Ewen Spencer’s ‘Kick Over the Statues’ at Fabrica for Brighton Photo Biennial is an energetic, atmospheric, statement exhibition. Spencer is known for shooting for visually driven style magazines, focusing on youth culture and creating artwork and campaigns for bands such as The Streets and The White Stripes. The photographer created this work during the summer, along the streets of London’s Notting Hill Carnival, setting out to celebrate the culture, style and subcultures.
The exhibition is an honest depiction of youth culture and the streets. Here subculture is in the hands of the young, as they take and reinterpret the youth cultures of the past, re-appropriate, occupy the streets and urban spaces and fill them full of colour, energy and atmosphere. The space at Fabrica is curated to show the work as a visual, imposing feast, jauntily dominating and creating an unnerving but very enjoyable experience.
The exhibition, hosted by Brighton Photo Biennial at the Brighton University Gallery, seeks to distinguish the historical and contemporary expressions of the Black Dandy phenomenon in popular culture. This project features portraits of black young men who defy stereotype and our understanding of masculinity within the Black community. It intersects class, ideology, ethnicity and style.
The subjects are all black men yet they are diverse in ethnicity. They are photographed in in city-landscapes across three continents in a mix of Victorian fashions and traditional African fabrics. The project is not specific to locations or communities and acts as a visual counter argument to what has previously been embraced by the mainstream. The exhibition provokes and celebrates and is beautifully presented.
The Peter Kennard exhibition at mac, Birmingham, entitled ‘Off Message’ is a retrospective featuring works from 1968 – 2016, curated by Craig Ashley. The works featured are testimony as to why Kennard is considered one of Britain’s most important political artists.
Off Message, mac Birmingham
Kennard uses recognisable images, often from the media, works with them to ensure they become powerful, often unacceptable representations of war, politics and the impact of weapons and political decisions. An image of a broken missile, which can be seen in the exhibition, is perhaps the artists most famous work, a 1980 photo-montage he produced for the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
The exhibition and the work is as relevant today as it was when it was created and many of Kennard’s recent collaborations, including with Banksy, further evidence his relevance today.
The William Eggleston Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery features 100 works from the 1960s to the present day. Although small, and left wanting more, the exhibition is momentous and both the big and small moments captured hold significance. Eggleston’s pictures are the portraits of a place and time.
Born in Mississippi Eggleston photographed the south, the colour and the temperature. The exhibition starts with black and white photographs but even then Eggleston says he was thinking in colour. The earliest colour photograph is ‘By God it all Worked’ (1965) which was a joy to see. The boy pushing trolleys in the early evening heat and sunset, his golden hair, the metal trolleys and metallic reflections is an intimate story of an everyday scene.
Eggleston’s photographs are of the mundane and the eccentric lifestyles, they are psychologically ambiguous and show the shifting, changing, developing world. As to be expected the exhibition shows how much he was a pioneer and master of colour.
EAST MEETS WEST is an exhibition of contemporary photography and moving image by 16 emerging artists. This remarkable exhibition includes works that represent the talent and ambition of artists in the Midlands today.
The artists responded to an open call to practitioners based within the Midlands, or those who have graduated from a Midlands-based University in the past three years. The opportunity was devised in response to and was required to relate to the theme of ‘Leisure’ – a core theme explored in Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf exhibition at Quad, an installation exhibited during summer 2016.
The exhibition includes an ambitious, fascinating and diverse collection of interpretations, from projects delving into a broad range of ‘leisure’ activities and events including walking, swimming, collecting, drinking and travelling. The exhibition is a remarkable commentary on what people do today in their leisure time.
The exhibiting artists are; Jim Brouwer & Simon Raven, Jakki Carey, Theo Ellison, Attilio Fiumarella, Emma Georgiou, Anne Giddings, Daniel Hayes, Geoff Hodgson, Amy Huggett, Holger Martin, Tracey McMaster, George Miles, Marta Soul, Clive Wheeler and Dan Wheeler.
The project is a partnership with Format International Photography Festival, Quad, Derby and GRAIN Projects, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.