Open Eye Gallery is one of the UK’s leading photography spaces, located on the Liverpool Waterfront: www.openeye.org.uk - If you're interested in writing for our blog please email: charlotte@openeye.org.uk 

Cristina De Middel donates prints!

We are thrilled to announce Cristina De Middel has donated the prints from her commission, Super Untitled, for our Liverpool Biennial 2014 exhibition, Not All Documents Are Records. The body of work has a strong link to Liverpool and will be a fantastic addition to our archive.

PRINT 04 censored copy   PRINT 07 censored copy

During the making of this commission, the artists whose works appeared in the photographs chosen by De Middel were contacted to seek permission
for reproducing part of their work. Several artists resisted her intention to reference their work and vetoed the images. Thus, De Middel had a moral decision to make, and consider the legal implications that this could present.

PRINT 03 censored copy   PRINT 10 censored copy

With regards to copyright, De Middel’s manipulations arguably fall under ‘fair use’, as each image radically changes the original imagery and the context, transforming it into something else, becoming her own work.

Furthermore, as Open Eye Gallery is a not-for-profit organisation and the photos are not for sale, there would be no commercial gain from the works.

However, De Middel decided to physically alter her prints and intervene further, erasing the vetoed artworks from her compositions so as to highlight the issue.

PRINT 06 cesored copy   PRINT 01 censored copy

This raised questions about appropriation: If is acceptable for an artist to create new works using appropriated materials, why then is it not acceptable for a photographer to create new works using images of art? Secondly can photography claim its artistic autonomy in this instance and overcome the obligations of pure documentation?

Ultimately, this piece interrogates the authenticity of photography, whilst clearly highlighting the tensions between documentation and creativity that photography itself encompasses.

Untitled, Limited Edition of 50, Cristina De Middel

Untitled accompanies De Middels commission, Super Untitled, for Open Eye Gallery’s exhibition Not All Documents Are Records, as part of Liverpool Biennial 2014. The newspapers are a limited edition of 50 and are signed by Cristina De Middel. Purchase your copy in our gallery shop for £10 HERE!

Cristina De Middel donates prints! was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Gallery closed for install

The gallery is closed to the public whilst we install our new exhibition:

7 November 2014 – 11 January 2015
Robert Heinecken: Lessons In Posing Subjects

Open Eye Gallery is proud to present the UK premier of Robert Heinecken’s Lessons in Posing Subjects. Curated by Devrim Bayar, the exhibition displays over 250 of Heinecken’s Polaroid photographs alongside sketchbooks and magazine cuttings.

Although he rarely used a camera, Heinecken (1931–2006) is widely regarded as one of the most influential photographers of post-War America.  The exhibition at Open Eye Gallery focuses on the Polaroids Heinecken took between 1976 and 1982 with a SX-70 camera. 

 

Preview Night:
6 November, 5.30pm - 7.30pm

We are partnering Tate Liverpool for a joint launch of our Robert Heinecken: Lessons In Posing Subjects and Tate’s Transmitting Andy Warhol exhibition.

Come along to our preview night and be the first to see this comprehensive exhibition.

Press View
6 November, 2pm – 5pm

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Gallery closed for install was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Emerging Artist: James Dobson

My work is concerned with representations of place; how the natural and the human co-exist, and through the accumulation of time and layering of histories, come to determine the nature of the landscape. This series looks at the topography of the Thames Estuary in connection with its strange past as made manifest through various kinds of historical land use.

The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson  The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson

Excerpt from an accompanying text ‘The Yantlet Line’:

Just off the coast of Chalkwell, on the north bank of the Thames Estuary, stands a five metre high stone obelisk, the ‘Crow Stone’, almost two centuries of tidal movements recorded onto its base in a deep moss-green algae.  When the tide is low, it is possible to walk out beyond the stone, onto a causeway -fragmented and rotten – and traverse the mudflats into the middle of nowhere. At the end of this causeway, on a clear day, you can look out to the other side of the estuary and make out the town of Allhallows, off the coast of which stands another obelisk, the Crow Stone’s counterpart. These two monuments have existed, riparian cairns, watchful sentinels, in some form or other since 1285 and the imaginary line between them is called the Yantlet Line, an ancient border crossing marking the edge of the jurisdiction of the City of London over the river. If it is possible, or useful, to distinguish the point at which a body of water turns from fluvial to maritime, then it might be said that the Thames makes its transition somewhere around this line.

