Friday, August 11, 2017

Equivocal Joerg Lehmann, Nerissa Lowe and Stuart Marlin

Newcastle Art Space Gallery


Joerg Lehmann, Nerissa Lowe, Stuart Marlin

11- 27 August 2017

... to read a to enter into a series of relationships which are “hidden”, and that ‘we need not only to see the image, but also to read it as the active play of a visual language[1].

It was Sir John Frederick William Herschel who used the term photography in his lecture to the Royal Society in London in March of 1839 referring to the action of light writing.  Endless others have used the romantic term ‘drawing with light’ to define their practice.  Regardless of how photography is defined, or indeed if it is even now able to be defined, the range of possibilities of the photographic medium, extend from traditional documentary style to the limits of human imagination and technical and scientific discovery.

The inaugural exhibition at Newcastle Art Space Gallery showcases the contemporary photographic language of Joerg Lehmann, Nerissa Lowe and Stuart Marlin.  The three share a studio space in the Newcastle Community Arts Centre in Tighes Hill. 

Joerg Lehmann

The power of Lehmann’s work is his ability to maintain the nostalgia of the black and white photographic image while pushing his interpretation through meticulous staging and lighting of the scene.  Well known for his dramatic Film Noir work he continues to work predominantly with the female figure for this exhibition.  Extending patterns of light so they trace the contours of the female face and form move the image towards overdrawing with light and this works well, particularly in this space.  While for some the patterns may be seen as body decoration, my thoughts on viewing these patterns linked immediately to traditions of indigenous natives painting and decorating their bodies for dance and ceremony and the use of skin cutting as part of tribal customs or rituals.   I thought of the mark making onto body parts that must occur in Lehman’s work outside of the photographic arena and wondered if there was a direct connection.  Perhaps reading the beauty of an image is sufficient.

Sample of Joerg Lehmann's work


Nerissa Lowe

Nerissa comes to Newcastle Community Arts Centre through extensive travels.  Her background is fashion photography with time spent working in the couture fashion industry.  Living in Norway has forged a connection to the place that remains a sentimental attachment.  There are works in this exhibition that reflect this. Her work does span the commercial portrait, travel photography and experimental genres.  The portrait itself highlights an interest in photography towards the painterly and atmospheric with fabric appearing as a painted mark or soft brush stroke effect.  This is one of her stronger works in this exhibition. The experimental works encompass multiple exposures taken either in the same geographical location or using a fusion of images from both geographical location combined with textured surfaces.  While layering these together, Lowe interrupts, draws into, erases and builds up an altered state to the image.  Painting and drawing on an individual layer allows for fine details to be added or excluded from each successive layer until Lowe reaches her aesthetic choices.  Based on this exhibition, Lowe shows an interest in diversity of photographic form and style and an interest in merging photography, painting and drawing.

Sample of Nerissa Lowe's work

Stuart Marlin

Stuart Marlin appears predominantly interested in architectural space and the lines that form as they extend upwards piercing the sky. Is it all about how the viewer locates themselves in relation to the strong perspective lines? With a background in psychology and how the brain processes information, Marlin challenges or directs the viewer’s perception of the image.  While talking to Marlin it was clear he utilises devices, techniques and equipment I have not even seen so gaining an understanding of how the works were made was significant for my own knowledge base.  His aim with the architectural form appears to be to remove anything around it that disrupts the experience of seeing the form lines themselves.  Longer exposure times ensure clouds are blurred and pushed back into tone.  Excess reflection and colour is removed if necessary to leave the compositional pull of the building the only focus.

Sample of Stuart Marlin's work

While the success and power of the photographic image is not linked to the size it inhabits in a space, the increased size of the works in general in this exhibition, does create a sense of drama overall.  It is a welcoming site and enriching visual experience.

The works are in limited edition so discuss purchases with the gallery staff.  Alternatively contact the Studio 10 Photographers for additional details or private commissions.

The Gallery is open at 91 Chinchen Street Tighes Hill Thursday to Sunday 12 noon to 5pm.

Welcome back NAS.

[1]Sri-Kartini Leet, ed., as referenced in Reading Photography, A Sourcebook of Critical Texts 1921- 2000, Introduction xi, from the original source Graham Clarke, The Photograph, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 29.

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