‘A lecture upon a shadow’- Open Eye Gallery Liverpool
This was a well attended study visit, when I arrived the foyer was full of fellow students all mooching around the excellent but far too tempting Open Eye shop.
As this was a split study visit we spent some time looking at the images, some time discussing them in groups and then a break partway through for discussion and coffee before moving onto the second part of the visit. A lecture upon a shadow was a mixed exhibition between artists with three artists from the North West and three from Shanghai and this had already been exhibited in China. Based on the title of a John Donne poem, A lecture upon a shadow certainly gave us all plenty to think about. For me the work was too mixed and I struggled to see a connection between the UK and Chinese photographers as well as a running theme throughout. Its only now looking back and doing some more reading about this that I can see a link between some, loneliness is very key in the work by Fan Shi San, composite images looking at the one child policy within China and the effect this has on the ‘only child’ of each family. This sense of loneliness and sadness pours out of the images and while it affect people differently- as an only child who has always been content as just me, I didn’t feel moved by this, yet others did, but again it goes back to not only seeing what the photographer wants us to see and feel from an image, but also what we bring to it and also how we feel on that particular occasion. Referring back to the theme that I feel is evident in some of these, when thinking about the standout piece ‘Eldon Grove’ by Liverpool based photographer Tabitha Jussa, it goes from an abandoned housing estate but then gets you thinking about the area, the people who were there and the fact that it’s now fallen silent but traces of life are still there. Not all of the exhibits worked for me, David Penny’s ‘Dutch Paintings’ where the photographs sit behind yellow and blue coloured glass were visually striking but the impact wouldn’t have been there without the colour. Also the work that struck me with a strong visual impact and shape on the wall was ‘Corpus Mercatorium’ by David Jacques, it’s very interesting to look at but for me feels out of place with its mixture of photographs cut out and stuck to different shapes from books. The whole mixture was reminiscent of Victoriana and not only did it not fit into the rest of the exhibition, for me it left me cold (and I did feel it was a bit creepy)
Part one of the study visit
David Penny ‘Dutch Paintings’
Liang Yue ‘Numerous Continuation: Summer Autumn Chaos’
Man Yi ‘Memory of Water’
Looking at Fan Shi San’s ‘Two of Us’
Tabitha Jussa ‘Eldon Grove’
David Jacques’ ‘Corpus Mercatorium’
After we’d looked around this we then all decamped where the sheer number of us dictated some re-organisation and takeover of the coffee shop! We split into groups and had discussions on many topics not least what we had seen at the gallery, as usual we all had our own like and dislikes and our own take on what we had seen. These discussions are really worthwhile as while we might disagree there is always acceptance that someone else’s thoughts are just as valid as your own.
Archive exhibition- Landscapes by Edward Chambre- Hardman
The second part of the visit was to see the archive exhibition by Edward Chambre-Hardman. I was looking forwards to this as I hadn’t seen any of his work and Keith was able to give us some background information on this as he is working on the archive at the moment and could bring an insight into the work and collection of the photographer. While Chambre-Hardman was more known for this commercial work and portraits, his personal work included landscapes. Amusingly when he sold his collection to the Liverpool record office, he neglected to include some work including his landscapes. I did like some of the images, his use of strong shapes in the images and very heavy clouds (obviously timing is a key component in a good landscape) that give some of the images a strong atmosphere really stood out for me. However I didn’t like the overly yellow tones of the images, which I don’t feel were helped by the warm cream border around them. I like landscapes but I personally prefer strong colours in mine so while these were excellent examples, they weren’t to my taste. The gallery was quite busy while we were there and members of public were coming in and out, one woman spent a lot of time looking at the images while Peter Haveland was giving us some thoughts on Chambre-Hardman, he said something that struck a chord with this visitor who took offence and declared that what he was saying was incorrect and that she knew Chambre-Hardman. Unfortunately she wasn’t willing to stay around to add to the debate and left us all quite amused.
Examples of work by Edward Chambre-Hardman
Highlights of the visit
Meeting Keith Roberts- we’d spoke via email and phone during my last course
Catching up with some of the other students some that I hadn’t seen since the Leeds study weekend
Being introduced to new photographers- loved Tabitha Jussa- definitely my kind of work
Getting a different take on landscape from a photographer that I hadn’t previously been introduced to
After the visit ended, I wandered around Liverpool looking for suitable buildings and locations to photograph for my next exercises and assignment. On the way back from Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, I just happened to pass Chambre-Hardmans house in Rodney Street which is now owned by the National trust. While it wasn’t open at the time, I’ll certainly make an effort to return and to have a look around