Hockney & Bradford

Research : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

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Figure 1

I took the opportunity to spend some time in a city I had long since visited, Bradford, this week.  From its Centenary Square water feature, fig 1, to the launch of Mat Collishaw’s Thresholds, fig 2, it was a visually stimulating few days.

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Figure 2

I always take the time to visit the galleries and in this instance Cartwright Hall where the diverse range of David Hockney’s work is staged in the city of his birth.  This was a treat as I had not previously seen the array of his media from photographs to sketches to collage to paper mache.

It was, as ever, useful to observe numerous things that are applicable to my own thinking.  One of the man thematic panels was illustrated with text and select images, enabling the related section (Hockey and Fashion) to be contextualised, fig 3.

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Figure 3

Hockney’s “Le Plongeur (Paper Pool 18) 1978. Colored and pressed paper pulp 72 x 171″ caused me to halt and look very closely at the surface and the modular nature of the method used to create this vibrant piece, fig 4.  A technique for a printing background to be tested post-MA.

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Figure 4
Figures 5, 6

His collage technique applied the view of his Mother at Bolton Abbey, 1982 caused me to take a close up of his pumps; the artist appearing in his own work and thus he links himself to his forebear, figs 5, 6.

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Figure 7

The Hockney quote about the city of his birth, fig 7, is applicable to my Pause Project centred on Birmingham; “there is a magic in it if you look closely”

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Figure 8

Finally, the map used to locate Hockney’s work was a powerful panel and underlines my own thinking about using a map.

All images my own using an iPhone.

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Three Good Leads

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Research.

A while ago I popped ‘artists that work in concrete’ into my search engine and began to uncover a series of intriguing but not wholly useful pages.

The serendipity of conversations that include the phrase “I am now working in concrete” has solicited responses from Jesse Alexander, Paul Clements and Argentea Gallery.  The age old technique of talking has reaped some super leads to three artists for three reasons;

Rebecca Fairley 

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figures 1, 2, 3

Fairley teaches and experiments at the Open College of the Arts with fabric and its interface and infusion with concrete in its wet form which cures into beautiful and intriguing results.  See figures 1, 2, 3.  She writes  “What I love about concrete is its form-finding behaviour. The mould materials and the concrete work together to create something exciting. I am never quite sure what the results will be and I find this exhilarating. I learnt that this hardwearing material is actually very sensitive, it picks up the smallest details of a fabrics surface, giving me the opportunity to create fine concrete textures” and approaches it from a gendered view “It struck me then that the concrete was no longer a masculine cold unforgiving material; in my hands it had become tactile, intriguing and feminine. This has led me to believe that there is a language of materials and a dialogue that occurs in the hands of the maker”.

She also cites a group that cast repetitive elements of work at the Tactility Factory  in Belfast –  their output looks quite exquisite; figure 4.

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figure 4

Both these processes and organisations I will be exploring and possibly meeting as my concrete work evolves.  I photographed a linen drawing in the summer and the possibility of reproducing that and moulding it with a concrete substrate has taken a step closer.

Samin Ahmadzadeh

screen-shot-2017-12-10-at-14-56-06.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-10 at 14.56.24Figures 5, 6

I was fortunate to see a solo exhibition by Ahmadzadeh in the Summer 2017 at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham.  She creates interwoven images bonded onto plywood (see figures 5, 6) and, I have discovered, via an email conversation with her, this week, that she coats them with acrylic varnish.  Her work is appropriate to my experimentation as she bonds (in her case) to a substrate (thus bears some similarity to my work) and most importantly protects the vulnerability of unique woven prints from damage and UV light by the use of this varnish.  My initial experimentation with concrete has led to a severe washing out of the imagery which was printed only on thin, standard paper, but nevertheless has drawn out the need for a solution.

Michelle Henning

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figures 7, 8

Having written about Henning’s Tate presentation in my journal, I have been signposted to I have discovered that she has a width of skills in the image world.  Not only is she a long term collaborator with PJ Harvey (see figure 6 for an example of her art work), thus providing an other ‘photographer/wider artist’ example, but she has written a book being published in 2018 “Photography – the Unfettered Image” which argues that this mobility of the image was merely accelerated by digital media and telecommunications. Photographs, from the moment of their invention, set images loose by making them portable, reproducible, projectable, reduced in size and multiplied”. But also as a photographic image maker she has created these ‘through the glass’ images which my work has echoed.

figures 9, 10

And she has explored construction sites, figures 10, 11

figures 11, 12

So, for me, another one to watch.

