FOREIGN BODY — Antony Crossfield
In Foreign Body, the viewer is confronted by ambiguous, fluid bodies; bringing attention to the notion that self identity is unstable and permeable. The fabrication of individual male bodies into multi-limbed hybrids, makes his exploration of the male form at once unsettling, yet weirdly beautiful. In this exhibition, the body is presented, not as a protective envelope that defines and unifies our limits, but as an organ of physical and psychological interchange between bodies and selves.
Antony Crossfield describes his work as closely related to the manual labor of painting. His artworks comprise of several points of view, of multiple images that are compressed into a single frame of meticulous construction. The illusion of wholeness masks an uncertain and fractured reality, that defies the Cartesian idea of a stable viewpoint. Importantly, his photographs do not embellish the male form with expected beauty, instead, their diversity and flaws are embraced, echoing the traditions of the grotesque. The resulting photographs elicit an intellectual response, but also one that is visceral and even physical.
Foreign Body is Antony Crossfield’s first solo exhibition with Klompching Gallery. He has previously exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery (London), Institute of Contemporary Art (London) and Fulham Palace (London). In 2008, he was the winner of The Independent Photographer’s Terry O’Neill Award. Crossfield’s photographs have been published in The Sunday Times Magazine, Art.Es Magazine, La Maquina Contemporanea, PDN, British Journal of Photography, Eyemazing and Creative Review. An upcoming feature on Foreign Body will appear in the December/January issue of Hotshoe.
WE ENGLISH — Simon Roberts
Following on from the critically acclaimed Motherland series, that formed the inaugural exhibition at Klompching Gallery in October 2007, Roberts’s We English is a visually stunning tableaux of large format photographs that explore identity, attachment to home and the relationship between people and the land.
“In 2005, I spent a year travelling across Russia to produce Motherland, a book exploring the Russians' attachment to their homeland. This attachment to place was somewhat mysterious–simultaneously profound and banal–and it led me to think about my own sense of belonging and memory, identity and place. We English became another journey, not quite as epic as that across Russia, but involving a 1993 Talbot Express Swift Capri motorhome, my pregnant wife, our two-year-old daughter and a 5x4 large-format camera.”—Simon Roberts.
Informed by his predecessors Tony Ray-Jones, John Davies and Martin Parr, as well as the tradition of 16th-century Dutch and Flemish landscape painting, Simon Roberts’ new body of work is an unashamedly lyrical vision of the ways in which people congregate and interact with the landscape, through the common purpose of leisure. Through his images of the English at play, we witness sunbathers lounging in Gloucestershire, hillwalkers miniaturized by the grand hills of the Wasdale Valley, the somewhat curious Mad Maldon Mud Race in Essex and the sparse quietness of surfers off the Salcombe Sands in Devon. We English is an insightful and determined series of photographs, two years in the making, that forms Roberts’ second significant body of work exploring notions of nationhood.
Simon Roberts has been published and exhibited widely, with his photographs represented in public and private collections, including the Deutsche Börse Art Collection and the Wilson Centre for Photography (UK), amongst others. He is the recipient of several notable awards, including a PDN’s 30 (2004) and the Royal Photographic Society Vic Odden Award (2007) for achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer under 35.
We English is published by Chris Boot Ltd., forming Roberts’ second monograph.
Upcoming exhibitions of We English include Simon Roberts’ first solo museum exhibition at the National Media Museum (UK), March—September 2010.
SPLASH! — Group Show
Splash! is the gallery’s 10th exhibition. Since our inception in October 2007, we’ve made quite a splash, with the photographs by our artists’ exhibitions being favorably reviewed in publications such as The New Yorker, Modern Painters, Art Review, New York Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, The New York Times, Hotshoe and The Architect’s Newspaper. We are taking this opportunity to celebrate their successes, by re-presenting a selection of images from exhibitions shown over the past eighteen months, as well as introducing for the first time, the photographs of three new artists.
Featured in the exhibition will be a selection of photographs from Lisa M. Robinson’s notable Snowbound project, photographed over a five year period and published as a monograph in 2007 by Kehrer Verlag. The highly acclaimed Motherland photo series on Russia, by Simon Roberts and published by Chris Boot Ltd, formed our inaugural exhibition and is re-presented ahead of his solo show of We English in Fall 2009 (a preview of We English can be viewed at the NY Photo Festival in May 2009). Renate Aller will feature a newly-released photograph from the Seascapes: One Location series. Net by Elaine Duigenan was a popular summer exhibition in 2008 and is being shown prior to the upcoming release of her new work. Following her successful solo show in Fall 2008, Cornelia Hediger has gone on to be awarded a coveted PDN's 30 this year, with her arresting Doppelgänger series, of which a small selection will be shown.
