Fen Ditton Gallery are delighted to welcome back artist photographer Paul Hart to the gallery following the successful first introduction of his work here last autumn as part of the ‘Trees Observed’ exhibition curated by Amanda Game. Amanda has been working with Paul in the meantime to select a new series of prints from his series ‘Drained’ and ‘Farmed’ which will be exhibited in Fen Ditton this autumn. His compelling images draw us into ‘the hidden truth of the ordinary places that most of us pass by’ - Fen landscapes familiar to all of us living and working in or near Fen Ditton yet rarely presented to us in this way. Paul has had a successful past year winning the inaugural Wolf Schusitsky Photography Prize followed by a major show in London and having works selected for the RA Summer Exhibition.
In a recent discussions with Amanda about the art of photography at the newly opened, magnificent V & A photography galleries the idea was born for Paul to nominate one or two other artists whose work he admires to show a print as part of ‘Land Lines’. We were delighted at this prospect as, with both Lotte’s own background in photography and Amanda’s growing interest in the subject, Fen Ditton Gallery will be building a regular programme in this area.
Mark Steinmetz is a leading Amercian photographer based in Georgia who has works in many significant public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We will be showing three prints from his ‘Pastoral’ series dated 2011 mostly images taken around Tennessee.
As with Paul’s ‘Farmed’ and ‘Drained’ ‘Pastoral’ is also a photographic book - there will be a reference copy available for viewing. Steinmetz talks of his ‘interest in the dichotomy between nature and culture’.
As his American agents Claxton Projects state: “Steinmetz has described his approach as archaeological – attuned to the ambience of the locations he shoots in, to shifts in light, to incremental changes in the atmosphere, and to the fluid nature of time itself.”
Steinmetz is showing for the first time, we think, in the UK.
Fay Godwin (1931-2005) was probably one of the UK’s most influential photographers of the UK landscape. The majority of her archive is in the hands of the British Library but we have managed to source examples of her work from two different sources. From the family of the late, great printmaker Hugh Stoneman we have two beautiful photogravures from the Remains of Elmet series, created in collaboration with the poet Ted Hughes (1979/1994).
From her own family we will have 3 silver gelatin prints from different periods of her career but all illustrated in one or other of the major publications associated with her work (Land; Our Forbidden Land; The Edge of Land and Landmarks (the 2001 Barbican Gallery retrospective). Although, as with Paul’s work, people are rarely seen in the images, traces of people’s lives, and their relationship with specific environments are embedded in the images. As the artist herself said in the preface to The Edge of Land ‘the people who speak…do so as voices in the landscape.’
Poet laureate, Simon Armitage, who wrote the preface to the Barbican catalogue, Landmarks, comments; “There seems to be a point of view but never a caption.. as with metaphor in poetry the meaning of a Fay Godwin photograph is implied rather than spelt out….”