ODETTE ENGLAND: Excavations

KLOMPCHING GALLERY is delighted to present Excavations—a collection of new photographs by Odette England. Excavations was premiered at the AIPAD Photography Fair in New York in April 2016, with this solo exhibition showcasing the full breadth of the series.

Home is the center-weight of Odette England’s artistic practice, with memory and forgetting being the counterbalances. Her photographs are fragile, contemplative and temporal spaces. Throughout her practice, she works with expired film, vintage cameras, damaged negatives and alternative photo processes; exploring volatility of identity, emphasizing the unstable nature of the past/present and the parent/child seesaw. These overall themes continue to be examined with Excavations, which utilizes historical photographs from the artist’s family archive.

The 18 color photographs presented in the exhibition, are one-of-a-kind and unique, having undergone a meticulous and labor-intensive process of being partially erased and obscured. This process of manual manipulation, is evidenced by the trace of the artist’s hand—gestures in the form of lines, sweeping arches and circular movements, through to dense areas of almost total obliteration of the original image. Across the artworks, this stripping away of visual information is carefully balanced with glimpses of substantive visual clues—a sitting figure, a landscape vista, a tree or lamp-post.

“Preserving family history via photography is like archaeology: it involves the exposure, processing and recording of remains. But to uncover the truth of an image – or at least an interpretation of a truth – a ‘hunt’ or ‘dig’ is required. Excavations explores the invisible social space of family storytelling through photography. I make c-prints in the darkroom of family pictures from expired Kodak film, as well as using original snapshots from the album, then carefully hand-sand them with various types of sandpaper. I aim to loosen the complexities of material encounter with intangible concepts. Mine is also a literal assault. I cross into taboo territory, the transgression and squeamish horror of destroying original personal possessions”.—Odette England

In addition to the manipulation of the photographic surface, scale and format is a key element of this series. With some of the artworks, England has re-presented the photographs as enlarged contemporary pigment prints and squared-off, thus situating the subject outside of its original context and intention. Alongside these, original vintage c-type snapshots are presented in deep-set boxes, maintaining the intimacy of the family album, but clearly contextualized as museum-like artifacts.

Excavations is a thought-provoking body of work that is meticulously made, both in terms of physical execution and conceptual vision. These are quiet, meditative artworks, incorporating elements of abstraction, preservation of history and nostalgia, together with an active and critical comment on the malleability of the photograph, which runs counter to its continued link to truth and reality.

Odette England (b.1975) is an Australian/British artist, whose artwork has been exhibited across the US and internationally. Awards and accolades include winning the 2012 CENTER Project Launch Award, shortlisted for the 2015 Australian Photo Book Of The Year, Finalist for the 2015 Cliftons Art Prize (Asia Pacific region), and more recently shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award (Australia). Collections holding her work include the George Eastman Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art and MoCP. Odette England lives and works in Rhode Island, US.

The Klompching Gallery was established in Dumbo, Brooklyn in September 2007. Owned and operated by Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching, the gallery quickly established itself as a gallery with an extraordinary roster of artists from which to purchase some of the best examples of contemporary photography—with exhibition reviews in publications such as The New Yorker, Art Review, Modern Painters, New York magazine and the Wall Street Journal, as well as numerous notable cultural websites. Klompching Gallery is a member of AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers), and since its inception, the gallery has earned a solid reputation for providing informed guidance on the acquisition of contemporary fine art photography.

For further information and press images, please contact:
Darren Ching | +1 212 796 2070 | darren@klompching.com

 

 

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