Recently in galleries Category

The current  exhibition at  Stills Gallery in  Sydney, Australia, is entitled Thirteen   and  it provides a selection of work from a wide range of photographic artists. Thirteen refers to the number of artists some of whom I do not know. Since there is no  online exhibition catalogue  that explores this body of work,  it is a matter of dipping in and having a look.

One photographer whose work I do know, and  for whom I have a lot of respect, is Mark Kimber. His base is in Adelaide, and his most recent series  is Edgeland:

KimberMSupermarketedgeland.jpg
Mark Kimber, Supermarket, from Edgeland, 2008

Kimber is able to use colour as a part of the design of the image and as a mode of expression and so works in the tradition initiated by William Eggelston, whose mature work was characterized by the splashes and blocks of colour amidst ordinary subject-matter, and which has its roots in the photorealists.

Photoforum

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Having recently been in New Zealand on a holiday and photographic exploration I want to draw attention to New Zealand photography and PhotoForum.

I have selected Murray Hedwig, a Christchurch-based photographer:

HedwigMsupermarketNelson.jpg
Murray Hedwig, Supermarket, Atawhai, Nelson, 1983

Hedwig is part of the new wave photography that emerged in the late 1970s with the emergence of the photographer based co-operative galleries. Around 2005 he published Public Spaces, Personal Views.

Photoforum emerged  out of  this photographic new wave and it  is:

a non-profit society dedicated to the promotion of photography as a means of communication and expression.[It's] website showcases New Zealand photographic work and work of overseas photographers with some connection to New Zealand or PhotoForum.

There is a lot on material online to explore.  It has online exhibitions, the most recent of which is Photoforum 33.

Some Background

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These 2 TV series from the ABC TV, had an impact on my decision to start some sort of online repository of art.

First impressions of the concrete canvas issue (or online exhibition?) indicates  that none of the images selected  by the curator include fragments of a figure or a text.  So these pictures  remain within  modernist  boundaries in terms of their photographic ethos or comportment. The majority of the pictures are abstractions that work within what could be loosely called abstract expressionism,  whilst a few are minimalist. 

As such, the pictures cannot be considered as the avant garde overturning tradition,  since abstraction in the visual arts belongs to an era that is passing from living memory  into history. It  is becoming tradition, albeit a powerful one with a lot of life in it, especially  in art photography. Or may this  online exhibition represents a revival of abstraction that resists the assault of the avant garde, since abstraction in the visual arts continues to have a lot of institutional and cultural power. 

One description that comes to mind in looking at the pictures  is that they are photo poetry. Many of the pictures are very poetic in terms of their expression and force.  Therein lies their fascination and their seductive power.

Of course, this raises the question: 'what is poetized photography'?  I  don't really have much of an idea other to point to the liquid, flowing quality of the pictures---their nonverbal, improvisational musical quality  or force if you like--that refers to the more hidden aspects of everyday life.  It is not the art photographer's job to make normal comforting images given that we live in the world of images of  an aestheticized consumer culture.'

In this cross post from junk for code the British conceptual artist/photographer Victor Burgin comments on the way that  art curators are caught up in fashion, rather than fostering a critical and curatorial climate in which long-term critical projects in art can be sustained and flourish.

The quote  is from an "interview" of Victor Burgin in the 1990s in the Journal of Contemporary Art.  by Laura Cottingham. Burgin is asked: If you were in a position to navigate the course of contemporary Western art, what would you chart for the next thirty years? What would you like to see happening in art- making? Or in art's reception? His reply is:
 If you'd asked me that question twenty or more years ago I would have found it much easier to answer. Back then, I wanted to see a dissolution of the hegemony of modernism and an expansion of art-making to include considerations of content that, you may remember, Greenberg defined as "something to be avoided like a plague." I wanted content to be defined not solely in terms of "personal expression" but in terms of critical social and political issues -- considerations that Greenbergian modernism defined as improper to art. I wanted an end to the definition of visual art in terms of the traditional media alone. I wanted to see a use of contemporary technologies and forms that would make a link between what was on the gallery walls and what was in the world outside.
He adds that today most of that seems to have happened, but what didn't happen, or at least didn't happen very widely, was the element of critique.

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