Month: February 2014

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Van Gogh’s, Sunflowers. 

The National Gallery, London. 

25/01/14 – 27/04/14 

The Sunflowers.

Hustle and bustle, pushing and shoving, is this absolutely necessary for something we’ve all seen a million times before? For these famously known and immensely reproduced images.

As an avid fan of Van Gogh too see his Sunflower paintings in their almighty glory and for free? I do believe it was worth the tourists filled queues to feast my eyes upon the beauty which surrounds the viewers presence.

For the first time in 65 years two of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings are being shown side by side in the National Gallery for spectators to compare and contrast before their very eyes. Alongside these are accompany scientific research x-ray scans which enables us to see exactly how Van Gogh painted them. Giving much more understanding to his practice and the ability to understand in more depth the meaning behind the works.

The exhibition displays the images painted from 1888 – 1889 during the rare time Van Gogh’s experienced excitement and optimistic feelings before famously cutting part of his ear off and being admitted to an asylum after a nervous breakdown.

The paintings were intended to decorate a friends bedroom and so they symbolise friendship, welcome and happiness.

Many people have their own reasons for admiration of the paintings but the most well known appreciation is  of the their overwhelming sense of a life cycle from the buds of new flowers, the very much alive and blossoming sunflowers to the slowly decaying and dying flowers. The show is a once in a lifetime opportunity to whitens 2 of the paintings side by side which create a much more overwhelming sense of awe than I ever imagined.

Sunflowers

Two of Van Gogh Sunflowers shown together at The National Gallery, London  for first time in 65 years. 

 

My photographic response to visiting Van Gogh’s Sunflowers:Flower's.  Flower's. Daffodils.

My intention when photographing these flowers was to somehow represent my emotive state and express feelings within the flowers.

The colours specifically respond to the likes of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers but also our semiotic colour association. The bright yellow’s represent positive current feelings of joy, confidence, strength, creativity and happiness. The depth of field as well as the composition is for aesthetic purpose but also represents direction and motivation within a specific point of the image, with a particular individual flower as the focus. Blurring the rest and focusing on mainly one flower is a conscious decision of my focus at the moment towards particular persons who help to guide and motivate me throughout life.

The daffodils specifically represent my long to go home, a sense of missing Wales as our traditional Welsh symbol looks longingly down and sombre towards the bottom of the frame which is why I chose to photograph them later in the day as the sun was slowly sinking before a new chapter in my life arises in my current home. I am grateful for such opportunity and do not take for granted those who have helped me along the way, specifically those back home.

Life on the Road.

Instagram.

Discussion Forum: 

‘Instagram has ruined photography as an art form.’

‘The app Instagram which allows everyone to post photographs on the internet for the world to see has ruined the art of photography. Now, everyone is a photographer. There are filters that allow the photograph to be transformed from not very good to mediocre imagery that is now celebrated worldwide.’ 

by Kristianne Drake. 
Thursday, 13 February 2014, 12:33 PM.
 
My response:
 
Art can be appreciated primarily for it’s emotional power and beauty. If photography is simply freezing a moment in time or creating an image using light then there is no limit to how we produce images or where they are posted. Either way there will be an audience for them somewhere along the line.

Just because a photograph has been taken on a mobile phone, it is of poor quality or simply posted to instagram does not mean if can’t be appreciated by someone else.

Some of the most iconic moments of history last year were captured on mobile phone’s, these images have gone on to become widely circulated around the globe and continue to overwhelm nations.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

A mobile phone is ideal for someone who is in the right place at the right time, whether they are a photographer or not. The image they create whether it be iconic or not can still be considered art to some people, even if it is just for themselves.

At David Bailey’s ‘Stardust’ exhibition in London, there is a whole section of mobile phone images. Maybe it’s all he had at the time but he still considered them to be worthy for his show as every image was hand picked by himself…

If life is only so short then who are we working to please? surely it’s ourselves…

Instagram gives anybody with access to a smartphone and internet the ability to create images to share with their family and friends, it allows people who enjoy photography as a hobby to create and share images they are proud of. What right does anyone have to deprive someone of that thrill just for the sake of saving ‘art’. Art will always exist, it’s just forever changing and we should embrace that instead of chasing old ways.