The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson  The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson

Here water stops flowing and starts spreading, tides ebb and flow, space opens up and time expands – the earth yawns, the estuary slowly breathes a liquid, leaden air. It was in between these estuarine tides, at the turn of the 20th Century, that Conrad’s Marlow told his story of the Congo, mind and water intermingling, allowing his thoughts to travel from the lingering river to distant corners of the earth, “indeed nothing is easier […] than to evoke the great spirit of the past on the lower reaches of the Thames,” he said, crossing the Yantlet Line, the gateway from “the tranquil dignity of a waterway […] to the uttermost ends of the earth”.

The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson  The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson

Today the tidal movements of the Thames Estuary still cast their slow spell over the landscape; they have done for time immemorial, and will continue to do so until its banks are its bed, the prospect of which might not seem so far off – indeed it is almost impossible at times to distinguish the point at which land ends and water starts. Not quite river, not quite sea – not quite water, not quite land. It seems that this meeting of opposites has acted as a catalyst for shaping the history of the estuary’s surrounding land; a dispersion of military detritus, industrial sprawl and agricultural expanse has faced the water and soaked up its solitary hypnotism for centuries – culture and nature entwined in a melancholy dance of flux and stasis.

The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson  The River Lingers (2013-14) © James Dobson

www.jamesrdobson.com

Emerging Artist: James Dobson was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Emerging Artsit: Hannah Cassidy

After studying & mastering camera skills and direction at both Liverpool John Moores and then New York Film Academy in Manhattan NY, I have gone on to work on some of the most popular television shows in the UK such as X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Coronation Street and many more. Working in the TV industry fed my passion for working with cameras so I took the leap to follow my dreams and ambitions and work within the world of creative photography.

© Hannah Cassidy

© Hannah Cassidy

I mostly like to photograph entertainment artists, fashion and modern culture. I have an eye for capturing the true vibe and personality / atmosphere of both scenery and people. I call myself a visual creative and photographer because I often like to combine my creative design skills with my photography vision. I have had some of my photography selected by Vogue / Vogue Italia and other magazines and online publications.

I recently photographed barber extraordinaire, Cutthroat Pete in his new store on Gradwell Street in Liverpool city centre. Pete was a joy to collaborate with as his passion for his work is equal to mine for photography. We both shared the same vision for the shoot – our aim was to capture the true atmosphere and ambience of his store and the barber experience that the customer has. The final shots received an amazing response on social media and blogs and also featured in a menswear style blog with over 30 thousand subscribers. The shots are also going to be featured in Modern Barber magazine.

© Hannah Cassidy

© Hannah Cassidy

I am always looking to collaborate creatively with people/businesses. If you would like me to photograph/provide creative direction for you, please get in touch: @hannah_cassidy or email me: hannahbcassidy@gmail.com

Blog
Twitter

Emerging Artsit: Hannah Cassidy was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

EMERGING ARTIST: MADELINE DUDLEY-YATES

This work is a collaboration with nature. It began as a fragmented collection of landscapes, organic textures and forms which then became my artistic materials. The twisting, bare branches of winter trees became elegant, ornamental backdrops to be embellished with the layers, textures and colours of nature.

As a photographer I have always created work which explores man’s relationship with the natural world. In previous projects I have focused on man’s selfish manipulation of the landscape in order to benefit our needs. These needs all too often have a detrimental effect on both the ecosystem involved and the aesthetic qualities of the landscape itself. However, in my personal relationship with nature I am able to visually manipulate the landscape for my own needs whilst leaving the source of my materials in the natural world itself unchanged.

I hope for the work to convey a sense of spirituality; a transcendent vision of nature that might be used as an instrument for the viewer to meditate upon their own relationship to the natural world.

EMERGING ARTIST: MADELINE DUDLEY-YATES was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Artist Book: Ira Lombardía

Ira Lombardía:
And I think to myselffffffffff, what a wonderful worlllllllllld
£15 unsigned
£20 signed, limited edition of 50

This self-published zine documents Ira Lombardía’s journey in which she created a fictional artist and physically placed “their” work in the exhibition catalogue of dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, 2012.

Artist Book on display at Open Eye Gallery

Artist Book on display at Open Eye Gallery

The text, written by Lombardía herself, is almost a diary. She states her thoughts about the work, how she took photographs and bought the catalogue. Later she goes on to explain how she removed the pages of a particular artist from an original exhibition catalogues, and then placed the fictional artist’s work in its place. Lombardía has explained this book as a history of how she produced the artwork.

The text is written in both Spanish and English, the first section (in Spanish) is accompanied by images, some that she included in the catalogue as the fictional artist’s work. Although there are not many images included, there’s one that stands out; a scanned hand written letter Lombardía sent to Erkki Kurenniemi, the artist who she cut out of the original catalogue, she apologises for cutting him out and explains the reasons for it.

