Monday, 26 June 2017

Big is beautiful at Vancouver Art Gallery

Rodney Graham at Vancouver Art Gallery

Catch the glowing autumn light with a  light box in  Vancouver art gallery.

When the quality of light matters a light box may add something to the work. It has a very different feel to images on paper. More glossy. Magazine like in this case. Large enough to walk into.

I feel tempted to make all my work this way; but cost is prohibitive.

Another artist working in a cinematic way is Karen Bubas.

Her images make use of the ruckenfigur, but one that looks strangely out of place, posing questions about why she is there.

Enigmatic and pensive. Drawing the viewer closer.

cinematic approach by Karen Bubas

How can one achieve this in a book?

The photographs lead the viewer into the landscape, giving an illusion of three dimensions.

Ian Wallace plays with this idea, creating his own, modern version of 'history paintings'. The juxtaposition of photo and plain colour reference this illusion, and pay reference to modern abstract landscape artists at the same time.

I find this approach quite compelling as a means to discuss the difference between painting and photography.

Ian Wallace at Vancouver art gallery

I was also drawn to the work of Marian Penner Bancroft

Her collage of photos mounted as objects rather than 'windows' feature the site of a demolished book store.

The physicality of the paper curving top and bottom works well in drawing attention to the 2D medium representing a 3D space.

All of which adds to my concerns about the book as a valid way to present epic landscapes, or even as a means to make an impact in this fast paced, digital world.

The research will continue.....

Thursday, 22 June 2017

magazine display - looking for solutions

I am thinking about the intermim show, and how I might display my magazines.

I want them to be read.

Not precious objects, in your face, and easy to browse.

So I need a scenario like the one above, with one of the images from my magazine on the wall, to set the mood. A comfy chair, and an uncluttered environment.

The image above pops up when my photograph is uploaded on the printspace website. It certainly makes me want to buy my own print.....

Except I won't be allowed to display my work like this.. I am only allowed a limited amount of space and 'one piece of work'. I am not sure how flexible the curator will be in this regard, so I need to go armed with a good argument for displaying multiples as my 'piece'.

I like the idea though, of an ideal scenario, which sets the standard, and then compromise from there.

This might alos be useful in the future if one is given more space, or asked for a submission for an exhibition.

So what are the alternatives?

I found quite a few options that allow for wall hanging. I have the idea to hang several beside each other, to suggest multiplicity and availability.

Getting away from the precious object enclosed in a locked cabinet.

simple wall hang using ikea shelf; nice and simple

perspex book stand; a bit precious

sling hang; not good for encouraging reading

ideas for hanging knobs

more hanging knobs, using painted children's bricks

another wall hang; a bit heavy looking

open diplay; not one to encourage reading

browsing shelf. I am not a carpenter, and it looks ugly; more suitable for zines

newspaper stick; too much for a simple magazine

clever adjustable shelving. again does not encourage reading

beautiful wood display; I cannot make this....

perspex book pillow; more appropriate for a single, precious book

So after much consideration, the winner is.....

monkey fist knot

the monkey fist knot, tied on a black cord, and supspended from a hook ( yet to be chosen).

It only took two hours to learn how to make one...... thank you to 'The Weavers of Eternity'

The magazine hangs at a jaunty angle on this, and can easily be lifted to read, providing the height and length of the cord are right.

And I have printed some 'Handling Copy' labels to stick on the front of my magazines.

But after all is said and done, I would still rather have a print on the wall........

This is my magazine.

You can read it here

Saturday, 10 June 2017

making a questionnaire with survey monkey

This is my questionnaire.

I made it for free at Survey Monkey, as a means to explore whether people feel that a book can offer a 'sublime' experience in relation to the sublime in nature.

I got a good response from the website. Apparently I am a genius, and it is my first ever attempt to create a survey.

Lets see if it lives up to the hype.

I have tried to make it simple and short.

Next to test on a few classmates and see if it works.....

a five minute questionnaire


I am Caroline Fraser, currently studying for an MA in book art at UAL Camberwell. 
Thank you for helping me in my research.
I am an abstract landscape photographer exploring the book as a medium for my work, and currently researching ideas around conveying the 'sublime' landscape through art, with specific attention to the artist's book.
I have a few short questions to ask you, and really appreciate your taking the time to respond.
Thinking about the 'sublime' in relation to nature and art it can be defined as
'of such excellence, grandeur or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe'

Thinking about the sublime in nature, have you ever experienced an artwork that conveyed to you that sense of awe or wonder that you have felt in an awe-inspiring landscape? 

where was it? 

what medium was it? e.g. painting, sculpture, music, book, photo etc 

who was the artist? 

what made it special for you? 

now thinking specifically about books, have you ever had a similar experience in response to a book?

what was the book, and why was it special? 

Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate your help.

If you want to add any other thoughts please use the box below.

Caroline Fraser

If you would like to help me with my research then please follow the link here

Friday, 2 June 2017

Jurgen Partenheimer and Larry Bell at White Cube

there are no chairs in the galleries, and one is not allowed to sit on the floor

A fascinating exhibition in a beautiful, but unfriendly gallery. One must remain standing, unless you wish to sit in a dark corridor.

A consideration of diferent dimensions. Spaces within spaces.

catching up with where I have been

I am thinking about the sublime; a new topic for me, and one that will take a bit of getting to grips with on a philosophical level.

I think that the work of the Norwegian photographer Einar Sira fits this term for me. His work is  made in a pond in his garden, using decaying plants and animals. Beauty in death.

He recently exhibited at Fix Photo on the Southbank with Laura Noble Gallery.

Exquisite prints with deep blacks on matt paper.

Much of his work relates to dead birds. Post Vitam. Einar spoke of 'two kinds of pictures- the ones that spoke to him and the ones that didn't'.

He worked with one dead bird for 18 months. Norwegians have a lot of sayings about birds.

Einar Sira talks about his work

Also at FIX was the work of  Elaine Duigenan "Bossfeldt's Apprentice"

Having seen Blossfeldts original plates a few years back I was impressed with the replication of his works using plastic plant ties. More work that speaks to me. The video on her website of her hands holding and working with the ties is a very strong opening statement about the physicality of her work; a combination of photography and sculpture.

Elaine also makes works that appear to be scanned.

Here series 'Nylon' is full of resonances with the past. Beauty in the ordinary. The more works that I see like this, the more I feel I am losing my way with book art. I am not yet able to express myself in a book in the same way that I can with prints.

from the series "Nylon' by Elaine Duigenan

In discussion at FIX the idea of the perfect example of a flower, rock, or tree being a reason why some photos are made; the 'need' to take a photo of specific elements in the environment.

I think back to Namibia where I took some images of small shrubs; perfect shapes being the trigger to capture.

I found myself looking for triangles in nature.

This bush fit the bill.

I find myself thinking about scale and shape.

Having seen Tillmans' work  at Tate Modern, I feel I need to experiment more with juxtaposition of images.

dunes at Sossusvlei

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wolgang Tillmans at Tate Modern

I saw this show a few weeks ago, and didn't get around to writing about it. 

Well now I must.

I am just going to describe why I found the images below interesting.

I am starting to explore ideas for my research paper.

The subject and title have been whirling around in my head for a week or so, and now I need to make decisions.

My working title today is

the landscape in contemporary photography - from the sublime to book

I have stolen this wording from the Tate, and adapted for my needs.

The original title was 
the landscape in contemporary photography - from the sublime to the ridiculous, 

which stems from a panel discussion in 2014 with contemporary photographers.

I have been thinking about how a lot of my photography relates to feelings of awe and tranquillity found in the wide landscapes of nature. I express this in abstract ways, and normally as photographs for wall display. I am increasingly feeling that it is difficult to translate these feelings and establish a sense of the sublime in book format.

So I shall explore this question in my research paper, and then may have to give up my MA if the answer is too disturbing.

Back to Wolfgang with these issues in mind.

Thinking about techniques that he uses in the gallery displays;

  • Juxtaposition and overlap.
this creates a tension beetween the images which could just as well be in a book. Nothing sublime about this subject matter.

  • finding horizons from a plane.
I do this too, and displaying these images on a large scale gives them much more sense of wonder about how we travel the world.

  • more seemingly random juxtaposition and layering, together with playing with scale in a fun way.
This  leaves me wondering what the connections are, but I am yet to find them.

  •  the sound room
He comments on the importance of good quality sound experiences. In this room there are no images.

  • folded chromogenic prints in perspex boxes.

They instill a feeling of calm and peace compared with his jusxtapositions.

Each one of these I find relaxing and intruiging ; closer to the feeling that I seek.
They remind me of sunsets and skies, taking me to another place, which I guess is what I am trying to achieve with my own photography.

  • light play
This iconic image of a sheet of paper reminds me of the importance of light in photography. I never tire of looking at it, and if a book could offer this play of light and shape I would be very happy.

paper drop 2006

  • showing his workplace and more playing with scale in the room

He places a lot of emphasis on unusual hanging plans. An enormous print of some tape beside a series of chromogenic prints that forma  ladder up the wall. Do they connect? I am not sure. But the size of the print draws me in and excites me.

  •  more from his workspace; some framed, and some hung with clips. He is keen to express the materiality of the print.
I wonder how this play with scale can translate to a book.  It would be much less immediate in the viewing.

  •  a humble clip

His work is rarely about an exclusively natural landscape, but it excites and continues to change and develop.