Tin types: more collodion

My collodion at NPG: the photographers upside down view before the tintype is made

Chelin Miller kindly shared her film of ambrotypes (collodion on glass)  being made at the NPG: it’s not the same as tin types (on metal). This includes me – at 1.38 – as one of the people talking about taking part at the NPG: I’ve already written something about this here – including more details …

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The Cycle of Life

Watered by the warm water I used to wash my dad's dead body, the little black and white forest grows and greens. As it starts fruiting., the cycle of life becomes obvious

I’ve produced a series of artworks sharing some of what I learnt about the Cycle of Life whilst my dad was dying. My dad wisely didn’t stop living just because the doctors told him that he was terminally ill. Like many doctors, I had thought I was something of an expert at dying. But then …

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Memory Palace

In the Mind of the Beholder. Gilbert and George. Seen in White Cube Memory Palace 2018

I was in Bermondsey and so grabbed the chance to have a look at the Memory Palace in the White Cube. The accompanying booklet tells me that “memory defines us”. And that art is “a powerful medium for stories missing from history’s official record”. Three of the items felt especially relevant to my current work …

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Bosch, strawberries, and high fashion

Detail from Hieronymus Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights: one of many strawberry symbolising the pleasure of forbidden fruit

I always learn something from the regular Sotheby’s Selects emails. This month the focus is on Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights c.1490-1505. Here, I’m adding a little to Sotheby’s excellent summary. This reminds us that Bosch’ triptych starts closed to display the third day of the Biblical formation of the earth . The left wing …

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Dorothea Lange and the Politics of Seeing

Barbican exhibitions of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship 2018

I was excited to go to the Barbican exhibitions of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship‘s photography. But what I found out is the Politics of Seeing can be just as rotten as any other Politics. Lange has been described as “principled .., a heroine of the lens“. After her most famous photo, Migrant Mother, was …

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Looking round corners with Black mirrors

This gazing ball is one of those black mirrors that tempt you into looking off to the side, at the unseen and unseeable. Find out more in my Birkbeck blog on walking around a black hole.

What tremendously thoughtful fun I had meandering round Birkbeck with a black mirror, gazing into a fairy ball!  Sheila Ghelani had designed our route by placing one of the mirrors she’d created onto a map: we were going to meander around the black hole thus created. Decked out with palm-size pebbles of mirrors in black …

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Gazing at a new planet: the Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi,c.1500 Leonardo da Vinci, oil on walnut 45.4 × 65.6 cm. Image from Wiki

What can we learn from how we look at Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi? I’m really interested in how we look at things. I already mentioned the Mona Lisa as an example of something that maybe we look at in the same way every time. I compared this with the ‘art’ on 15th and 16th century mosques …

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The birth of art photography: collodion

Here's a pop-up collodion studio. As you can see, the birth of art photography is not straightforward.

Collodion underpinned the birth of art photography. Some of this was shown in the 2018 NPG exhibition on Victorian Giants. I’m mainly working digitally now – but collodion offers a much more physical process. You’re not going to take scores of shots and spend time picking the best one. And you can’t just press undo …

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Surface work

Adriana Verejao’s 2018 Azulejao (Moon)

Surface work in Victoria Miro ‘s Mayfair gallery  “reflects the ways in which women have been at the heart of abstract art’s development over the past century, from those who propelled the language of abstraction forward, often with little recognition, to those who have built upon the legacy of earlier generations … to open new paths of optical, emotional …

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