Introduced for the first time will be the work of Paula McCartney, with her Bird Watching series, to be exhibited in it’s entirety in March 2010, together with the release of her first monograph, published by Princeton Architectural Press. Tessa Bunney will be showing a selection of photographs from her Hand to Mouth series, that documents the disappearing farming communities in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. Finally, we are delighted to exhibit the magical photographs of Vojtech V. Slama, from the Czech Republic, with images from his Wolf’s Honey series.
In the back room, we exhibited photographs by Antony Crossfield, William Greiner, Doug Keyes, Sarah Lynch and Helen Sear.
VISUAL MORPHOLOGY — Group Show
Visual Morphology turns the ubiquity of the photograph on its head. Collectively, the artists remind us of the ‘act of looking’, each engaging the viewer with various tropes within photography that urge us to scrutinize what we see. Time, memory, visual perception, assemblage and artifact, are each addressed across a range of creative photographic methodologies and conceptual frameworks.
In the work of Marc Baruth, contemporary figures are decontextualized within fictional, digitally-constructed landscapes. Based upon the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens, Baruth’s topography is a wonderfully peculiar play on man’s relationship with nature. David Trautrimas, too, fabricates environments. In his case, he positions familiar objects into surreal urbanscapes, drawing upon both function and scale.
This penchant by contemporary photographers, for working with new technologies in expanding the lexicon of the photographic medium, is further evidenced in the work of Antony Crossfield. He presents the viewer with ambiguous, fluid bodies, bringing attention to the notion that self identity is unstable and permeable. Whereas Baruth, Trautrimas and Crossfield, consciously maintain the visibility of their images as fabricated, Matthew Baum’s imagery is altogether quieter. He contributes to the tradition of street photography, capturing fleeting moments of people in public spaces; but re-presents them as a kind of hyper-reality.
The optical phenomena of the Ishihara Color Test, is effectively applied by Odette England to manipulate the intended meaning and function of family photographs. The viewer’s ability to fill in negative space, both physical and psychological, is a concern that England shares with the artist Curtis Mann, who literally obliterates portions of found snapshots with the use of household bleach. Both artists reconfigure the context of the photograph, bringing attention to image, object and memory.
Doug Keyes also turns his attention to these concerns, by making multiple exposures of the pages of carefully selected books. This layering of imagery, results in a wonderful symphony of detail that isn’t quite there, sparking our imagination to complete the narrative. Keyes reveals what the eye can’t naturally see, as does Steve Hanson with his long exposures of rush hour traffic, in which the movement of cars are erased by time, revealing the solid architecture of roadways.
INSIDE THE VIEW — Helen Sear
Inside The View is an exceptional collection of photographs, wherein Helen Sear addresses the notion of work, labor of the hand and time in the process of image making. Sear also contributes to the long history of montage by superimposing two images — one a portrait of a woman and the other a landscape. Each image is then erased through a complex and painstaking process of digital drawing, with a lace-like network of lines based upon the patterns of sewing or hand woven lace making.
The result is a wonderful play on vision, whereby the figure and ground appear and disappear within the resulting lines of erasure. In many ways, the lines of erasure are the image; they form a veil to look at and to look through. Amongst other things, Sear is intrigued with the viewer’s habits of looking, and in this context she views the photographic medium as not fixed or entirely knowable.
“Within the multiple layers of Sear’s art we face the complex questions of work and invention. The innovative labour of image craft is central here. She does things few others do with the medium ... It is a restless process of intellectual risk, aesthetic demand and technical experiment.”—David Campany (2006).
In making these images, Sear has been inspired by the works of Helen Chadwick and Jo Spence, as well as that of the northern romantic tradition of painting. The title of the work refers to a series of collages, A L’Interieur de la Vue, by Max Ernst.
Helen Sear’s work has been published in Arts Review, Creative Camera, Art Newspaper and Art Monthly amongst others. Collections holding her work include Ernst & Young, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Council (Rome) and the Paul Wilson Collection. She lives and works in Wales (UK).