Final Crit July

Works shown at a final crit session in Baltic 39:

(followed by some feedback from group crit session)

and then

and then:

and then:

and then:

Feedback notes to work on:

  1. Firstly, the response was really positive.  People liked the work, really interesting and focused questions emerged on all of the work in turn. This was  positively and usefully critical.
  2. The space in Baltic 39 and the big white walls with some daylight was fantastic for presenting work, this undoubtedly helped people perceive it.
  3. The metal scrolls of photos worked well and people liked the idea of them. After discussion it was felt that they were a pair and would benefit from not being separated, looked good as positive and negative on film and probably should not be an interactive piece. Sandra J spoke about the historical nature of this piece – the importance of how words could interpret the nostalgia embodied in the conceit of the idea.  She suggested looking at mediaeval words relating to the land and ownership
  4. The ‘Lacking’ vinyl box was found very intriguing – people liked the glossiness and the simplicity and the ‘wrapping’.  There was some debate about this as a stand alone piece or as part of a series.  I need to consider this carefully, both positions had merit.
  5. The large image of chopped wood with poetry text was the least of interest – although the biggest and most contrasty of the pieces – this, I think, is the final evidence that the words and image might work on the small pieces, but not at this scale.
  6. People were attracted to the Japanese style hanging scrolls pieces and appreciative of their intent, but the valid criticism was that they looked too like ‘the real thing’ – they could really be a product from IKEA.
  7. The trials for altered pieces of furniture were easily the most exciting thing for  most people.  People liked the unfinished nature of the work, how the images had been applied and the contrast of drawing to vinyl and printed chipboard.  There were positive comments linking the material with images of the place of manufacture.
  8. There were many questions around the ‘attractiveness’ of the 3d pieces, how do you use that to draw in viewers, but also disarm them with the issues.

Experiences inside the black tent

flowerheads-6Yesterday we welcomed a tented  ‘Camera Obscura’ to school, partly as a late summer term experience and a way of linking digital photographic practice back to the origin of photography.  Janet Ross from VARC – Visual Arts in rural Northumberland and Artist Helen Pailing assembled the tented structure in front of school and welcomed students into the dark space to view the light images created onto a white board projected by lens and mirror mounted at the apex of the teepee-like structure.

The experience for students was fantastic, the tent was small and intimate, dark  and then suddenly  illuminated by the almost magical image of their school.  Conversations and questions were asked, concepts of  focus and depth of field were illustrated, links were made with the science of optics and refraction,the  history of photographic practice was discussed and the feelings of standing on the base of a camera in a dark room were expressed and valued. An excellent education experience.


opened boxes

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Opened Boxes

I cannot yet reveal all that is in me

a half empty vessel pours and reveals only the bottom of the jug,

the inside of a broken heart for surgeons and healers

ascribing epithets and epigrams:

The Radical Navigator

closes minds or opens boxes,

plots the course or straps the helm

integrity, intelligence, helpfulness,

is the Steward’s tale.


Camera Obscura

A visit to the Bristol Camera Obscura, with my nephew from Australia. Just like a visit to a darkroom for the first time, the effect of seeing an image emerge from darkness is wondrous.  The experience is somehow even more mysterious when you think about the simplicity of the idea and the straightforwardness of the technology.  The images taken on my iPhone capture images showing partly the distortion of the lens and perhaps exaggerated by the display on a slightly curved table (which may have been intended to reduce lens distortion.  It is not a static image – you can rotate the lens to show different views and people move through the park, clouds scud across the sky and the light changes, it is almost as if the image flows from above and even the intervention of a hand will not prevent the cascade of light. The relationship of the viewer with the image is one of distance and implied power, we can watch their lives and maybe intervene?  It is how the old movies used to show the Gods on Olympus looking into a reflective pool to decide on how to intervene in the lives of petty mortals.

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