costume, emulating a lifestyle that has been of interest to them since childhood. These images are evidence that the dream can liberate us from the conventional without undermining reality.
# 4 [16 August 2011]
Tim Ridley, a recent graduate from Chelsea College of Art and Design, uses photography as a springboard in to new work. Exploring the realm of difference and the carnivalesque Ridley applies the photographic medium to tactically extract ways of approaching and documenting his working process.
“In contemporary society we encounter difference on a daily basis. Some of these differences are real and some are constructed. They affect a large part of our lives, the decisions we make and the way we live. My practice examines the energy that these differences produce, experimenting with the electricity that their potential difference supplies. I use performance, photography, collage and assemblage to create a dialogue between differences, both found and imagined. I try to include myself in the piece and place my practice in the public domain via the Internet or through performing in public spaces. Seepage of contemporary art into the ‘real’ world is part of the crossing of boundaries that difference produces. Comedians have long since discovered the power of difference and humour is a powerful trope for me. Bakhtin’s analysis of carnivalesque laughter is of interest, the way laughter has been reduced from abundance to a narrow ironic or sarcastic status. Using metaphor I aim to explore difference in a positive, non-didactic way diversifying into different mediums, crossing the boundaries between theatre and art, public space and gallery spaces.
'Carnival logic (the logic of ambivalence) is not restricted to the limitation of binary oppositions which set limits, but is equivalent of the power of continuum (positive and negative)'
John Lechte on Bakhtin, 50 contemporary thinkers.
I often use photography as a springboard for new work; an index of a found situation (see ʻdead foxʼ and ʻplums and palletʼ) or it can be simply, along with a video, a record of a performance as in the case of Derrida v Jordan and Cartrouble. The former can be a complex encounter with a visually challenging situation, a conjoining of the natural and the artificial, the new and the old, alive and dead. Often there is no way to adequately describe the relationship that exists between the two elements encountered at the same time in the same place. In this case the image is the end product and becomes what perhaps could be called the finished piece, but I struggle to feel that anything is ever finished, more likely it is a mode within a larger investigation. The complex worlds depicted in the photography of Lee Freidlander have had an influence on my work, all found situations cropped by his 35mm frame and rendered in black and white.
# 3 [17 June 2011]
An exploration of form and symmetry within the dialogue between found objects is the working practice of artist Stephanie Richardson. The photographic image in particular becomes a direct conference between existing and newfound imagery:
“My practice is framed by the engineering of curious or uneasy new evolutions of beings and events through simple interventions and incisions into found imagery, in which the indexical root becomes disfigured and stained with blemishes.
Fragments of annexed vintage photographs are isolated, mirrored or erased entirely in order to compose a series of despoiled tableaux. In recent works I have instigated a formal bleeding of the photographic texture of young girls, one into the other, in order to construct symmetrical and symbiotic patterns. I then use monochromatic acrylics to mottle the image, adding delicate hand-painted veining and employing lo-fi printing and folding processes, which function to dissolve the integrity of the original photograph.”
Richardson has just graduated from her BA in Painting at Edinburgh College of Art. She lives and works in Edinburgh.
# 2 [13 June 2011]
Sarah Francis is studying her MFA in Fine Art at the University of Leeds. She uses photography to record sculptural happenings and approach elements of performance in her work:
Working within the medium of performance photography my art practice observes the idea of reality and representation; I am fascinated with the uncanny duality that photography brings as a medium and how the spectator integrates with the surface of the image. Show casing the photograph as not only an aesthetic object but also an object in itself translates a new world with the interaction of concepts, narrative and meaning.
All my work is set in a small village in North Wales where by I reinterpret the facts and fictions of my past, and explore the area around me. At first glance the images holds the sense of reality that photography demands as a medium although on closer inspection the secrets the images contain start to unfold, the reality within becomes confusing but playful. This often creates an anxious tension between the presence of representation and the absence of realism to create a clear state to envisage a new world.
Gathering and relocating particular events or reminiscence that were once lost, forgotten or left behind I rearrange and weave them together with traces of dreams, the spoken words of stories and re-evaluate to create my own landscapes for my own ideas to exist in. When people ask me why not just performance, or just sculpture I always response by saying: photography is important for my work, I like to control the gaze and capture a moment that is important to me.
# 1 [13 June 2011]
This blog is being used to spotlight student artists of all levels who deal with the photographic medium in their work, either in a broader or more direct sense. The idea is to promote and widen the acknowledgement of photography as a Fine Art practice. Many artists are using the idea itself as driving force for a conceptual approach to an interdisciplinary practice: documentation plays a large part within such methodologies and now photography is more 'useable' than ever, with camera phones and pocket sized compact digital cameras - it is more and more relevant to question what photography is.
Here we will be cross-referencing artist profiles with another blog on the World Photography Organisation website.
Two exposures if you will of a different artist's approach to photography up to twice every month.
Want to get involved Find out more »
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Richard is an artist/writer living in Edinburgh and online editor on behalf of a-n The Artists Information Company, for the Degrees unedited and Students community sites.