“My name is Iraida Lombardía, and I’m a criminal of sorts.” This opening statement along with a letter and text explain her feelings about removing Kurenniemi’s pages from the book.

This is not a typical art or photography book; unlike most artists’ texts, Ira Lombardía’s explains the processes taken to create the piece shown in the gallery. The text contextualises the outcome and gives an insight into Lombardía‘s practice as an artist.

Words by Caroleanne Rennie
Images and video by Liam Peacock

Artist Book: Ira Lombardía was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Emerging Artist: Kiran Mensah

We all know that a persons eyes can tell a story about them, so I decided to strip the things that distract us when starring at an image, such as colour, a noisy background, clothes and so on and just got up close and intimate with my subject to concentrate on the mystery they hold within their facial features and mainly their eyes. I started with my own family and broadened out to my friends and then eventually strangers I didn’t even know, I was just grabbing people of the street that I felt would make an interesting image and took their portrait. This brought me a totally different images every time, as the sitter was no longer comfortable with me as my family and friends were but they had a slightly more awkward look to them when all photographs are put together. I have 24 portraits and counting, this in an on-going project with no end date. My main inspirations are Steve Pyke, Richard Avedon and David Baily, Since deciding to study photography at the age of 16 I have always been drawn to portraiture, so when looking up famous photographers I was always blown away by their works. Pyke’s work especially caught my eyes, as I loved how his work was not as serious as Avedon’s images where but still had the same amazing quality. I use a Mamiya C33 with a 50mm lens and a tripod, I only ever shoot with natural day light and I used to only ever hand print my work but now I have left university I scan my images in and edit them via Photoshop.

Website: www.kiranmensah.co.uk

Twitter : Facebook : Tumblr : Instagram

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

© Kiran Mensah

If you are interested in being featured as an emerging artist please contact charlotte@openeye.org.uk

Emerging Artist: Kiran Mensah was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

NOT ALL DOCUMENTS ARE RECORDS: CRISTINA DE MIDDEL

Not All Documents Are Records:
Photographing Exhibitions as an Art Form
5 July – 19 October 2o14

Spanish photographer Cristina De Middel came to international prominence with her now sold-out work entitled The Afronauts, a fictional photographic account of the 1964 Zambian space programme that never came to be fully realised.

After a successful 10-year photojournalist career, De Middel became disappointed in photo documentary; the consumption of ‘authentic’ images and the lies accompanying them made her cynical.

Biennial Open Eye -Paul Karalius (2 of 31)

During the making of this commission, the artists whose works appeared in the photographs chosen by De Middel were contacted to seek permission for reproducing part of their work.

Several artists resisted her intention to reference their work and vetoed the images. Thus, De Middel had a moral decision to make, and consider the legal implications that this could present.

Regarding copyright, De Middel’s manipulations arguably fall under ‘fair use’, as each image radically changes the original imagery and the context, transforming it into something else, becoming her own work.

Biennial Open Eye -Paul Karalius (24 of 31)

Furthermore, as Open Eye Gallery is a not-for-profit organisation and the photos are not for sale, there would be no commercial gain from the works. However, De Middel decided to physically alter her prints and intervene further, erasing the vetoed artworks from her compositions so as to highlight the issue.

This raised questions about appropriation: If is acceptable for an artist to create new works using appropriated materials, why then is it not acceptable for a photographer to create new works using images of art? Secondly can photography claim its artistic autonomy in this instance and overcome the obligations of pure documentation?

Biennial Open Eye -Paul Karalius (3 of 31)

Ultimately, this piece interrogates the authenticity of photography, whilst clearly highlighting the tensions between documentation and creativity that photography itself encompasses.

In Conversation: Cristina De Middel & Lorenzo Fusi

NOT ALL DOCUMENTS ARE RECORDS: CRISTINA DE MIDDEL was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

formalism in photography

On the persistence of formalism in photography by John Meehan

The exhibition Not All Documents are Records is Open Eye Gallery’s reflective contribution to the 2014 Liverpool Biennial. The exhibit is an exploration of the question: “Can photography be the site where the history of an exhibition is produced and still retain its independent artistic autonomy, thus overcoming pure documentation?”

I have visited the exhibit several times, mainly to study the 26 photographs comprising Hans Haacke’s Photographic Notes, documenta 2 (1959). Of the four artists represented in the show, it is the images by Haacke and Ugo Mulas (of the 1968 Venice Biennial) that seem to answer the question most affirmatively.

This view is based on the overt formalism in both artists’ photographs that reveals a self-consciousness of style. Haacke and Mulas were clearly aware they weren’t merely documenting an event but were also attempting to create works of autonomous aesthetic value.