 

Ship to Shore.

Ship to Shore: Art and the Lure of the Sea. 

John Hansard Gallery/Sea City Museum, Southampton.

08/02/14 – 04/05/14 

Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (North), 2011.

Catherine Yass, Lighthouse (North), 2011.

Perhaps the most underrated show of the year, contemporary gallery John Hansard and the Sea City Museum present Ship to Shore an exhibition across two venues exploring the lure of the endless sea via various mediums of art. Expect to be astonished by artists who have vividly expressed their engagement with the sea and ocean within the most extraordinary and breath taking way possible using film, photography, sculpture, and more. Ship to Shore allows the contemporary artists such as Isaac Julien, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Tracey Emin and Catherine Yass to blow the classical preconceptions of art out of your mind. The work shown is to the most stunning quality and presented to such high standard every fine detail is to be appreciated within the exhibition. The thoughts provoked regards to the show are a valuable and thrilling experience. Your senses will be stimulated and enhanced as there is no room for disappointment, a show which reaches its maximum potential and finest quality.

Thomas Joshua Cooper

Thomas Joshua Cooper

Moonrise Over the End of the World, Furthest West, The Mid North Atlantic Ocean, 2002. 

What sparked most interest for me within the exhibition were the seascape photographs by Thomas Joshua Cooper. Cooper travelled as far north, south, east and west as he could to photograph the furthest points on the globe, these images took an incredible amount of time and effort to produce. However standing in a room viewing all four images on four different walls has an enclosed affect and as each image is aesthetically different due to the immense distance between where they were taken provokes a variety of feelings certain individuals relate to in various ways. During my second visit to the gallery with young people studying for their arts award  we spoke together about how the images made each of us feel. The variety of responses was not what I expected but it made me realise how aspects of these images have powerful emotional effects on an individual wether it be positive or negative is irrelevant as we still all appreciated how stunning the monochrome, philosophical images are. Personally I have a fear of open water out at sea, a fear of being abandoned and left in the open space terrifies me so a few of the images were quite comforting as I could see the edge of the land on them. Although the sea seemed rough it was reassuring that they were in fact taken on land. However one of the images does show open space so there is no comparable emotions about these images being shown together, the narrative is left wide open.

More information about the exhibition at: http://www.hansardgallery.org.uk/ 

Au Naturel.

In today’s lecture we deconstructed images using metaphors and allegories.

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Allegory: A story, poem, or picture, which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning other than a literal one, typically a moral or political one.

My allegorical deconstruction of Sarah Lucas’, Au Naturel, 1994.

Image

Behind the artistic interpretation of adult humour within this piece lies a tender, vulnerable, narrative of a suffering relationship due to natural changes the female body faces over time. The objects represent human genitalia and lying in these particular places on the mattress implies the representation of a relationship. The relationship appears to be worn out suggests the old dirty mattress. Which lies upright and closing in on a fold which could be an indication of the relationship beginning to expire and close down towards an end. The bucket and melons represent the effects a woman’s body faces after childbirth, it suggest the question of weather the change of an appearance will affect a relationship.

Although the work appears to be quite humorous it’s only till you take a step back and think that you realise it’s quite a fragile story of a common factor which affects relationships. This piece can and has been interpreted in many ways but the way in which I’ve explained the hidden meaning seems to be the most popular deconstruction within our culture.

In-between.

Whilst dashing around London from gallery to gallery I managed to take a few photographs of what caught my eye. Here I deconstruct and analyse why I may have taken them and what they represent to me.

Buskers.

To start off I know exactly why I took this photograph, the music these buskers were playing was some of the happiest melodies I’ve ever heard. The individuals were gleaming with joy and enthusiasm. It was close to impossible to walk by without at least smiling, these guys put me in a great mood from the start of the day and throughout. I feel it’s important to keep busking alive, by dropping even loose change to entertainers you make it worth while for them to spend their time performing in the street, raising spirits and moods all year round.

