“Working within film and photography as his preferred medium, Douglas constructs life-size, cinematic mise-en-scene, which immerse the viewer into a complex, unknown and unfolding story.” From the press release.
Ooops, I did it again! I pressed publish before I was ready, a slip of the finger. So, if you visited the blog and there was nothing to see, apologies. Today there’s a quick preview of two very different, but equally interesting, photo shows worth checking out.
Canadian artist Stan Douglas first gallery exhibition Midcentury Studio opens at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London on 18 April until 26 May, while Laura Pannack‘s first solo show Young British Naturists opens on 3 May and runs until 29 June at the Gallery One and a Half, so there’s plenty of time to visit both.
STAN DOUGLAS – MIDCENTURY STUDIO
“Since the 1980s Stan Douglas has reappropriated key moments from history, precisely examining political, social and racial shifts, in an effort to deconstruct and reimagine their presupposed and foregone outcomes. Douglas appropriates the fantastical and hyper-real from Hollywood; murder mysteries, Westerns and film noir.
“He frames these minutely researched narratives within the borrowed literary constructs of Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville and Franz Kafka. Working within film and photography as his preferred medium, Douglas constructs life-size, cinematic mise-en-scene, which immerse the viewer into a complex, unknown and unfolding story.
“North American post-war press photographic reportage, and the authenticity of spontaneous off-guard documentation, were the genesis of his research. Anonymity of the photojournalist, his use of authentic 50s era technologies, and authentically dressed actors to portray the characters, affords Douglas the chance to create a series which, whilst being rooted in the contemporary evokes the aura and preoccupation with melodrama of the mid-century through the guise of jugglers, actresses, magicians, carnival curiosities, paparazzi and crime scene reportage. Through these individual casts of characters, Douglas carefully choreographs the underlying tension of the era.”
“In Juggler, a middle-aged, primly dressed, pearl necklace wearing woman stands alone, outside in a dramatically lit garden, mid-toss as she juggles three butcher knives whilst stood on a single foot. Both hands full with the hilt of a knife; the third hovers precariously in mid-air above her head. Douglas in his choice of suspending the image at that precise moment in time, leaves the viewer uncertain of the outcome, when gravity invariably takes hold.” Excerpts from the press release.
LAURA PANNACK – YOUNG BRITISH NATURISTS
Since Pannack graduated from the University of Brighton in 2008, she’s gone from strength to strength. Early in her career, she was the winner of the Hotshoe International Next Perspective Award (the year she graduated) so she’s been on our radar for years. She has a number of prizes under her belt and works on editorial and commercial work as well as personal projects. Last year, she scooped First prize in the World Press Photo Portrait Singles category as well as being a finalist in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards. For her first solo show, Young British Naturists, Pannack returns to her interest in youth culture and marginalised individuals.
“This project provides a mediation on the nature of portrait photography and highlights the traditional role nudity plays within art. What happens when we strip away the elements of personality that are tied to our perceptions of clothing and environment? We know nothing about those pictures – whether they are weathy, poor, educated, uneducated. Panack’s work liberates us from these limiting confines of judgement.
“Though unlike conventional representations, the images in this exhibition neither celebrate nor comment on nudity and human form, but rather on the body’s irrelevance when these strangers meet. Pannack’s subjects are connected and at peace with their identities. Their interest in naturism is not built on voyeurism or exhibitionism, but rather on the sensations their environments provoke; the cold water on their skin, the damp grass between their toes, the sun on their backs. These photographs challenge our assumptions, showing young people as who they are, removed from the trappings of contemporary life and expectation.” From the press release.