Valentine Schmidt, Photographer & Sam Hall, Ceramicist
Two artists reveal ‘tensions’ in differing idioms - one through quiet contemplation, the other through playful aggression.
Valentine Schmidt and Sam Hall might seem to be unlikely exhibition partners, one a photographer, the other a ceramist. That is until their work is placed in proximity, then the logic and resonance appear. Tension is at the heart of what both of these artists do, however they deal in different idioms of ‘tension’; one a quiet, almost subliminal whisper of conflicts or neglect which leave revealing marks on souls and places, the other an active agitation and playful aggression springing from one mnemonic incised on the studio wall – fight.
Valentine Schmidt is drawn to subjects that offer an opportunity to find beauty in unexpected places. She instinctively reduces visual complexity to a minimum positioning the subject, whether human or inanimate, within a telling emptiness, enticing and holding the spectator. Her images communicate the atmosphere of the encounter of place.
Sam Hall uses words from his subconscious, both inscribed in his ceramics and on his studio walls, as an activator - not that his work needs activating! His vessels are full of activity, occurrence and presence. “On the wall in [his] studio is a single word, scored into the dust-covered plaster. ‘FIGHT’ it says. It strikes me as a call to arms, an imperative note to self that though life might be a struggle, success can be achieved through a willingness to engage and do battle…” wrote Alex Wade in “The Paradoxical Perfectionist” for Cornwall Today in August 2012. Sam’s work is a lively mix of scruff, gesture, attack, form, and space.
These differing approaches reveal the truth about tension; it is something we internalize and also act out, often in equal and proportionate measure. The sublime beauty in both artists’ work also speaks truth of the beauty to be found unexpectedly in life.
2 Opinions where posted
A great private view turn out!
by ARTHOUSE1 06.07.14 16:22
Thank you to all who came.
And for those who couldn't make it.... do join us next Saturday Summer spritzer afternoon. Open til 7pm
In-tensions - The "Go-to" show
by John Wilkes 09.07.14 15:54
If Bermondsey is to become the new Hoxton, as well as its White Cube for high-rollers it needs small, intimate and friendly art spaces like the recently opened gallery, Arthouse1, in Grange Road, and gallerists like Rebecca Fairman with the energy and commitment to the local art scene to promote her own gallery whilst at the same time developing initiatives like the Bermondsey Art Trail. With a background in design and ceramics she combines business acumen with a refined aesthetic sensibility that is brought to the fore in her latest exhibition, her fourth.
In-tensions is an aesthetic and curatorial triumph. The pairing of a photographer with a ceramicist is bold and visually inspirational, with the dramatic sparseness of Valentine Schmidt's photographs a striking counter-point to Sam Hall's busy, dissonant stoneware.
If you are going on the Bermondsey Art Trail this coming weekend - Sat 12 July - be sure to visit Arthouse1.