 

References (all sites visited 10.12.2017)

Rebecca Fairley

All images from : https://www.textileartist.org/rebecca-fairley-oca-textiles-tutor/

https://www.textileartist.org/

Samin Ahmadzadeh

All images from : http://www.samin-ahmadzadeh.com/

Michelle Henning

All images from : http://www.michellehenning.co.uk/

Book: https://www.routledge.com/Photography-The-Unfettered-Image/Henning/p/book/9781138782556

figure 7 Birdshit, Bristol to London (2009)

figure 8 Dirty Sunset, Bristol (2012)

figure 9 Ealing Shop Window from The White Album

figure 10 Closed Shop, Weston-Super-Mare | from The White Album

figures 11, 12 “Construction Work is an ongoing project of photographs of half-completed or abandoned construction sites. It is based around an implied analogy between the work of artistic construction and of building. Appropriating aesthetic devices from late modernism it takes accidental arrangements and reinvents them as staged spaces for action”.

Henning and PJ Harvey work:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/apr/24/pj-harvey-england-shake-interview

https://www.creativereview.co.uk/designing-pj-harveys-hope-six-demolition-project/?mm_5a2d4c7a955b6=5a2d4c7a9565d

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Melancholia and Image Therapy

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 4, Sustainable Prospects.  Research.

Partaking in two symposia in close series has provided me with a moment of review of other artists’ work, all of which held my a theme which I call “Melancholia and Image Therapy”.

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figure 1

During the Tate Cartographies session in 2017, Susan Philipsz extolled her sound art projects. In these, audio, with meaning locked into the locale, is set across landscapes at a city level (Edinburgh) but then across huge tracts of land in Scandinavia.  Perhaps her work at the Kassel Hauptbahnhof, Study for Strings for Documenta 13, in 2012 was the most steeped in a dreadful history.  The contemporary reworking of a piece composed in the Theresienstadt concentration camp which was performed by detainees who were then all killed by the Nazis, with the exception of the conductor.  The reworking, with silences and reduced score, to emulate the death of the participants, was played across the station platforms in 2012 via the PA system, figure 1.  Philipsz visually records all her work via still and moving image which provides a remnant of the perforative work for review but also captures the people witnessing the sounds and their responses.  Philipsz naturally responds to place and its history with her work with deeply researched feel for human history.

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figure 2

A few weeks later at the Grain ‘Responding to Landscape’ symposium in Birmingham, two presentations echoed the human tribulation and the response of making images as a way of dealing with family illness and death.  Matthew Murray has made a series of work on Saddleworth Moor, a place with an etched meaning for anyone in the UK with a sense of twentieth century history.  Murray spent days and nights with his assistant walking up, over, down and around the moors, image making, whilst a member of his family was dealing with tragic illnesses, perhaps as a counterpoint and empathy to that heaviness and sadness.  See one example of his work in figure 2.

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figure 3, 4

Murray was followed by Jem Southam who eloquently expressed his response to a bereavement by walking along rivers and by ponds with his camera and making work about place over and over again, figures 3, 4.  Walking and walking was expressed in his imagery.  His voice cracked as he retold his method as he gently rolled through a series of images.  One could not help but feel the sadness but also the beauty and infused pathos in the making and walking.

It was perhaps not necessary for me to look for wider affirmation that walking and looking through the lens to deal with life’s tough stuff is manifest; these visually powerful examples offer evidence alone and I add to that my own history; yet this piece my Bryce Evans in PsychCentral, about the saving nature of camera-work cites these outcomes “motivation to get outside and connect with nature, provides a shift in perspective (you’re literally looking through a new/different lens, often seeing the world differently), you begin searching for and finding beauty in the world”.

One concludes, making images is a therapeutic activity.

 

References (all accessed 10. 12. 2017)

Tate Symposium http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/conference/urban-encounters-2017-cartographies

Grain Symposium http://grainphotographyhub.co.uk/portfolio-type/responding-to-a-landscape-2/

Evans https://blogs.psychcentral.com/photography/2016/07/the-therapeutic-benefits-of-photography/

 

Image Sources:

Philipsz

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/susan-philipsz-war-damaged-musical-instruments/philipsz-introduction

introductionhttps://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/11/works/

Murray

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=matthew+murray+landscape&rlz=1C5CHFA_enIT709GB710&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjBktjUrv_XAhXDKcAKHSDPDqcQ_AUICigB&biw=1242&bih=620#imgrc=BmEVrLzXUhv8AM:

Southam

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=jem+southam+landscape&rlz=1C5CHFA_enIT709GB710&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjGmpjjrv_XAhVpI8AKHbDZBTAQ_AUICigB&biw=1242&bih=620#imgrc=ZbEcpe6KppEwDM: