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S T E R E O S C O P E the escape issue




This issue of

S T E R E O S C O P E magazine was made possible by a grant from

The Association of Art Historians

The AAH Initiatives Fund offers financial support for projects and events that promote and develop art history education

For more information and to become a member please visit the AAH website at 3

abo ut us :

our mission


this issue

S T E R E O S C O P E magazine celebrates student photography in St Andrews while raising awareness about the photographs of the University’s Special Collections. Working with the support of the University’s Art History Department and Library Special Collections, the magazine is produced annually with an accompanying exhibition. Each issue explores a particular theme. The legacy of photography in St Andrews started with historic resident Sir David Brewster, inventor of the stereoscope. Brewster’s correspondence with William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the calotype, established the town as an epicenter of early photography. St Andrews still plays a role in photographic culture; our university holds one of the largest and most important collections of historic Scottish photography and - following in Brewster’s footsteps - our student body continues to make photographic headway. We have chosen to name our magazine S T E R E O S C O P E in honour of Brewster’s dynamic contributions. Like the instrument, which provides its viewer with a dual-perspective, our S T E R E O S C O P E aims to provide you with views to both the past and present. From our small town, such greatness has emerged. It is this wealth of incredible material that we celebrate within these pages.

Our 2011 issue explores the idea of escape in all its innumerable forms— from introspection to exoticism and all that lies between.

Robert Moyes Adams, Large number of black-headed gulls in the air just above Flanders Moss, three miles north west of Kippen station., 1909. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H54.


The Escape Issue 4 About Us 5 This Issue 8 Letter

Points of View

12 theme: photography as escape 16 inspiration: travel journal 24 profile: Arno rafael minkkinen 28 escape through objects 32 escape from time

Views 40 48 56 62 68

portfolio: james valentine portfolio: ilinca vanau portfolio: hugo shelley portfolio: robert moyes adam portfolio: michelle willmott

Reviews & Interviews

76 interview: roger palmer 80 exhibition review: t h e b oy l e fa m ily bar ra pr o je ct 82 More: Blogs & Competitions 84 Benefactors & Sponsors

Right: Matthijs Ford; Cover: Ilinca Vanau



EDITOR hope brimelow SUB-EDITOR & LAYOUT jackie bach LAYOUT aiden bowman PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR laine kay-lambert LITERARY EDITOR helen dwork LITERARY SUB-EDITORS nina moog & elizabeth kendrick EXHIBITION COORDINATOR eliza doherty EXHIBITION SUB-COORDINATOR neha shastry SPONSORSHIP nicholas guy PUBLISHER carson woś SECRETARY lauren dall



30 April, 2011

After choosing ‘St Andrews’ as the theme for our inaugural issue, we looked for a subject for our second issue that would permit greater creativity in our photographers’ selection process. ‘Escape’ is a broad theme, open to limitless interpretations.

From the number of wonderful submissions we received, we have tried to pull together a range of styles as well as subject matters that define and challenge the notion of escape. Whether it is an escape from the constricting norms of self-image, as in Hugo Shelley’s images of body painting, or the creation of an established vision of escape in James Valentine’s beautiful postcard photographs, we hope that this magazine will begin to define the word pictorally. As we compiled the magazine, I began to think about what I find to be an escape. I think that an individual’s escape is determined by what point in their life they are in. As my graduation approaches, I have begun to reflect on the experiences of the past four years, and have realized that in some ways St Andrews has been an escape through which I have discovered my passions. This magazine is a physical manifestation of that escape and it has become an escape that is now not just my own but also my committee’s. From last year, when this magazine was just an idea, to this, our second issue, I am so proud of everything that we have been able to achieve. As I look forward to seeing how Stereoscope will develop, I know it will continue to be an escape for all of those involved. I hope that in addition it will serve as an escape for you, the reader, who has the chance to escape into these pages. Best,

Hope Brimelow Editor in Chief 11

Photograph by Igor’ Slepov, styling by Georgia Lurie

Points of View

12 16 24 28 32

Theme Inspiration: Travel Journal Profile: Arno Rafael Minkkinen Escape Through Objects Escape From Time


t h e me by

neha shast ry, eliz abe t h kendrick, ni na mo o g

Photography as Escape: Members of the Stereoscope committee examine how the link between medium and concept is present in their own experiences of photography. ‘the creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of giveand-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.’ H. Cartier-Bresson

Photography means capturing something and freezing it in time. A picture can be of a person, a place, a moment, but when photographed it becomes less about the subject and more about the way the photographer sees it. Not only is the photographer capturing something that will never exist in the same way again, they are also creating a totally unique product which represents their own particular perception. The photographs in this issue represent what the featured photographers consider their own modes of “escape”. I see the process of taking these particular photographs as something inherent to the “escape” process. When I press the shutter release button on my camera I am transported into a different world. To escape is to let go of everything one knows, extracting oneself from the present day. That moment when the photograph is taken, the second between releasing the shutter and the picture being taken, is the peak of the escape and once the shutter is released and the picture is taken, you are transported back. The sound of the simultaneous “click” of the shutter and the winding of the film exhilarates me. Despite the brevity of this process, it is the most exhilarating mode of escape I have experienced. Everyone has a specific outlet from their daily lives; photography is mine. Neha Shastry 15

Photography can be considered the most realistic of art forms. Unlike the purely subjective act of painting, the camera lens itself is objective, and gives a recognizable, though possibly distorted, view of the external environment. Yet it is precisely because of this foundation in reality that photography offers the potential for the most potent form of escape: from our default visual modes. Photography expresses the artist’s distinct perspective through the selection of what to photograph and in what way. Whether a spontaneous street shot or a carefully orchestrated studio composition, a strong image reveals itself through its inherent individuality; no one else could have conceived or captured the same view of a single moment in time. When we view a photograph, we have allowed ourselves to escape into another place and time, to see through another’s perspective and visual understanding.

Susan Sontag wrote that ‘In teaching us a new visual code, photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe.’ Our basic perception is enhanced and deepened by exposure to photography, and all the more powerfully because we interpret photographs as depictions of reality. To view a photograph, whether of a distant and unfamiliar landscape or a location one has seen every day, is to be transported from normal experience into experience framed by a photographer’s vision. Beyond that, existing visual interpretations are transformed by exposure to a new perspective. When we readjust our default settings of observation, the most routine surroundings can become defamiliarized and our visual experience heightened. In doing so, we allow ourselves to find escape within our own reality. Elizabeth Kendrick

Photographic visual imagery percolates consistently through daily life. Sometimes it can feel like a bombardment: an outpouring of imagery so vast and varied that it storms in and out of our consciousness without registering true impact. Whether it is viewing one of the many ill-conceived snapshots of friends online, a framed Eugene Richards print in a museum, or Mom at Woodstock held within the pages of a weathered photo album, photographs remain part of our daily experience. Commerical photography is a particularly unavoidable component of our lives. The elevation of consumerism in this work remains inextricably linked with escapism. Photography here is not necessarily an object of escape, but rather a means to escape through a featured product. A vaguely familiar yet elevated reality is captured and combined with the promise that the desirable escape from one’s own

existence can be obtained through the simple act of a purchase. Such photographs cultivate a myth necessary for the product, and the images allow popular dissemination of such cults of consumer personality. Photographic visual accessibility is exploited to facilitate the aims of the advertiser, and the photographic advertisement becomes a vehicle that encourages a novel understanding of the object sold. Often suggestive of an escape to the nostalgic past, the hopeful future, or the improved present, advertisements that exude the possibility of a different, better reality necessarily maintain the photographic ability to trigger collective remembrance. As we are manipulated towards consumerism by such imagery, the ways in which individuals remain vulnerable to the possibilities of escape that photography offers become apparent. Nina Moog Previous page: Gemma Lawrence This page: Jasmine Picot-Chapman


ins pirat ion: t rav el jo ur nal b y la i n e kay - la m b ert

this collage of photography,

& eliz a d oh ert y

text and drawing is an enchanting guided tour through India. A collaborative effort between photographer Laine Kay-Lambert and illustrator Eliza Doherty, it is an escape both to a foreign destination and from the medium of photography.





