Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Part I Liberating day out in London
My final exhibition was the Sally Mann exhibition at the Photographers Gallery which is tucked down a little lane behind Oxford Street. Compared to the vacuous scale of the Tate Modern, the Photographers Gallery is 'tres bijou' but very popular. They had three of Mann's projects exhibited of which two I liked and the third of decomposing bodies I could leave. But she, like myself, has three children, and for many years has used them as her subjects. Her print processes are intricate, time-consuming and thoughtful and this in addition to her photography skills differentiates her work. One particular collection of close-ups of her children's faces were nothing short of beautiful.
The only slight disappointment of visiting the galleries (and they are not unique in this) was how characteristically sterile gallery halls are. I know the impact has to be from the images or paintings without any distractions but there is something very formal and reserved about this environment. I imagine this to be contrasting to the spaces the artists themselves are likely to have inhabited to create their work.
Another observation is that photographic exhibitions are at a major disadvantage compared to other forms of art such as modern art, sculpture etc. It is essentially two dimensional, with no texture or tactility to drawn you in. I found a number of pieces at the Tate in the Energy and Process hall that were rich in natural fibres, materials with vibrant colours, which were indulgent in scale, size and depth. This appealed. Photographs are currently two dimensional and many are presented small. But it did make me think if (or if I'm being really positive) when I exhibit some of my work, there are several things I would want to consider: the environment in which my images are exhibited (although I suspect my influence over this would be limited), the scale of the work (I found myself looking for differentiation in terms of size of the image), processes used - silver gelatin prints were by far the most popular, and also whether technology can create three dimensional images (although whether this would enhance or not I'm not sure).
Moving on and to prevent this post scrolling down to the floor I am going to write a second post which discusses more specific observations.