Friday, 29 July 2011

FAD Video: Asbestos Curtain at Galleries Goldstein at Goodhood

Short and sweet! Asbestos Curtain opens this week in Old Street and I grabbed a quick chat with its curator for FAD.

Monday, 18 July 2011

ArtSlant Review: Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography.. at the Royal Academy

Asked to define what makes a great photographer, Robert Capa famously replied that “It's not enough to have talent, you also have to be Hungarian.” And there’s some truth in it. Even a cursory inspection of the most influential photographers in world history turns up a remarkable number of Hungarians, whose aesthetic and innovations influenced every facet of the medium from war reporting to fashion photography to artistic abstraction. When you consider how deeply ingrained the photographic image has become into our understanding, expression and negotiation of contemporary life, this is no mean feat... (read more)

ArtSlant Review: Nan Goldin's Fireleap at Sprovieri

Nan Goldin is a photographer less interested in capturing the decisive moment than gathering snapshots of those people closest to her over a prolonged period of time. Her images of friends and acquaintances since the 1980s, famously including drag queens, club kids and drug addicts, have imbedded in them a sense of time and development of her relationship with her subjects, as well as the way she collates images to create a portrait rather than summing it all up in one shot.

This sense of intimacy and wanting to memorize people through photographing them is key to Godin’s snapshot aesthetic, which she now brings to imagery of children in Fireleap... (read more)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Saatchi Magazine Interview: Wendy Elia for BP Portrait Award and WW Gallery

(Originally published in Saatchi Online Magazine)

When Wendy Elia paints a person they don’t look away. They don’t exist as an object for artistic consumption but as a being, or at least a likeness, who looks the viewer in the eye and raises more questions about her or himself than they would appear to have answered by posing for Elia in her studio. Large scale, crafted in detail and laden with clues and comments, Elia’s portraits register all the enigma and contradiction of a real sitter, not an idealized muse, especially if they’re female. In her smaller, looser and portable paintings that are produced concurrently with these works, she looks to photography or moving image stills as a kind of imprint of a person or persons to then be re-interpreted by the swift stroke of the paintbrush. They may not necessarily be addressing the viewer directly, but these people have already infiltrated our minds through mass media and by painting them Elia makes us view them afresh too. With a painting currently in the BP Portrait Award 2011 at the National Portrait Gallery and a joint show opening at WW Gallery in July, she spoke to Laura Bushell about her work and the pleasures and pitfalls of painting people.

LB: You’ve got two shows with works that are quite distinct from each other, how would you describe your practice?

WE: I seem to work in different painting languages, so there’s the series I do that are my friends and family in my studio with the boarded up fireplace and the laminate floor that are very intense. Within those images that are painted mostly from observation there are lots of small images, which is almost like the outside world coming in. All of these are private, this is the inner world, this is the world that we’re reduced to in a way, shut in the studio coming up with painting. Last year I got a painting into the BP Portrait Award called The Visit V which was a painting of my mother in the studio with the boarded up fireplace and the laminate floor. The laminate floor represents painting really, as it’s a flooring that is supposed to stand for wood flooring, it’s made to look like wood flooring but it isn’t. So in a way it stands as a metaphor for painting that’s supposed to look like the real world but is not. That’s one strand of work and that’s the paintings in the National Portrait Gallery, this year’s one being I Could Have Been A Contender.

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