pr of il e : ar no rafael mi nk k i nen

arno rafael minkkinen’s black and white self-portraits integrate the artist’s own body with mountain peaks, rocky capes and still waters. These landscapes – vast, beautiful and

by eliz a d oh ert y

seemingly devoid of all human presence – certainly evoke ‘escape’. Dead Horse Point, for instance, captures an immense promontory of stone surrounded by steep cliffs beneath a clouded sky. Initially, this seems to be all it captures, but upon closer inspection we become aware of the naked figure in the very centre of the image: head down and hidden from view, back

arched and arms outstretched. Pressed down upon the ground, Minkkinen’s body is almost camouflaged, but simultaneously remains distinct. As self-portraits, these photographs are far from conventional. Parts of the body – arms and

shoulders, two hands, a curved back – are detached from the rest of the figure (which is hidden from view) and become independent forms. Indeed, we might question how relevant the term ‘self-portrait’ really is, since these photographs give such little insight

into the psychology of the artist; a sense of mystery seems integral to them. There is also a decidedly humorous element to these pictures; in Väisälänsaari, for example, Minkkinen ‘conceals’ his body between two tall tree trunks, as though engaging in a naked game of ‘hide and seek’. His height and leanness are exaggerated through this juxtaposition and he becomes almost lost between the trees; only his hands and feet betray his identity. In Five Miles Outside Tortilla Flat, an outstretched arm traces the mountain peaks of Arizona. Looking at this, I cannot help but think of holiday snapshots in which the subject attempts to ‘touch’ a famous landmark in the background. By employing his own body in these images: arranging himself on the edge of a cliff, between tree trunks or underwater, Minkkinen seems to be testing its very limits. In one photograph, his crossed hands emerge from the snow-covered ground, an effect achieved by burrowing himself beneath the snow without disturbing the surface. For Minkkinen, it seems, the creative process is a solitary affair; once he has set the timer he

has precisely nine seconds to get into position. Since his photographs are free from digital manipulation, double exposures, assistants or a preconceived plan, outside forces inevitably intervene. In this way, Minkkinen escapes complete control, allowing an element of chance to creep in. This relinquishing of control lends his photographs a sense of purity which seems wholly relevant to their subject. These images combine what is commonly perceived as ‘natural’, untouched and pure: the naked human body and the physical landscape. Furthermore, there is an essential sense of interaction: the body follows the landscape’s contours, echoes its forms or stands alone as an incongruous shape in an eerie setting; the body, in fact, becomes a landscape in itself. These photographs may initially appear ambiguous, confusing and strange, but there is no sense of falsity to them: Minkkinen is not trying to conceal his own body; if anything he is drawing our attention to it. Humour and entertainment prevail in these images, but the photographs remain undeniably graceful and curiously captivating.

‘indeed, we might question how relevant the term ‘selfportrait’ really is’


Previous page: Vaisalansaari; Left: Oulunj채rvi Evening; Top right: Dead Horse Point; Bottom right: Five Miles Outside Tortilla Flat


e s c pape t h r o ug h ob jec t s

the standardisation of material production

b y m a ya t o u n ta

endows objects with a false sense of predetermined function: a limit. It over-familiarizes us to our surroundings before we have really explored them. In this way, it restrains our ability to satisfy older myths of escapism like the cultural “other,� the natural and the extraordinary—

at least insofar as those myths can be identified in the face of objects. For this reason, we could benefit from reconsidering our surroundings. The photographs featured here propose a new understanding, whereby the object of escape is identical with the object of captivity. The same setting from which we want to escape, that burnt piece of toast or butter knife that we associate with routine, is presented in a way that diminishes our need to escape from it. Wet shirts, unmade beds and rotten bananas are given full attention, featured alone at the centre of the images. Often presented in pairs, the sensual qualities of the object become more prominent through juxtaposition. Two combs, one electric


blue and one bright red, lie touching on the navy blue of a floral duvet. Like plastic centipedes or elements of a Mondrian

