Sunday, 9 July 2017

Lunar Caustic Chapter II Begins...

It may seem that I have been very quiet lately and indeed I have been. The months seem to be flying by and we are already half way through the year, the Summer is in full swing with festivals and delights to be consumed. But as quiet as I have been, much thought has been playing in my mind. With two projects being worked on over the summer, the fruits of my labour will be released later in the year and early next. But what excites me greatly is the opportunity for me to work on a new chapter of Lunar Caustic as the archive grows, so does this series. With every new image, an opportunity to re look, revision and recreate new works that blur the gaps between the years and flourish the series. 

I am delighted to now have the new archive, safe at home and ready to be edited! With a new selection of 350,000 images, it will certainly be a new journey, but one that I am so excited to be running through once more. Today the archive was opened and such amazing imagery has already been found. Some truly tender shots, intermixed with the array of weddings, lovers, babies, holidays and an abundance of portraiture. Each folder I open, my eyes widen and my inspiration grows, it is wonderful to see how the archive provides such a mix of visual stimulation. I've already edited over 17,000 this afternoon and this week will see many more put through my conceptual scrutiny. I await the next folder with bated breath and know this new chapter will truly add to the series. Inspired once again!


Monday, 29 May 2017

Guye, Pol Roger & Mackie, Blank

       
One of my highlights during the PhotoLondon week is getting the all the exhibitions that I've been meaning to get too and revisiting the ones that I loved so much, I just can't get enough! That was certainly the case in the wonderful Irma Blank exhibition Life Time, at Alison Jacques Gallery; Since the late 1960s, Blank's singular production has focused on the recording of time as gesture. In her drawings and paintings time is inscribed as a material record of life through the material traces of the artist's labour. Located between drawing and writing, the work evokes the space of the book but encompasses paintings on canvas and paper, screen-prints and drawings in pastel, pencil and ink. 

Irma said, "Writing is the home of being. I free writing from sense and highlight its structure, its skeleton, the nude sign, the sign that is such and does not refer back to anything but itself. It refers to the energy reserve, to the initial drive, the source-giving urge, the desire to reveal itself, to emerge from the secret, closed place of night."


I was delighted to manage to make the last day of Christina Mackie's new show, Drift Rust at Herald Street Gallery which closed on Sunday 22 May. I absolutely love Mackie's practice and this exhibition certainly did not disappoint. She has such an astounding ability to understand and present materiality in it's purest form, here is an excerpt from the press release, "Materials resisting catergorisation from her studio are assembled in momentary synthesis as the viewer encounters sculptural sequences, video projection, ceramics, watercolours and oil paintings...Resisting the traps of rational systems of classification and narrative containment, she encourages associative leaps rather than resting on, or seeking, any single objective truth. Visual and cognitive meandering on the part of the viewer is prompted and encouraged."

This intermixed with meeting new and old friends, sipping Champagne and taking in gallery meals, adventures off to Peckham 24 and making plans for future projects, to me, is really what those fair weeks are all about.


Post PhotoLondon 2017

So May is nearly over and another month has passed. The crowds have been and gone and the city gets back to business as usual. This year saw the third edition of PhotoLondon at Somerset House and with this still young and establishing fair, a collection of works and rooms that at times work wonders intermixed with a commercial maze that does little to inspire or attract. What I always find so interestingly difficult is the sheer volume of work that is exhibited. Whether over or underwhelming, with so much imagery surrounding us on a daily basis, entering a fair like this demands a clarify of the visual mind, that I feel is almost impossible to have in our current cultural climate. For me, such fairs always present us with a problem to resolve at the first hurdle; how to consume when you have already been consumed?

I think what is also very important to note is that for the last two years of this three year venture to date, the city in which the fair is held is changing in ways many thought wouldn't or couldn't be possible. The socio-political landscape is shaping our future in a way I personally didn't believe would happen so quickly. We are now living in historical times, quietly, softly, passively watching and waiting as the next wave crashes over upon us and we all reappear, half drowned and dazed, but carrying on our daily lives. I had hoped for a gentle sheer, a nod to this in the work that was exhibited but I must admit, this work was somewhat missing. Maybe it is too close, but I was surprised to see a distinct lack of work that engaged on this level, when last year Wolfgang Tillman's Brexit Posters where so beautifully pinned. 

