The exhibition Suburban Light brings four London-based artists together for the first time at Doomed Gallery, 65/67 Ridley Road, Dalston, E8 2NP as part of East London’s photography festival Photomonth.
The exhibition features Penny Dampier, Naa Teki Lebar, Talitha Robert and me.
It’s on between the 7th – 11th November 2012 and the opening night is the 7th November 6 – 9pm and there will be some live performances under the moniker “Suburban Light Acoustic Night”. Please come and join us.
The suburbs have been much investigated, critiqued, celebrated and sometimes vilified. Suburban living can no longer be seen simply as a utopian escape from urban overcrowding. Nor can the suburbs be considered merely as post-war consumer enclaves built for the convenience of the nuclear family. With the ability to enter a globalised world at the swipe of a screen, the binaries of work and leisure, commerce and home, inner and outer-city have become blurred, even if the idea of the suburb as a homogenous and cultureless space still pervades our imagination.
Unlike much contemporary discourse Suburban Light does not seek to critique the periphery in relation to the centre but to explore the ‘outskirts’ on their own terms. This exhibition suggests the complexities and beauty found on the edges, the in-between spaces, that are at the same time urban and rural, poetic and prosaic, imagined and real. Suburban Light presents an elegiac world where childhood memories and dreams, however dark, are allowed to reign; nature, though abundant is controlled and viewpoints are often upwards, skywards – into the light.
Suburban space in Penny Dampier’s photographs is often claustrophobic – the viewer is confronted with a wall, a ceiling, a window or a road with no way in, or out. Depth of field is shallow, landscapes are frequently out of focus. With these subjects Penny explores the spaces of a suburban childhood. Using analogue techniques her prints and slides suggest a melancholy feminine existence. Ghostly figures inhabit ordinary spaces but like a flashback or a dream there is no clear narrative.
Naa Teki turns her camera to the outskirts of Vienna for this exhibition. She presents us with a personal subjective view of the city’s suburbs, juxtaposing urban city life with a provincial idyll. In this photographic series net curtains, children’s toys, roof tops and telephone wires appear in diffused light, the palette is subdued – it is often evening or night. Naa Teki’s use of light in her photographs creates a world that is both romantic and melancholic. Her arrangement of images in the exhibition suggests a non-linear narrative of the ongoing cycle of life.
Talitha Robert’s large tiled pieces at first appear as formal, abstract, geometric patterns, hinting at the repetition of interior design whether carpet, tile or wallpaper. On closer inspection each tile is a photograph in which nature is tempered, manipulated and brought under our control. What might be a cloud in a blue sky is a vapour trail made by an aeroplane, what might be a jungle is in fact that suburban icon – the pot plant. The abstraction of these images suggests both a modernist attention to form as well as a desire to make the ordinary strange.
In my photographs and assemblages I explore objects and images redolent of the suburban realm. Air-fresheners, concrete surfaces, kitsch ornaments and weeping willows appear together bridging the private and planned public spaces of suburbia. The objects in my photographs are prone to changes of scale, asking the viewer to pay attention to what is often dismissed as banal and ordinary. The framing devices and display conventions I employs hint at the rich heritage of the role of photography and the lens in the family home.
About the artists:
Penny Dampier was born and brought up in London… well, more accurately Enfield, that truly suburban idyll. She is a freelance photographer and practising artist, now based in East London. She was educated at the University of Mid Glamorgan and The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design, London.
Penny’s photographic artwork quietly subverts the everyday and ordinary. She is seduced by the painterly qualities of analogue photography and its subtle plays of light and colour. Her prints and projections of the mundane and domestic are enigmatically beautiful.
pennydampier.blogspot.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Naa Teki Lebar is an Austrian artist and lives and works in London. She has a BA in Fine Art from the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media & Design and is currently studying on a postgraduate course in photography at London College of Communication.
The subjects in Naa Teki’s photographs are always aware that they are both subject and object of the spectator’s gaze. They are culturally displaced as well as spatially displaced within the photographic frame. Her photographs are like theatrical stages; they can be dream-like, absurd and uncanny. Paradoxically they can also appear rational and familiar.
www.naateki.co.uk / email@example.com
Talitha Robert is an Australian artist based in Dalston, London and teaches Art and Design in HE. She studied BA Drawing at Camberwell College of Art and Design and gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication at University of the Arts London. She is also undertaking a teaching/artist residency at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. In addition to teaching and art making Talitha makes the odd pop promo!
Talitha is attracted to geometry and pattern. She deconstructs and subverts the classical Western viewpoint in her photography and film works. By pointing the lens at the sky or attaching it to furniture she undermines the privileged viewpoint of the camera user.
www.talitharobert.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Barr grew up in the outskirts of London somewhere in the hinterland between the M25, the M1 and the A1. She was educated at Falmouth College of Art, Birkbeck College (University of London) and Kingston University. She is a practising artist with a studio at Euroart in Tottenham and teaches Visual Theory at the University of East London.
Using photography, drawing, printmaking, digital manipulation, found objects and outmoded technology Sophie’s arrangements and assemblages explore the hybridity of the image in a global digital world and her own changing relationship to the photograph.
www.sophiebarr.com / email@example.com