AboutThis exhibition brings together three photographers who take the domestic space as their subject. The selected series of works by each artist, made over long periods of time, utilise everyday existing interiors and domestic objects to transform the ordinary into the uncommon.
By chance or through deliberate construction and placement, objects interplay with carefully chosen interiors to evolve a subtle contemplation on the concept of the domestic and that which is familiar to us.
Curated by Celia Davies, Head of Projects, Photoworks
1. Sian Bonnell
Sian Bonnell originally studied sculpture at Chelsea School of Art and used photography to document her work. Then, as now, the work was often ephemeral and as a result the photographic document became paramount: eventually the photograph itself became the work, rather than a record of it. Often using found and household articles, Sian purposefully places objects in new and frequently odd situations.
These âinterventions' create new fictions and enter into the potential of our own imagination. This exhibition includes a selection from her series Everyday Dada which took three years to complete.. Begun as a playful comment on the banality of the illustrations on food packaging with the legend âserving suggestion' underneath; the work has since developed into a series of âchapters' following different themes around the nature and quality of the food sold in supermarkets. The work explores the boundaries between still-life and sculpture. In doing so, she creates playful yet provocative depictions which heighten our perception of our domestic environments.
Sian Bonnell is a UK based artist whose work has been exhibited and published widely. Her book Everyday Dada was published in 2006 by Dewi Lewis Publishing. She is currently undertaking a prestigious Photoworks British School at Rome Fellowship. More recently, her work is featured in Auto Focus, The Self Portrait in Contemporary Photography edited by Susan Bright and published by Thames & Hudson. Sian combines her photographic work with research and lecturing at University College Falmouth and TRACE the curation and publishing project which she runs from her home in Cornwall.
2. David Spero
Since the early 1990s David Spero has worked on a number of interconnected photography projects. In his ongoing series, Constellations, which began with Ball Photographs in 2001, the artist introduces âthree dimensional arrangements'; coloured rubber balls, audiotape and strips of wood into existing and often transitory locations. These disrupt, transform and map new connections and patterns in the spaces represented in the resulting photographs.
The images record delicate lines and nodal points, marking out three dimensional forms in space that appear to fluctuate between different planes as our sense of perspective shifts back and forth between different points of reference. The forms, made by a process involving chance and order, sculpting and drawing, respond quietly to the spaces in which they have been constructed, creating connections between structure, light and space.
David Spero has had several solo exhibitions New Art Gallery, Walsall (2006) and the Photographers' Gallery, (2005) and was included in the group show How We are: Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London (2007). His work is in numerous collections, including the V&A and the British Council. In 2009 he was awarded the first Photoworks Fellowship at the British School at Rome. He has a solo exhibition at the National Media Museum, Bradford in 2011.
3. Nigel Shafran
Nigel Shafran's photographs are quiet observations of daily life, often focusing on deliberately low-key subject matter. For Shafran this is described through the people, places and objects that fulfil an important part in his daily life. This exhibition features Compost Pictures 2008-9. Like all of his work, these images are not constructed for the camera, but are everyday scenes he chooses to photograph in the given light. Here, the subject is a closely framed corner of a kitchen; prominent within each photograph is a small purple bowl, containing organic matter ready for the compost pile. These seemingly simple photographs are understated and gentle in what they convey; it's possible just to dwell on the domestic detail in each, but also to read with ease a more abstract sense of the movement of time, of light tracing over objects, of time slowed down to a stillness. A sequence of recorded repetitions, these photographs quietly document an enjoyment of the ordinary phenomena of the everyday.
Nigel Shafran's recent exhibitions include London Calling, 2010 at James Hyman Gallery; Theatres of the Real 2009 FotoMuseum Provincie Antwerp, curated by Joanna Lowry & David Green; How we are: Photographing Britain, 2007 at Tate Britain. Shafran's work is included in several public collections including Victoria and Albert Museum; Simmons and Simmons; MMK Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt' and âArts Council Collection; British Land Art at Plantation Place; Nottingham Castle Art Gallery and Museum.