Showing posts from June, 2018

Exhibition Review: Mads Holm, About Common Ground, SWG3

Twelve framed colour photographs strung out along the white walled reception and bar areas of SWG3 make Mads Holm’s brief but intense statement About Common Ground. This exhibition pictures the power dynamics of western society today. People appear in most of the photographs but nobody looks directly into the camera lens. Holm’s subjects are presented relatively isolated in repose, or together in flocks. Figures of power are contrasted with the atomised and lonely. The simple provisions of life compete with the mundane spectacles that tame us. 
In Control is a photograph of two men in dark suits, standing conspiratorially with hands in pockets by a red stoplight. One wears a purple Paisley pattern tie. Are they corporate schemers? Are they political power brokers? “Mince” is the eye grabbing detail in Intersection/ Action IV a picture of a large puff of smoke at a crossing. What just went off? In Foreigner a woman stands alone in a darkened room looking out into the light, the faint tr…

Work in Progress: Jolanta Dolewska, Breathless

A life ends when the body stops breathing. In the making of her project, Breathless, Jolanta Dolewska has photographed the internal organs of animals, their skins, and lumps of their body fat. In parallel she has photographed the scarred skin and faceless bodies of living people at the point of exhalation. The work builds a sophisticated metaphor for the vulnerability and powerlessness of humans reduced to biology. Stripped of political agency, without a voice, we are able to be (mis)treated like any other animal. In spite of all, there is lightness in the work.
Where does a project of this complexity originate? In previous projects Holding and Reservoir, Dolewska explores the contingency of photographic images, the architecture and power structures behind the judicial system and the functioning of gaze. Both of these investigations were partly inspired by family history. In a distant time and place, Dolewska’s grandfather was embroiled in a high profile legal case. Although exonerated…

Exhibition Review: Lesley Punton, Below, the rocks plunged into darkness, Studio Pavillion at House for an Art Lover

Lesley Punton’s Below, the rocks plunged into darkness meditates on time and light, the naming and physical experience of encountering mountains and the stories embodied by rocks one might hold in the hand. The work is varied in its forms: video, photography, drawing and painting, text and…. twenty-six fascinating rocks (and a bonus crystal). 
Travelling around the gallery in a clockwise direction, the wall on the left holds photographic works referring to darkness and light but also a Platinum print proposing that: “Remoteness is a medium of clarification”. On the middle wall is an exquisite, selenium toned, silver gelatin print of Strontian made from a Polaroid negative. Strontian is a place, a chemical element, and a pivotal childhood memory for Punton that helped nurture her love of the physical stuff of the earth. In the bay of a large window there is a copy of the artist’s book Upland Birds. At first this seems slightly incongruous but again and again a viewer chooses…