Looking for emerging trends in photographic fine art practice, the influence of the Dutch Masters on contemporary fine art practice became the overriding link.
Camilla Broadbents’ “past the sell by” series is a memento mori in rotting food, referenciing the concerns of the C17th Dutch Still Life Artists. She has been inspired by the subtle use of light in paintings by Willem Kalf, the hidden symbolism of Jan Davidsz de Heem and the elegant composition of Pieter Claesz; and Abraham Migon’s evocation of the inevitable corruption of time, as ants crawl over his decaying peaches. Camilla Broadbent is a multi-award winning photographer, and has just exhibited at AOP in London.
Nigel Greens’ architectural domestic studies, reflect the topography which prevade the Dutch paintings of the 17thC, known as the Golden Age, closely observed studies of everyday life and the widespread use of the camera obscura established a precedent for “objectivity” in photography from Fox Talbot to Beuchers. The higly detailed representation of ordinary scenes in paitings by Pieter de Hooch and Jan Van der Heyden have influenced Greens own working practice.
“It is not just the camera obscura compositions or the quest for reality in lighting that is so appealing but also the use of objects as metaphor and allegory, giving clues to the lives of the subjects. As with the paintings from this era, we are left to study and comprehend the information left to us. There is often no clear narrative and I bring this element to my images of the modern world; they are an archive of contemporary society but, leaving the viewer to consider the narrative, challenges the pre-conceptions we have of our world view.
This applies specifically to ‘Woman with Wire Cap’ . It explores our relationship to contemporary technology that we can feel is beyond our understanding. The cap is an aesthetic and metaphoric object but equally it is a clue to how we live in this era to a future audience. . By acknowledging the Dutch masters we are celebrating the influence on contemporary artists and audience. As artists we must explore where our ideas come from, they are never developed in isolation and it is niave to consider ourselves completely without influence. Interestingly, if we accept that there are no natural rules we can introduce new ways of seeing whilst acknowledging the importance of the past.”
While Bruce Raes, darkly light flowers and Lydia Goldblatts sensitive lighting on her subjects point to the influences of Rembrandt. ” Goldblatts influences for this series come not from Victorian painting, or documentary photography, but from the portaits of artists such as Rembrandt and Carravagio, in which physical representation is paired with allegorical significance, refrenced through the use of severe black backgrounds and heavy chiaroscuro. Like many contemporary photogaphers, Goldblatt plays with the contrast between painted and photographed portraits, so that her models are pictured as individuals” Catherine Grant.
Other great masters which are included in the exhibition are Terry O’Neill, Ken Russell and Bill Brandt.