Visual Culture

Becky Adams

Posted by PH on August 12, 2014
Visual Culture / 1 Comment

Another Private View this week, this time at the newly-refurbished Penarth Pier Pavilion. Becky Adams produces beautiful and painstakingly crafted miniatures steeped in sepia-tinged nostalgia. The very personal world they evoke has a warmth and sly humour that is entirely disarming. Lovely.

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Dario Argento – An Eye For Horror

Posted by PH on August 01, 2014
Film, Visual Culture / No Comments

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H. P. Lovecraft

Posted by PH on July 31, 2014
Visual Culture / No Comments

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Lisa Krigel

Posted by PH on July 15, 2014
Visual Culture / No Comments

This last Friday we were invited to a private view at Craft in the Bay to see (mainly) the Guest Maker show by ceramicist Lisa Krigel. Inspired in part by the documentary photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher, the work evokes a Bauhaus-like aesthetic without being in any way derivative. Beautiful and, yes, fully functional.

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Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern

Posted by PH on May 04, 2013
Marshall McLuhan, Painting, Visual Culture / No Comments

Last weekend I went up to London to see my long-time friend Julian, who had very kindly offered to take me to see the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern (as he’s now a member).

I very much enjoyed the show. Lichtenstein’s work has been worn very thin through over-exposure, but the dead hand of cliché was put firmly in its place by confrontation with the real thing. The first room was dedicated to a number of his “brushstroke” paintings and their impact was immediate and profound: simply being exposed directly to these iconic images at full-scale transforms the experience into something emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating.

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Close-up the paintings come alive: one can’t help but be affected by the colour, the craftsmanship of the outlines, the interplay of the textures, and the painterly eye realized in the coherence and artistry of the overall image.

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With Spray (1962) for example, I spent a long time looking at that thumb: the elegance of those curves, the simplicity of the nail-varnish effect, the quality of that red. And at this scale one can’t see it, but at this relatively early stage in his career those Benday dots are hand-painted.

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These Seascapesfrom 1964 and 1965 are gorgeous.

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Hopeless 1963. 33 years between this one and:

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Landscape with Philosopher 1996.

I thought it significant that the last room of the exhibition had been made-over into a Lichtenstein-only shop (in addition to the substantial one on the ground floor), just in case we forgot why we were really there…

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Afterward we had a whistle-stop tour of some of the other standing exhibits. I spent a quarter of an hour sitting in a room of full-on Rothko’s but, I’m afraid, no good: I just don’t get Rothko at all. Here are a few random snaps:

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Choucair sculpture room. Derivative painting, but everything else very impressive.

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Marshall McLuhan has presumably been into this Cy Twombly room: “Art is anything you can get away with”. He would have had plenty to say about this too, no doubt:

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Finally up to the member’s lounge for a cup of tea. Stunning view. Shame about the freezing cold weather and massive hailstone deluge…

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Leeds Metropolitan University

Posted by PH on April 17, 2013
Education, Music & Technology, Visual Culture / No Comments

Just after Easter Simon Kilshaw and myself drove up to Leeds Met at the invitation of Dr. Nikos Stavropoulos. Nikos kindly took out a large part his day to give us an extensive tour of the campus and the Music Tech facilities in particular: all very impressive.

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Nikos (left) and Simon.

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Unusual B&K dummy head.

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Plink. Plonk.

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Easter in Paris

Posted by PH on April 02, 2013
Painting, Photography, Visual Culture / No Comments

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Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Posted by PH on March 30, 2013
Education, Narrative, Photography, Visual Culture / No Comments

This chilly Easter weekend I’m in Paris for the 3rd Conference of the European Narratology Network. Here’s some pics of the venue: a lovely and extremely varied campus, if a little run-down in places:

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The delegates gather.

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Brian Richardson delivers the one of the first keynote speeches on Friday morning.

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Human sacrifices entirely absent!

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Exciting but brutal modernist workout. Derelict.

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Interesting juxtaposition: Bauhaus-style building with man-monkey statues.

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Raphaël Baroni delivers the final keynote on Saturday afternoon.

The conference? I delivered my paper yesterday and it went as well as could be expected. Overall? Let’s just say that I found the limits of my interest in narrative quite early on…

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Detroit

Posted by PH on February 03, 2013
Film, Photography, Visual Culture / No Comments

Our first exhibit: the full-length documentary Requiem for Detroit by Julien Temple from 2010:

The other side of the coin? A more positive view in a Johnny Knoxville fronted show from vice.com (30 mins):

And to round off here’s a photo essay and commentary from Wired entitled Captivating Photos of Detroit Delve Deep to Reveal a Beautiful, Struggling City.

As the West spirals into decline, is this a glimpse of the future, or simply an aberration? One slightly more trivial point: apart from a mention of Richie Hawtin—born in Britain, grew up in Canada!—in the Julien Temple film, the absence of any discussion of Detroit Techno (or, indeed, any music on the soundtracks) is jarring feature of both films. Plenty of mentions and appearances by the old guard (Motown, MC5, Stooges, etc.) needless to say.

All very strange…

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Dublin, November 2012

Posted by PH on December 06, 2012
Photography, Visual Culture / No Comments

Another quick visit to Dublin. No time to look around, but plenty of dead time in airports. Fortunately I took Brian Eno’s A Year With Swollen Appendices to keep me company—his diary-with-essays from 1996—and consequently came home feeling much smarter. Coincidentally, there are a number of entries in the book about his own visits to Dublin, so keeping in the spirit of things here’s an ambient photo-essay on the airport:

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