I have just come back from visiting the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. I am exhibiting there next week in the 2015 Artmasters Exhibition and wanted to see the space I had been allocated. It looked somehow much smaller in reality than when I had measured it out on the studio floor. So I am currently pondering whether to plonk one work in the middle and give it plenty of room to breath and, if so, which one? Or, should I save myself the agony of choice and go with what I had planned and put in there and risk them looking cramped. That is my dilemma for the week. Of course, I really know the right answer: I just don’t like it.
While I was there, I was able to look round the Photomasters, which is the photography equivalent of the exhibition that I am in. While the Artmasters will shows work from a selection of MA Fine Art graduates from across the country, the Photomasters brings together a selection of recent MA photography graduates. It was coupled with a more conventional photography exhibition, but it was the MA work which I found particularly interesting.The works I liked best, whilst produced by photographic means, could all just as easily have been classified as fine art.
Hazel Davies, who studied at Kingston University produced these intriguing abstracts by taking a apart a Polaroid camera and playing about with the chemicals inside on light sensitive paper. They were then printed on aluminium to produce these strange organic effects. The work was partly a reaction to the digital revolution, Davies explained, she felt it had become ubiquitous and so decided to experiment with taking the camera away.
It was hard to believe that they were not photographs of something, small sea creatures perhaps, under the microscope.
Nigel Tribbeck’s background was sports and fashion photography but he has just completed an MA at Brighton and has also moved towards the abstract, also experimenting with light. He is interested in how the digital camera reacts and interprets light in different situations. His striking colour pieces were achieved by photographing what you might have thought to be the dullest of subjects, florescent lighting tubes. In the finished pieces, nothing of the tubes remain just extraordinary colours.
If Davies and Tribbeck’s works have the quality of abstract paintings, Anna Radchenko’s photographs seemed so painterly.that it was hard to believe that a camera was involved. Radchenko, who took an MA in fashion photography from the London College of Fashion, wanted to produce works to which people could relate and so specialised in these meticulously staged scenes where the tones and colours are carefully controlled but where the effect is completely surreal. These are from her project Melancholy Rooms and are based around the theme of mother’s love. Just look at the expressions on the faces of the mother and daughter. I liked them enormously.
A further photographer who caught my eye was Pietro Catarinella who achieved an MA from St Martin’s College. He divides his time between Rome and London. He used a totally different technique building up images he has taken from the internet to create strange, complex, abstract collages. They are all visually pleasing but at the same time disquieting.
Photomasters is held at the Old Truman Brewery Ely Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London E16QR and closes at 6pm on October 11; Artmasters 2015 is open for the Private View at 6pm on October 15 and runs until 6pm on Sunday October 18.