Many of the images have geometric compositions and use intrinsically photographic devices such as lens characteristics and tonal separation as image elements. For instance, Haacke’s image ‘Pollock, Child with Toy, 1959’ has geometry reminiscent of Piet Mondrian’s extreme formalism.  Inclusion of one of Mondrian’s own works in another image (‘Mondrian, Klee, 1959’) suggests the formal structure of Haacke’s image is no accident. Coincidentally, the Open Eye exhibit coincides with Tate Liverpool’s Mondrian and his Studios show.

Photographic Notes, documenta 2, Mondrian, Klee 1959 © Hans Haacke © DACS, London

Photographic Notes, documenta 2, Mondrian, Klee 1959 © Hans Haacke © DACS, London

Similarly, Mulas’s image titled ‘Venezia, 1968. Sala di Gastone Novelli’ blends a strong geometry and lens distortion – especially of the women’s legs – that seems to simultaneously reference not only painters such as Mondrian but earlier surrealist photography by Man Ray, Bill Brandt and others.

Venezia, 1968. Sala di Gastone Novelli, XXXIV Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’Arte “Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved”

Venezia, 1968. Sala di Gastone Novelli,
XXXIV Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’Arte
“Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved”

I have always been drawn to photographs with strong formal elements. Like many photographers, I move between genres when photographing. Street photography rarely allows time to consider the formal arrangement of elements (unless the photographer waits at a fixed location for a final element to arrive). However, still life and architectural photography are particularly suited to this more structured approach.

Following a recent visit to Open Eye Gallery (perhaps under the influence of Haacke and Mulas’ images) I ‘made’ the following formalist image.

Mann Island Building 3, ©John Meehan

Mann Island Building 3, ©John Meehan

This is not an unusual approach to modern architecture, except I have prioritised photographic style over any attempt to represent the building itself. In prioritising authorship over subject, this use of abstraction similarly echoes the modernist photography dominant between the 1920s and mid-1970s.

The Mann Island site occupied by Open Eye Gallery offers many such opportunities given the striking architecture of the site’s new buildings. Similarly, the nearby Museum of Liverpool has become well known to photographers due to its spiralling central staircase. This staircase alone offers endless creative opportunities for formalist photography (even before visiting the excellent exhibits it leads to).

Museum of Liverpool, study #2. ©John Meehan

Museum of Liverpool, study #2. ©John Meehan

Formalist photography was initiated by Alfred Stieglitz’s push for ‘straight photography’ in the early decades of the last century and developed by artists such as Paul Strand, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Weston, Margaret Bourke-White and Minor White. Its influence on photographers working in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Haacke and Mulas featured in Not All Documents Are Records, is therefore not surprising.  Though less fashionable in contemporary photography, formalism remains part of the language of photography.

John Meehan is a Liverpool based photographer and blogger. His images can be found at www.johnmeehanphotography.com and blog at phototheoryblog.com

formalism in photography was originally published on Open Eye Gallery

Paul Morrison: Limited editions

Every two years to match with the Liverpool Biennial Open Eye Gallery changes the galleries exterior walls with different artist’s work. This year as part of the Cultural Programme of the International Festival for Business 2014, we have commissioned Paul Morrison, a Liverpool-born artist, to transform the façade.

Urformen is a cognitive landscape created from a selection of disparate found elements, which are taken from Morrison’s archive. The images are integrated through digital manipulation and form an indeterminate space that is simultaneously flat, yet gives the illusion of strong pictorial depth. The resulting composition functions as a screen that allows the viewer to complete the landscape according to her/his perception, history, memory and cultural associations. The contrasting black and white heightens the work’s visual impact. However, the piece is somehow rich in associative colour.

A long side this amazing wall installation we are offering three Paul Morrison prints, each of these screen prints are limited edition of 100 and are available to buy framed and unframed in our gallery shop and online.

The three prints are presented below:

Paul Morrison, Rosy Fingered Dawnlr

Paul Morrison
Rosy Fingered Dawn
Screenprint with gold leaf
Edition of 100
Sheet size 81 x 100cm
Signed, titled, numbered on the front

Paul Morrison, Phsycotrope

Paul Morrison
Psychotrope
Screenprint
Edition of 100
Sheet size 73.5 x 99cm
Signed, titled, numbered on the front

Paul Morrison, Das Neicht

Paul Morrison
Die Nacht
Screenprint
Edition of 100
Sheet size 81 x 100cm
Signed, titled, numbered on the front

For more information please email info@openeye.org.uk or ring the gallery on 0151 236 6768.

Paul Morrison: Limited editions was originally published on Open Eye Gallery