New display at The Wilson: Interior Life

View of the new display, 'Interior Life', at The Wilson

View of the new display, ‘Interior Life’, at The Wilson

A new display has opened in the Friends Gallery at The Wilson. I currently work in the gallery’s Collections department and assisted the fine art curator with this show – researching potential themes and paintings from the collection to include, as well as writing one of the wall labels.

This temporary display explores recurring themes of privacy, meditation and solitude through a small selection of portrait paintings spanning more than 300 years from the 17th century to the 20th century. The concept of ‘interior space’ is more to do with the interior life of the sitter, subject and / or artist, and the emotions within their minds, rather than physical place.

Introductory panel to the display

Introductory panel to the display

The caption I wrote about the Hugh Byars painting included in this exhibition

The caption I wrote about the Hugh Byars painting included in this exhibition

Detail of gallery view, with painting by Hugh Byars to the far left.

Detail of gallery view, with painting by Hugh Byars to the far left.

CAPTURED: A review of Rainmaker’s Native American photography exhibition

5 March – 30 May 2015 This article is published in Trebuchet Magazine. I was the Assistant Curator for this exhibition.

'Nikki' by Cara Romero

‘Nikki’ by Cara Romero

‘Captured’ is a groundbreaking exhibition at Rainmaker Gallery, Bristol, in which contemporary Native American photographers shed new light on both the uses of photography and indigenous American life. Together, the six artists represent eight different tribes and each have very distinctive styles and techniques. Their contributions consist of close-up black-and-white portraits, composite photographs woven together, sepia images that are so clear and detailed they look akin to etchings, compositional recreations of famous film scenes, and even a ‘talking’ tintype. This makes for an eclectic mixture of work, although the pieces are united by the artists’ desires to have Native people assert themselves as powerfully present individuals. The bold and often colourful images challenge preconceived notions of American Indians conjured by popular non-Native photographers, such as Edward Curtis (1868-1952), who have fixed in time romanticised ideas about indigenous life. So by presenting work where Native people themselves hold the cameras, this exhibition provides a much-needed reassessment of photography relating to American Indians and their relationships with the photographic lens. It is particularly important for revealing that in reality, their tribal cultures are continually evolving and are no less authentic today than in the past. This is a vast project for Rainmaker Gallery to communicate in its first ever photography exhibition held in its productive twenty-five year history of exhibiting contemporary Native American art. But there is no doubt that the gallery has achieved its unique and important aims.  Continue reading

Alexis Hunter and Jo Spence at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London

Published on Kaleidoscope Magazine’s website blog, September 2013

The Richard Saltoun Gallery, London, presents rarely seen, though highly influential, photographic portraits from the 1970s and 80s by feminist artists Alexis Hunter and Jo Spence. Tackling notions of female subjectivity, self-representation and the dominant (photographic) gaze, the exhibition reveals provocative insights into the empowerment of women. Hunter draws upon her training in painting to blur the boundaries between different media and uses this to subvert categories of political representation. Spence, however, uses photography to re-frame and re-enact her own subjective self, making ideas of erasure, creation and multiplicity fundamental to her practice and political agenda. Both artists explore the presentation of the female body, and through repetition of images and actions indicate there are multiple facets of the self. Some scenes retain the feel of amateur “snapshot” photography, suggesting these issues can be seen by and concern us all. Spence particularly draws upon personal subject matter, making themes of vulnerability, rawness and even tenderness surface in the initially confrontational-looking work. The self is bared almost explicitly in order to do away with cultural masks. This is a highly political and conceptual exhibition, concerned with defamiliarizing the image. Implicitly, it asks how can the female body be seen for what it is, as a self, rather than a set of cultural signifiers.

Alexis Hunter and Jo Spence’s exhibition curated by George Vasey at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London, will run through September 27.