For me, some of the most stunning imagery was found within the 2017 Pavilion and especially in the new gallery editions to the fair this year, of which these Alison Jacques and Victoria Miro were two. The sensual, poetic and tender moments presented at Victoria Miro with works by Issac Julien and his work entitled Looking for Langston (1989/2017) which is currently showing at the gallery until the end of July. The large scale silver gelatin prints hung in the booth empowered. These images intermixed with the tender, exquisite small prints by Francesca Woodman made for one of the best booths at the entire fair. 
Closely positioned was Alison Jacques whose Robert Mapplethrope's and Catherine Yass prints. A huge fan of both artists it was wonderful see the large scale Mapplethrope's, seductive and sensual with the harder, high saturated and process based Yass'. A very clean, considered and sharp booth that was a pleasure to see. 

This years edition was undoubtedly an improvement from the previous years and with the new Matt Collishaw exhibit uusing the latest VR technology to restaged Fox Talbot’s pioneering 1839 exhibition of photography through careful digital reconstructions, it brought both old and new technologies to the same stage without 'that' need to question, digital vs analogue. It will be interesting to see what the next year brings.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Feminine Heroic - The Paris Review

In times with so such political unrest, with misogynistic themes and phrases rife, it is always so comforting to see women take the rains and steer so hope and humanity back into our mysterious, troublesome ways. I am very pleased to have, (although a small contribution) an image of mine representing some key values and themes in an article about "The Feminine Heroic", written by Megan Mayhew Bergman.

A little excerpt from the article here, "Perhaps some early eremitic women, as devout as they might have been, were not running toward Christ but away from life as it had become. If they needed relief, respite, communion with the divine, or a chance to play the protagonist of their own lives, they had to take great risks to claim it.

Times of hardship often demanded women step outside gender roles, such as the expansion of the American frontier, which resulted in heroic, physical pursuits by women. Willa Cather’s Alexandra Berson in O Pioneers! is independent and entrepreneurial. The world wars gave women opportunities to serve as nurses, ambulance drivers, and fighter pilots. The painter Romaine Brooks presented her iconic image of the heroic feminine in 1914: La France Croisée depicts her lover, Ida Rubinstein, as an ambulance driver, the city of Ypres burning behind her."

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

24 Hours In Antwerp - FOMU & Des Artist

 
 
Thursday saw the opening of the new Braakland exhibition at FOMU, Surface Tension: Breaking The Plane Of The Photographic Image. Sadly I could not attend the opening, but travelled on Friday for a flying visit, just 24 hours to see the show, the sites and sample the delights Antwerp had to offer!

First stop of this whistle stop tour was at FOMU to see the show, meet one of the wonderful curators, fellow friends and collectors. The Museum certainly does not disappoint. A former warehouse, converted into a stunning exhibition venue; multiple floors, all with stunningly high ceilings that provide an inspirational backdrop to a conceptual curation. Here is a little excerpt from the press release.

The photographic image exists largely on screen or in flat two-dimensional form. As photography progresses and the synthesis between fine art practice and lens culture merge, the photographic image itself establishes itself in flux between the praxis of de-materialization and three-dimensional representation. The surface of an image is often a great starting point for considering how to liberate the photograph from its previous nominal flat state into a state of object-hood.

After our private tour, off to experience the delights of the city and what better way to start then with an Antwerpen Institution, Des Artist; a wonderful Brasserie that shares in a look and feel of many of the Parisian establishments, but with a warmth and generosity that I found, it seems to be very Antwerpen. Sampling the traditional dishes with the array of Belgian beers, it certainly was the best way to start off the evening. As the evening progressed, we sampled the delights of the city (the many extraordinarily designed bars) and enjoyed until the early hours, all intermixed with old and new friends. 

A huge thank you to all at FOMU and also to Stieglitz 19 for their warmth and generosity. 


Sunday, 5 March 2017

New Exhibition - Surface Tension At FOMU Antwerp - Opening Thursday 9 March At 18:00


I am very please to announce that my collaborative series, Lunar Caustic, will be part of an exciting new exhibition, Surface Tension, curated by Brad Feuerhelm at FOMU, Antwerp's Foto Museum opening this Thursday, 9th March at 18:00, part of the Braakland initiative. 

