Energy of images to see and to counsel
Pictures / “The Nook of My Eye” by David Hempenstall and Mark Van Veen. At M16 Artspace till November 6. Reviewed by CON BOEKEL.
THE exhibition title hints on the shared intent – to offer viewers a glimpse after which to ask them to think about past that glimpse.
Hempenstall deploys a classy visible vocabulary. Lots of the particular person photos have an incomplete really feel about them. How does this occur?
Youngsters are caught in mid-action or in half shade, half daylight. They’re usually cropped both by being partly hidden by different parts within the image or due to the cropping of the picture itself. There are truncated ft and legs. Some photos function movement blur or mild portray blur. The youngsters, when given a participatory voice, appear to please in perplexing the viewer.
Shapes, traces, shade and light-weight could begin at nearly random edges of the print and disappear off the opposing edge.
There’s a paradox to the incompleteness. There are connections inside and between the prints that shut the imaginative circle. There are patterns within the alternative of topics: kids, legs, city furnishings, suburban homes, mild poles, fences, conifers and palms.
The curation is excellent. Topics, shapes, shadows and patches of sunshine recur, echo and reverberate alongside the hanging. The tempo varies from the abrupt to the minutely gradual.
One other connecting component is the overt photographer’s presence. Right here, the viewer sees the photographer’s shadow superimposed on a toddler. There, the photographer’s arm reaches out to regular a toddler’s swing. Even the shadow of his digicam will get a glance in.
Hempenstall’s work amply illustrates Friedlanders’ view, quoted within the exhibition notes, “Pictures is a beneficiant medium”.
Van Veen focuses on headstones, graves and, at instances, their instant environment. There are tensions between shut viewpoint and obvious distance, in addition to between the materiality of the marble and the ethereal nature of the mirrored skyscapes. Moisture on the graves typically permits a view of the marble beneath and typically displays mild and even, at instances, each.
As with Hempenstall, there’s a place to begin of incompleteness. The highly effective verticals, horizontals and diagonals generate planes that transfer past the perimeters, off to infinity.
It’s not all the time instantly clear whether or not we’re wanting down at a grave or wanting horizontally at a grave stone. Are we our ft or into the space?
The materiality of the grain within the marble is, in some photos, complemented by hyper-real renditions of lichen, leaves of grass, oak leaves and pine needles. By means of distinction, the mirrored branches lack sharpness and the mirrored skies are amorphous. The visible and emotional vary strikes, due to this fact, from the instantly tactile to past the horizon. Once more, a paradox. Not one of the photos contains a “actual” horizon.
The commonly critical intent is leavened by humour. Hempenstall’s “white pooch” is a visible reference to Friedlander’s Beau Jack peeing on a fence. Van Veen riffs off the graveyard meme by naming certainly one of his prints “Leaves Right here Branches There”.
A part of the pleasure of viewing this exhibition is evaluating the way in which wherein the 2 artists have used completely different printing kinds to deploy sharp element and nebulous shapes. A few of Hempenstall’s toned silver gelatin prints are superbly austere; a few of Van Veen’s digital color prints, printed by Rob Little, function voluptuous color.
The exhibition is private relatively than political. For instance, the environmental cues are practically all launched: palms, conifers and deciduous timber. The only Australian magpie is misplaced in flight.
The exhibition is concerning the energy of images to see and to counsel. It’s not a simple exhibition. It requires work by the viewer. It carries the viewer from the nook of the attention to the thoughts’s eye.
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Ian Meikle, editor