|(c) Rob Hudson|
HUG NUMBER ONE:
This was me hugging myself for booking a place on Eventbrite for the talk to be given by the members of the Inside the Outside collective (plus Lynda Laird) at The Argentea Gallery in Birmingham on 1st December.
HUG NUMBER TWO:
Was for Jacqui Booth as we met for the first time in quite a while at Birmingham New Street Station. She too had booked a place on the talk. We walked to the gallery and enjoyed a nice chat over a pint and lunch at a pub just round the corner from St Paul's Square. Jacqui has strong connections with the group having exhibited with them at their show in Nottingham a few years ago.
HUG NUMBERS THREE, FOUR FIVE AND SIX:
These were for Rob Hudson, Steve Segasby, Al Brydon and Joe Wright respectively as we entered the gallery and then at Rob's suggestion, a GROUP HUG with the all of them followed by a kiss and a squeeze from the lovely Jennie Anderson, the owner of the Gallery.
HUG NUMBER SEVEN:
This was for the work on display. It shocked me how good it was and how emotional I felt looking at it. First, there were Al Brydon's brilliant solargraphs which fizzed and blazed on the wall. It was interesting later when a member of the audience raised a question which prompted a discussion about how the works on display spoke for themselves but also how they told a story as the speakers revealed more about their creation during their individual talks. Al spoke particularly about how fascinated he was about how his solargraphs represented periods of time in his life and made him wonder how he and his life had changed over that period. As he spoke, I looked again at the work on the wall behind him and on the screen and they had now become infused with a deeper significance.
Then Joseph Wright's series, "The Floods", dripping with mournful tone and form. The richness of the wash of colour which Joe achieves is incredible. An audience member also complimented Joe on the beauty of his book making and Joe spoke with great humility and love about how much of himself is invested in each volume. I am the grateful and proud recipient of a book of photographs made by Joe and can attest to the love and care put into making it.
The series of photographs by the lovely Brian David Stevens is desperately moving. There is a terribly sad photograph showing a single BT telephone box which is a moving metaphor for the end of the line reached by the many people who have used the cliffs at Beachy Head to end their lives. The irony is that the image is beautifully shot - it provokes a similar wrenching sense of loss as those taken by Chloe Dewe Matthews in her "series "Shot at Dawn" although perhaps more immediate as the deaths at Beachy Head are so recent and continue to occur.
Lynda Laird introduced herself and confirmed that she would like to collaborate on something with me which thrills me beyond measure as I adored her incredible images printed on silk showing the shots of old military bunkers and the surrounding landscape of trees awash with bleeding red. These pictures are truly astonishing but more amazement hit me as I wondered at Rob Hudson's photographs from his series "Mametz Wood", an eerie world of shape and texture which I feel lucky to have visited twice with Rob. His work is magical and poetic.
Then the fearsome set by Steve Segasby, "Malevolence" with its frightening blotches of black which, in the same week we lost Nicolas Roeg, call to mind Roeg's own wonderful cinematography and imagery in "Don't Look Now" although the stains are red in that film - maybe the black blood in "Psycho" is more relevant.There is a strong link here with Al Brydon's bubbles and stains caused by rain leaking into his beer cans containing the strips of film.
Then, finally, wonderful work by Tom Wilkinson, JM Golding and Guy Dickinson which stirs the soul and delights the eye and will prompt me to look at their work in more detail.
In the end, a great five hours in Birmingham ending with a mad dash for the train and a sound sleep all the way to Euston and then home to tell Jane all about it.
A great gallery, a great show and only an hour and a half from London - it continues until 21st December - DON'T MISS!!