‘Often presented in pairs, the sensual qualities of the object become more prominent through juxtaposition’

composition, they rest in perfect containment complementing each other naturally and fully (Shiri Lee Webb, Untitled). Free from symbolism or allusion they are beautiful in their rested, unassuming sensuality. In another photograph, a piece of tree trunk lies in suspension, fastened to the wire of a fence. As light and airy as the gaps in the fence, the wood has become one with the negative space surrounding it. In their formal simplicity and single subject matter, these pictures focus on the everyday without any intention to symbolise. Either as beautiful compositions occurring randomly, as quiet sensualities, or as unintended expressions of irony, these objects are shown in a refreshing light. Because of their everyday nature and because it is perhaps more difficult to redefine what is closest to you, the malleability of these objects is surprising. It highlights the extent to which objects can be more than their function, as well as the power of our consciousness to transform our surroundings. This re-interpretation of the material everyday supervenes upon its standardised constitution. A modern sensibility is being mapped through a shift of consciousness. The same standardised material surroundings which we would typically want to avoid become beautiful. Instead of seeking escape in myths about the distant other, here escape is reallocated to the quiet objects ubiquitous in our lives. First page (clockwise from top left): d g b, Untitled; Shiri Lee Webb, Untitled; Amber Marie Chavez, Untitled; Tatjana Suskie, Curious Yellow; Duncan

Coulter, Untitled; Maya Tounta, Untitled; Emanuele Cardesi, Martini 2; Maya Tounta, Untitled 5; Caroline Lytskjold, Untitled. This page: Christopher Weickenmeier, Colour Acid.


e s c pape f r om t i me b y g i e d r e z l at k u t e

my friend

put up a new profile

picture on Skype. At first glance it seemed familiar—as if it had been taken from my parents’ album, but in fact it was an image of my friend, the same face I had seen the night before. His friend, photographer Darius Jurevičius, found some old films from ‘90s and made some pictures from them. Naturally damaged by time, the films acquired a quality that made their subjects resemble welladapted time travellers. I contacted Darius complimenting the photos and we talked about his work. Though he usually tries to push photography to its limits, experimenting with its qualities, the appeal of these photos lay in their simplicity and patency. Later, Darius showed me photos made with the same films during the ‘90s. There was an obvious connection between the old and new, looking at the modern world through old lenses, capturing it in old films, bringing the ‘90s back. For me the old pictures represented lost time; time experienced in a different way. For Darius, combined with the new pictures, they represented his life. The works acted as a visual diary with only two inscriptions, separated by almost 20 years but written in the same book and with the same pen. It is possible that by taking photos using old films Darius is going back and comparing certain periods of his life. I found it more interesting, however, to compare and follow changes easily apparent to any viewer: the style, technique, and personal qualities captured in his art. There is a strong feeling of unity between all of the photos, and it is easy to find a number of connections and interpretations. Looking through the work I found pictures which in my opinion


represent his escape to the past. Though the photos are made in the same environment—the Lithuanian seaside, they are completely different from one another. New pictures seem calmer, more certain in subject and framing, while older photos are obviously more experimental. Combined, these works show the maturation of the artist and the shift from capturing the external world as

a main area of interest to using it as a representation of inner emotions and thoughts. I saw these photos as a filmstrip: a short journey back in time in which the main character is a result of viewers’ interpretations rather than the photographer’s intention. Clicks of the camera start a mirage of the past, taking a person back in time and then back to the present. Memory ends but the feeling stays and the

camera offers the chance to escape. Since for Darius these photos depict his own life, he emphasizes the depiction of his

friends: how they changed through time and how these images capture the relationships that influenced his life. Changes in people around

‘I saw these photos as a filmstrip, a short journey back in time, in which the main character is a result of viewers’ interpretations rather than the photographer’s intention’

represent certain events; joint experiences as well as changes within himself. What follows are some of his own ideas about the photos: “20 years – blink and back. Camera Zorki stuffed with Soviet films, at the time when Lithuania just regained freedom, carried in trans bags trough unseen, unknown Europe, capturing architecture and free, different life of Prague, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and other cities. While in Lithuania: friends, rivers of wine, seas of beer, Baltic Sea, open sky saturated with night and iodine. Time covered in layers of rock (the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, Metallica, Nirvana, and Prodigy), sense of unity, friendship, and not getting sober. All this is in the 199x pictures. As well as grains of sand

in the mouth and scuffed sunglasses. Year 2010. Between modern digital cameras, computers and megapixels live/don’t live same/ different friends, their wives/different girlfriends, children, finishing school or just being born, expensive cars, houses, blocks of flats, country-side houses, food and drink excess/lack. Not only Europe,- Asia, Africa,- all world, if not by planes, or ships, then is reachable through google and other programs, where millions of photo shots create a vision which you call reality. 1992,93 year of production Tasma and Svema (made in USSR), 10-14 films, done now, in the year 2010, as if they were a connecting link with those 199x years, as if a ferry to 37

the Curonian Spit (Kursiu Nerija) followed by screaming seagulls. This is an attempt to capture that 199x pulse nowadays, an attempt to at least for a bit stop the time, the stream rushing forward, by taking pictures of the same sea, dunes and even friends who through dust and low quality lens get prettier.â€? Photographs by Darius JureviÄ?ius