The photographic surface is generally conditioned towards flatness. This exhibition works with artists who are considering the surface of the image as a starting point to investigate what a photographic representation is, was and can be. Photographic surfaces are destroyed, built up, and worn to create completely new images. Participating artists: Sofia Borges, Brad Feuerhelm, Melinda Gibson, Petra Kubisova, Thomas Sauvin, Ruth van Beek, Thomas Vandenberghe & Daisuke Yokota.
More for information, please visit their website - http://www.braakland-fomu.be/surfacetension.php?lang=en

Thursday, 2 February 2017

New Editorial - Ambit Magazine - Issue 227

 

I am delighted to say that my collaborative series "Lunar Caustic" with Thomas Sauvin has been selected by Darren Warner, part of his take over for the new issue of the wonderfully inspiring magazine, Ambit. Our contribution is amoung some astounding artists that include, Alex Crocker, Sam Windett, Ryan Mosley, Caroline Achaintre, John Finneran and many more. You can even download one of our artworks for the next two months from their website here - http://ambitmagazine.co.uk/download-artwork

Ambit is a London-based 96 page literary and art magazine that features poetry, prose and art. We strive to feature fresh voices and visions from across the world, placing first-time writers alongside giants of the scene. Started in 1959 by the London paediatrician Dr Martin Bax, the magazine helped discover and establish Edwin Brock, Carol Ann Duffy, JG Ballard, Eduardo Paolozzi, William Burroughs, Fleur Adcock, Liz Berry and Sir Peter Blake among others. 

In these changing times, it was truly wonderful to be part of the launch night on Tuesday, where young poets performed their pieces with artistic onlookers and listeners. It seems in these changing times, poetry is increasingly becoming an important outlet for vocal frustrations, love, loss and life. Language is so important in the era where fiction controls fact.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Happy New Year - Welcome 2017

So the new year begins, and I must say what a beautiful start to 2017 I have had. I have a feeling that this year is going to be different, full of many adventures with much hope and positivity. Only six days in and the hope I draw on, is from all the great people in my life who share the same values. I see that there is strength in humanity, even in times of great turmoil and that although the journey is full of ups and downs, when we truly believe, we can join together and try and push for change. Because to try, is to open your mind to new things and be educated by others; 2017 is surely that for me.

December saw a wealth of inspiration and I was delighted to have worked on a special commission with the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, so as the new year starts, I see the final artworks in the context they were produced for, in the Oton programme magazine. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Shahin, Sina and of course all at the Tonhalle. In the coming months I hope this collaboration will grow, exciting plans dance in the background. 

The year has started well and projects are well on their way with  many more in the balance, so do watch this space for news, updates and invitations to exhibitions throughout 2017.

Monday, 12 December 2016

New Commission - Modest Mussorgsky "Pictures At An Exhibition" For The Tonhalle Düsseldorf

 

I am absolutely delighted to announce my new commission, working with the incredible Tonhalle Düsseldorf to create two new pieces in response to the classical master piece that is Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition," in particular a reworking of the movement, Goldenberg and Schmuÿle. Bringing two of the most important things to me together, Classical music and contemporary artistic practice, I can honestly say has been one of the most deeply inspirational things I have ever worked on, and I know that this is the beginning of a long and exciting journey.

Departing from the idea that the contemporary image is deeply photographic and using the tangible experience of listening to the music, I have found a way in which the classical movement can be physically translated into imagery. In essence I am changing sound waves into light and capturing their chaotic, yet deeply ordered transformation from solid matter to continuous motion. Science is at play, as Cymatics, a term coined by Hans Jenny, release their subsets of modal vibrational phenomena through graphite, powder pigment and ink. In constant flux, these changing compositions are momentarily captured as the fleeting seconds past from one wave to another.

The works will form part of the concert, in a form of a publication and which be available from Friday 16 December, when Modest Mussorgsky "Pictures At An Exhibition" orchestrated version by Ravel will be played by the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra. Such a delight in every sense, and a huge thank you to all at the Tonhalle it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Lunar Caustic Now Available On - 北京银矿

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything, I think 2016 has seen so many shifts, I must admit it is rather difficult for normality to continue. I can however say that the last few months have seen much development and I am very excited to see what 2017 has to offer, with much planned already, next year really is going to be rather fun!

November saw the Redeye Talk and Workshop which I found to be immensely engaging and working some some wonderful photographic artists with their thoughtful visions and promise, it was a truly rewarding and warming experience. Manchester is also a really good city, with friendly warmth that often lacks from the Southern big smoke.