Trafalgar Square.

Having passed Trafalgar Square a dozen times I’m unsure why this composition sprung out to me on this day, there was something about the blueness of the sky reflecting upon the water in the fountains that caught my attention. The colours were naturally enhanced due to the bright sunlight but the sheer oddity of the hanh/cock which occupies the plinth in-between the richly historical engagement of the square is what steals the centre of this image. Perhaps unconsciously I took this photograph as an appreciation of my fascination with contemporary art and or how art changes over time.

Untitled.

This sight draw my attention for the amount of detail, everything seems to have been placed in that exact way for a reason but it just so happens that the building was under construction and the bus passing was at the right time.

I guess in a way this deals with a narrative of time, as the building is slowly constructed over time, the bus passes at a certain time moving people from location to location over the course of the day enabling them to be in a particular location at a certain time. And the tree occupies the frame with how it has naturally grown in that way over the passage of time.

Yoko Ono quotes “Time is a concept that humans created.” I feel this is an incredibly ignorant statement, perhaps due to the fact I’m not a fan of her anyway but it occurred to me that the passage of time is a part of nature, it’s not a concept at all, it’s simply that we have identified it and named it, we are not controlled by it or at least we don’t have to be.

Photographer's Gallery.

As the day came to a close whilst sat in The Photographers Gallery as our last location we noticed a rainbow occupying the sky outside of the window in front of us. My fascination with colour and light compelled me to photograph the rainbow. I owe this fascination within the optical and meteorological phenomenon to my interest in photography. The scientific understanding of the reflection and refraction of light within the water droplets is closely related to  those scientific elements of  photography I adore specifically to how simply we make and see images but the complex science behind it is endless.

Burroughs, Warhol & Lynch.

Andy Warhol, David Lynch & William S. Burroughs. 

The Photographers’ Gallery, London. 

17/01/14 – 20/03/14

A brave exhibition by The Photographer’s Gallery in London, exploring the photographic work of three, counter culture, avant-garde, American figures: Andy Warhol, William S Burroughs and David Lynch. I say brave because over time these individuals have become well known for their various talents but not specifically known for their photography. Cult followers of their work may object to comparing the three together.

However if you’re interested in one, two or all three of the icons this exhibition is an interesting insight into their photographic practices which makes a difference from seeing popular work by them such as Campbell’s Soup Cans, Naked Lunch or The Elephant Man.

William Burroughs/Ian Sommerville, Infinity, (Beat Hotel), Paris, 1962.

William Burroughs/Ian Sommerville, Infinity, (Beat Hotel), Paris, 1962.

The Photographer’s Gallery explores the visual dairies and an insight to the life and work around these three practitioners. I found the examples of Burroughs cut up techniques to be especially interesting although I was a little shocked at just how small they were but I guess that’s the reality you overlook.

Andy Warhol, People in the Street, 1976-1987.

Andy Warhol, People in the Street, 1976-1987.

The exhibition gives you an insight to the reality behind the lives of these famous figures. Warhol’s photographs are an example of an obsessive recorder, I imagine there to have been such a huge job in selecting the best of his images as he compulsively shot over 36 frames a day of his immediate surroundings.

David Lynch, Untitled (Lodz), 2000.

David Lynch, Untitled (Lodz), 2000.

Lynch’s work in my opinion had the most photographic merit of the three. The series of prints were truly stunning with their clarity and contrast. The images themselves of abandoned factories were eerily dark and ambiguous. They create an atmosphere and narrative, which closely reflects his filmmaking.

The show offers an exciting insight into the life of the pioneers and bold step up of the game from The Photographer’s Gallery showcasing work in a way you may not have seen before. Perhaps this show was intended to be of interest to those visiting the Bailey show, the traffic of people coming to see work by a well known name are those who are excited by fame, even if this is unintentional I found it to be a smart move by the photographers gallery bringing three well known icons together at this particular time.

More information about the exhibition at: http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/the-photography-of-william-s-burroughs