Eliza Doherty


40 48 56 62 68

Portfolio: James Valentine Portfolio: Ilinca Vanau Portfolio: Hugo Shelley Portfolio: Robert Moyes Adam Portfolio: Michelle Willmott


p ort f ol io :

j a m e s va l e n t i n e

James Valentine, Glen Coe. Entrance to the Pass. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-699.


James Valentine was a Dundee-based entrepreneur whose company produced picture postcards, albums, view-books, tourist guides, and landscape prints of Scotland. After 1866, under the patronage of Queen Victoria, Valentine photographed a number of views of Scotland, emphasizing the epic qualities of the terrain in ways that reinforced a mythological view of the country. With a troupe of photographers in his employ and through the purchase of images from other firms, Valentine amassed a huge collection of images; almost cornering the market on Scottish picture-postcards. Valentine’s business, which flourished from the late 19th Century through the first half of the 20th, was exceptional in its production of images that were not simply mementos but rather symbolic images. Through clichéd images focussing on ruins and on the ruggedness of nature, Valentine’s photographs represent a glorified aesthetic that imbues the Scottish landscape with a romantic sentiment. James Valentine, Braemar. Old Mar Castle. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-1265.


Bottom: James Valentine, Tay Bridge. Fallen girders. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-1864. Top: James Valentine, Girder erection gantry erected on Pier 13. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-D8533. Left: James Valentine, Braemar. The Colonel’s Bed. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-842.


James Valentine, Lowestoft. Oulton Broads. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library JV-4554


p ort f ol io :

i l i n c a va n a u



thejk thejkthe hjkteh ktehjkehtsfksdf ghskjhsjk gdsfhdsjkfhdsjkf svfsdfhjds fs gfhshjf s gjhfs jfshjfgsjh fsgjh thejt thejthe vhvcsbnvbx v




p ort f ol io :

h ugo sh elle y




p ort f ol io :

robert moyes adam


R. M. Adam, Ionic cross, Sound of Mull (Loch Aline). Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H750[X].

Left: R. M. Adam, Larch forest near [Allt] Achadh Forsa (Ach a Fors), Loch Aline, Morvern. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H743. Right: R. M. Adam, View of Scots pine strip, west of road to hills from village. Shelter belt, north slope of Pentland Hills. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H200.

Robert Moyes Adam (1885-1967) reshaped conventions of Scottish landscape photography, moving away from the nation’s mythology in favour of its natural splendour. His work represents landscape in its elemental forms, and endows the genre with new levels of social and environmental consciousness. Vocationally a botanist, Adam centers his images on wilderness, especially that of the Highlands & Islands. His panoramic visions of Scotland focus on the notion of the landscape as a majestic frontier poised on the precipice of society. Adam’s work emphasizes multiple horizons and the sweep of the land in order to transcend the picturesque and portray the land’s vastness. His work portrays nature as a sustaining force, and demonstrates the role of natural elements in creating and changing landscape. Historic locations demonstrate the independence of the land from human history, and its endurance against human colonization. Adam used his photography in defence of conservation interests, and his images were instrumental in the re-evaluation of development schemes in the Highlands. R. M. Adam, View from Cnoc Coinnich (Sgurr a’ Choinnich) over Carrick Castle towards union of Loch Goil and Loch Long. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H552.

p ort f ol io :

mich elle wi llmot t




Luka Jugeli

Reviews & Interviews

76 Interview: Roger Palmer 80 Exhibition Review: The Boyle Family Barra Project


int e rv ie w : r o g er palmer b y h el en dwor k

rp oa l gmee rr is a British artist and Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds. His art utilises a variety of mediums, of which photography is elemental. For Palmer, to ‘make’ a photograph is a process that can take upwards of a year, from the exposure of many frames to the careful production of a select few. The images come from projects: journey’s undertaken with the sole intention of generating a new set of photographs. At press time, he was preparing for a trip to the United States in which he would visit the site of Robert Smithson’s ‘Monuments of Passaic’ in New Jersey and then proceed to Utah, to Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’— driving in a spiral. Palmer was kind enough to speak to me about his photography, both on its own and in the context of his multi-media endeavours.