In other news, as Thomas Sauvin launches his new Beijing Silvermine website, we both excitingly continue on our collaborative journey, with more than 350, 000 new images to digest and edit, a new chapter for Lunar Caustic is arriving in early 2017. 

http://www.beijingsilvermine.com/
Lunar Caustic here http://www.beijingsilvermine.com/collaborations/lunar-caustic

More news to follow shortly and many happy advent days ahead.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

New Talk & Workshop - Redeye Weekend - 18th & 19th November 2016 - Tickets Now Available


I am delighted to be working with Redeye in November to do an Evening Talk and Workshop with a Critique on the weekend of the 18th and 19th November in Manchester. Tickets are available now and it is sure to be a fun, inspired packed weekend discussing the changes in the photographic medium and how alternative processes can release a new found freedom in an artist's journey. Please find below some information about both events and what to expect.

Photographic artist Melinda Gibson joins Redeye to talk about her unique approach to photography. 

Through her work with found imagery, Melinda Gibson takes an experimental approach to the form, creating 'visual remixes' that force the viewer to reconsider the medium and its canon. 'By slicing, cutting and de-contextualising the images I start to gain a greater appreciation of the works; I start understanding why and how these images have been created.' - Melinda Gibson.
In this event, Melinda will talk about her recent project, Lunar Caustic, where she collaborated with Thomas Sauvin on thousands of salvaged, neglected negatives, and discuss more generally her artistic process and approach to the medium. 
The following day Melinda will give a group critique and workshop. Melinda will work with 10 photographers/photographic artists, helping them to gain new perspectives on a recent project or body of work and will help participants to reconsider their practice and gain new perspectives on a project.
Please see here for more detailed information on both events and links to purchase the tickets.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Marvellous Marrakech


I've just returned from an incredible trip to Marrakech, and to say that this city is inspiring is certainly an under statement. Marrakech has always been one of those cities that I've dreamt of adventuring too and with so much visual imagery that surrounds Morocco as a country, I knew that it was time to pack my bags and head off on an 8 day adventure!

As we flew into the airport I was immediately stuck by the colours and heat that greet you. That feeling you get as you of walk down the steps and a wave of heat hits you is something that I honestly say feels me with joy, I am sure I was made for hot climates, London is just too cold. The moment your feet touch the tarmac there is a sense of ease, calm and relaxation, there is of course bureaucracy, but nothing as strict as what we are currently use too and this for me is always a welcomed retreat.  A driver picks us up and immediately we are whizzed away to our Riad in the centre of the Medina, not one for the faint hearted, but I couldn't imagine being based anywhere else. The hustle and bustle, the colours and smells, and being in walking distance of all the city has to offer, it was just perfect.

As you enter the Medina, the city unfolds, every which way you turn this wonderful vibrant deep pink envelopes the facades and Marrakech plays out in front of your eyes. Almost theatrical in many ways, bicycles circle in between you as Souk holders sing out to visitors, a rhythm starts to enter your soul as your sense are drawn to the vibrancy of the city. Thick spice smells fill the air as sweet pastries tempt your tastebuds and pink dust flows around your toes, I've arrived and it's just wonderful.

As the sun rises and sets, each day brings a new adventure. We walk everywhere we go, so really getting a sense of the city and the locals that inhabit it. It's hot and haze re-adjusts your focus, every corner you turn another opportunity to capture something, a photo here, a photo there, the city is so visually inspiring you have to remind yourself to stop, pause and look up and out. We visit the stunning Majorelle Jardins, created by Jacques Majorelle and later taken over by Yves Saint Laurent. This tropical oasis centred around an 1920's studio that is encapsulated with the most unbelievable blue, there aren't any words that can describe seeing this colour, you really have to see it to believe it.

We visit the Bahia Palace and walk around the Royal Palace, (a fair few times as navigation is lost!) but as we loose sight of directions, we wonder into the most inspiring streets, only filled with locals and two London artists. As the days roll by we plan more adventures and take a trip to the Atlas Mountains and trek for 2 hours with a local up to 2100 meters, and travel out to the desert to see the Unesco World Heritage site, Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou which dates back to the 17 Century. These two days where absolutely astounding and I feel honoured to have seen them.

Morocco is an incredible country, filled with warmth and generosity and reminds us of the good of humanity. One of the lasting memories for me will be the 'call to pray' every day that echoes from one Mosque to another in the city. A call that made me feel alive, and honoured to be able to listen to the chants, truly beautiful. As a Muslim county, they have sadly seen a stark decline in tourism which deeply saddens me and was reiterated by each and every local we meet. I only hope and wish that this will disperse and people will believe in the good of humankind, no matter what country, religion or political persuasion, Marrakech you are Marvellous.


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