PRIVATE VIEW: January 15, 2013
533 Old York Road, Wandsworth
6:30 to 9:00pm
Imagine a table with no guests; plates and glasses in disarray, the only evidence of clattering dishes and tinkling laughter evident in rumpled napkins and breadcrumbs strewn across used cutlery. There are faces, and they look down upon the scene, but they do not sit at the table, nor are they of the sitters of that table, but rather, faces of what might have been, of imagined guests in the minds eye of the creator. Exploring notions of changeability, transience and the sublime, ArtEco Gallery, London, is proud to present its new exhibition Four Seasons, featuring works by Emer O’Brien, Juliette Mahieux-Bartoli and Mathew Tom.
Emer O’Brien’s The Four Seasons, consists of a series of photographs depicting the passing of time. Originally inspired by the Dutch masters after a trip to Amsterdam in 2011 as well as Gabriel Axil’s Babette’s Feast, the work combines O’Brien’s interests in installation and performance. O’Brien has staged a series of indulgent brunches and dinners, hosted at a long table in her studio. With the walls blacked out, these gatherings have an intimate atmosphere, and, with the revellers gone, leave the empty table and dregs of food and drink nestled in this dark, quiet space. O’Brien then documents these settings.
“The De Walvisch Cultureship commissioned the first [such’ image in the series the De Walvisch Soup Salon, Dec 2011,” she explains. “The directors and artist friends Zatorski & Zatorski asked if I would make portraits of the Salon Members. But rather than turn my camera upon the individual members I proposed photographing their place setting at the inaugural dinner... I had for some time longed to photograph a table with these smaller intimate and original details absorbed into a larger conciliation while alluding to things and conversations now passed. “ In this sense, O’Brien’s photographs become portraits of times and people at once absent and present – their mark left, like fingerprints, in the evidence of what once was. Here, in 12 analogue negatives carefully stitched together, The Four Seasons is presented to the viewer as a landscape of sorts, or rather, a tablescape.
The works create an intriguing interplay in the explorations and investigations of the four seasons – what they share is the portrayal, not of what is evident, but what is not evident – a table of food that has been eaten, ravished, finished, and the evidence of people who are not there, transient like the seasons themselves, ever changing, ever in flux, desiring what is at once attainable and unattainable, forever at the crux of what TS Eliot called ‘the still point of the turning world -for there, he would have told us, at the still point, ‘there the dance is’.
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