What’s the difference between the photographs that you select, that make it through your transformative process and the ones that don’t? What do the ones that make it through end up being? Each photograph is an act of taking something from the spatial, temporal, cultural, topographical world and framing it into two dimensions in such a way that what is represented acquires a heightened sense of structure and resonance as a result of being transformed into a photograph. The photograph is not there simply to present us with a picture; the photograph is there to draw attention to its own condition via an act of framing a seemingly uneventful section of the world. You’ve mentioned the ‘hopelessness’ of trying to represent places , what is the value of the location where a photograph is taken once the photograph is selected? Well initially location is obviously key to the existence of a photograph, but I guess one of the qualities that I’m interested in is the sense that each of my pictures could be made anywhere: that they represent a generic, photographic quality of space and light. The space in each picture is transformed into monochrome twodimensionality through the process of making photographs, so that it might be quite difficult to locate the precise view that’s re-presented by the photograph under different conditions. Therefore it’s quite hard to think of them as stable, immovable locations. What does the image do to capture nonvisual sensations, like tactility or sound? Do you think that there’s a way to represent those things in a photograph?

I would rather think in terms of the photograph as something new that exists: something that the artist brings into the world. I’m trying to make something new that is still connected to a particular place and time but which also exists independently in another space and time. So, a photograph cannot ‘capture’ non-visual sensations but it can exist within a context of presentation that might include nonvisual sensations. How do you devise projects? Where do they come from? Well they come in strange ways. Take for instance one that I’m close to completing: a project titled ‘Between’. Through a personal connection, I have been to South Africa many times over the past 26 years and I’ve generated a lot of work in that country. I’ve recently been going to Scandinavia quite a lot, to Helsinki and to Sweden, for academic reasons. I was idly looking out the window on a plane returning from Helsinki a couple of years ago, when I picked up the in-flight magazine and looked at the route-map showing Finnair flights to various towns in the far north of the country. I began to devise a project for which I wanted to make two journeys of similar length and duration; one in South Africa and the other in the Arctic regions of Finland, Sweden and Norway, both of which happen to lie in the same time zone, thus connecting two quite separate parts of the world: the most southerly part of Africa and the most northerly area of Europe. Of course I was already well aware of political changes in the late 20th century in South Africa, but I also became aware of parallel changes in the 79

status of the Sámi people of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia as they agitated for a greater autonomy, which was achieved in the late 20th century. So I was interested in pursuing the idea of connecting these two places through their political changes as well as their being in the same time zone. I have made nine provisional pairs of photographs. Each pair proposes a comparison between images made at a great distance from each other. Whether such pairings lead to social-political comparisons between South and North, or whether they reference local histories of rock carving and painting (which reveal remarkably similarities between the far North of Europe and the far South of Africa) I rather doubt. But I don’t care too much, as it’s those and other connections that acquired importance in my preparations for the project and which indirectly led to my placing each pair of pictures together. Is there a series or project of yours which particularly alludes to the subject of ‘escape’?

informed that my Egyptian driver had been arrested and taken from his home in Giza back to Port Said, where we’d earlier had encounters with the police, and that he’d been accused of spying with a European man. Had I been there I also would have been arrested— possibly not beaten up as badly as my driver was—but in my decision to leave early to attend to my mum, I fashioned my own escape from the clutches of the Egyptian police. I’ve had a few really tricky moments in different countries, but this has been the worst instance, simply because everything took place after I had returned to Britain and it had such a huge impact on the life of an Egyptian man. I did everything I could financially to cover food and medical and lawyers’ fees, as well as loss of earnings, but it was, and still is, torturous for me to think that this driver had such a dreadful time because he was driving an overeager British artist around Suez who kept on saying ‘Mohammed can I take a photo here?’ and he would look around and then either say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’: and of course, all the time we were being watched. So I head off to the United States this week, wondering what’s going to happen to me. It’ll probably be my last ‘escape’ from academia before retirement: the most ridiculous journey that I’ve ever conceived of. As always, I’m excited and terrified.

