Usually before attending an exhibition in the South West I notify other students; I may have already done so in regard to this exhibition of student work, a graduate show which the OCA advises us to see, but posted no reminder following recent student discussions. These were both anti-Martin Parr and what I would call pseudo feminist!!
Martin Parr is one of the most outstanding photographers of his generation but many people don’t want to see that; of course, he is not beyond criticism and his books about countries of which he is said to have only passing knowledge are questionable although one might also see this as reflecting the irony of the age!? Feminism is a”wonderful thing “ as an author friend of mine recently remarked but the kind of feminism fuelled by anger over assumed wrongs is meaningless and a very far cry from real feminism which is voiced by someone like Germain Greer who recently spoke out about the misogyny of “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, a comedy in which the central character is a man posing as a woman.
I take the train to Bristol but fall asleep on route so missing my stop. Last night was pretty sleepless so hardly surprising! Anyway I get out at Bristol Parkway and take the train back to the centre of town then a taxi to Paintworks, a new complex in which the MPF is based.
On arrival there is a glass of Prosecco! Meet Rudi Thoemmes who owns RRB Photobooks and arranges photographic events. He wonders why I was not at the excellent British Documentary from the 1970’s event which I had booked for but not been able to attend. The RPS are opening premises next door to the MPF so this will enable large scale functions to take place.
One of the first photographers to catch my eye is Matthew Broadhead. He presents two equally sized photographs, black and white prints in brown wooden frames, which on inspection appear to be a diptych, a before and after of a country road with a river to one side and trees. The programme guide informs one that the right image was made in about 1869 and the latter in 2018 by a third-great-grandson. These kind of before and later images, rephotography in fact, never fail to attract me and remind me of photography’s power to record the past for future consumption.
Another body of work in this Foundation exhibition that draws me has an obvious fine art theme with the depiction of a nude. The work is by Katie Dinnage who did her BA in Photography with UWE, the University of the West of England. “Through her work, she is exploring issues of vulnerability, emotions and self through her art.” She is discovering new life. Her website is www.katiedinnage.com
Rudi likes work by Chris Hoare which is titled The Worst Poem of the Universe; there is a small carefully constructed jumble of prints and also a book. This work is about reality, a narrative based around different kinds of photographs. It does not really speak to me perhaps because I have limited interest in pursuing it beyond the banality!
Sophie Sherwood photographs sea shells in depth and presents one image which looks like a large coloured crystal and is called Cosmos. Her work is being exhibited elsewhere in Bristol at the Tobacco Factory.
Another exhibitor who has done a hand made artist book is Jamie E Murray. The book is called Albatross and consists of images made at certain moments in which subject matter is presented without much thought for formal composition being rather asymmetrical views of Royal Navy life while on a boat home following active service. These atmospheric vignettes tell a story of homecoming as well as giving an insight into life in the Navy.
Another interesting group of images made by another M.A. artist have been made from a glass negative of a woman; this has been reworked in various ways providing an insight into the photographic process and the way features such as lines on a face can be pleasantly obscured or even exaggerated.
The invitation is from 6 to 8. At about 8, the party seems to be getting going! There is a queue for the drinks and more guests one of whom I recognise as a tutor from UWE Unfortunately though it is time to get going as I have a train to catch as well as another tomorrow.
Say goodbye to Rudi and Jessa who comperes RRB events. Although I am in time for my train it has been delayed by an hour so I hop onto another but not before consuming two pasties for dinner!!