I made a project between 2005 and 2007 called Canal Zones for which I travelled to Panama and Suez to make photographs: I was interested in observing ships loaded with cargo travelling through these places. The 2005 trip to Panama was okay, but in Egypt, in early 2007,I encountered high levels of security throughout the length of the Suez Canal. Unbeknownst to me at the time, an enforced early departure THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN from Egypt in order to attend to my sick CONDENSED AND EDITED. mother meant that I probably escaped a terrifying spell in prison in Egypt. On the day that I had originally planned to leave Cairo for the UK, I was Photograph courtesy of Roger Palmer

Mark Gruber Gallery Since 1976, the Mark Gruber Gallery has been exhibiting the Hudson Valley’s finest artists. Our carefully curated shows bridge the traditional themes of the Hudson River School with the more fluid contemporary look of today. Featuring original oils, pastels, watercolors, and large format photography, the gallery visitor can always find works by Realists, Impressionists, Luminists, and Plein-Aire artists. Hosting eight new exhibitions annually, the Mark Gruber Gallery is committed to bringing the art seeking public works of quality and value. The Mark Gruber Gallery offers museum quality custom framing. All work is done on the premises by our experienced and friendly staff. Our Museum Store is stocked with gift items appealing to art lovers of all ages.



e xh ibit ion r e v i e w : t h e Boy l e Fami ly Bar ra P r o jec t b y Car s on Wos

em li cerocstc or poe sn,

casts of sand, time lapse photography and heavily circled maps are the implements of artistic endeavor utilised by the Boyle Family. The art collective/ family’s discovery of place-asdictated-by-chance arose during a game of dinner party darts: wherever the darts pierced the map became a non-negotiable destination. On this premise, the group began their excursion to the Isle of Barra in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Part biology, part anthropology,and part eccentricity: the family’s distinctive approach is reflected in their effort to illustrate and recreate the Isle of Barra within the gallery. Meticulously marked organic materials and biological samples collected from the ground and photographed through an electron microscope emphasize the sterile white of the gallery walls. Passing enlarged copies of scribbled field notes

and torn maps, the viewer senses the monumentality of the group’s endeavor. But party tricks aside, is this work relevant for an art museum or is it just a hodgepodge? Can this be considered a coherent artistic body that recreates the environmental physicality of this happenstance location? The most eye-catching elements of this work are cast multimedia recreations of the beach samples; square canvases approximately 3” deep which can be taken as hyperrealist sculptures, rippled by tidal forces. These resin works look exactly as the beach did in a specific part of the Isle of Barra: complete with worm trails, the remains of mussels, and the articulation of individual grains of sand. The organic patterns these works relay seem foreign in the sterile gallery space, separated from their vast home along the endless shore. Absent from this

‘wherever the darts pierced the map became a non-negotiable destination’

context, the viewer can appreciate the startling beauty of the process by which sea life and the constant lapping of the water above create natural forms. The other diverting works were time-lapse images giving an anthropological illustration of population in relation to place. Paired images from several places

in the coastal town represented changes during varying time spans. One of these images, in which only one small blur of a figure has passed through during the 30 minute interval recorded, suggests the small population of the area. This conclusion is supported by the heavy focus on biological materials of the region, though perhaps this

R. M. Adam, View in Kyles of Bute between islands, Mrs R[obert Moyes] A[dam] in foreground. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library RMA-H251.

is just the primary interest of the family as a whole research unit. This scientific preoccupation makes it hard to digest the work as art when touring the gallery. The small room housing the work (Artists Rooms: Gallery 9) is adjacent to a large space housing an untitled monumental sculpture by Richard Therrien: a full table and chair set evoking ideas of mass production, family dynamics, and the role of dinner table within a family unit. To the far side of the Boyles’ space, a group of hyperrealist sculptures including Duane

Hanson’s Tourists suggests ideas of reality, reproduction, artist as creator, and reflection on the state of modern society. These breathtaking yet straightforward works are much easier to digest in the vocabulary of the modern art canon. This juxtaposition leaves the viewer feeling a discontinuity while passing through these connecting rooms. The Boyle Family’s work is indeed a monumental undertaking in its own right, but that alone does not qualify it to a home in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.


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