Having visited the ‘Silverhill Press Presents’ exhibition at Electro Studios Project Space, Erica Smith sings the praises of a perfect exhibition in the perfect setting. Electro Studios Project Space and Silverhill Press are two local treasures that bring delight into my life. Electro Studios Project Space is the ideal seaside exhibition space for summer. It’s unpretentious and showcases exciting and experimental exhibitions. The current celebration of Silverhill Press is a wonderful example. The press is a labour of love that brings out photography, poetry and prose limited edition publications thanks to the team of photographer Ian Land, Paul Thomas of Martel Colour Print and graphic designer Richard Depesando. The YouTube film below gives a walk-through of the exhibition narrated by Ian Land.
The walls of the gallery display photographic work by PH members Anne Lydiat, Amanda Jobson, Ian Land, Rod Morris, Stuart Griffiths, Alex Brattell, John Cole and Lauris Morgan-Griffiths, plus Caitlin Lock, Julian Anderson, Malcolm Glover, Guy Batey, and James Robertshaw. There’s also a magnificent wall of collage by the wonderful Peter Quinnell from his book 1001 Wonderful Things (published by Silverhill Press, of course).
I attended talks by photographers Malcolm Glover, Rod Morris and Anne Lydiat. It is always a joy to hear photographers talk about their work. Rod Morris was particularly illuminating as he talked us through two sets of black and white images – Still Films – photographs of people from across the world and spanning decades as a photographer (Rod recommends running the theme tune to Bullitt in your mind as you look at the photographs!), and What you left behind – the title and subject of his Silverhill Press book.
These photographs do not include people, but the presence of the person is strongly felt – an abandoned car with an open door, a dilapidated armchair in a squat and an unmade bed where you can image the tossing and turning of the inhabitant of the bed despite their absence.
Rod Morris graduated with a degree in photojournalism in 2000 – the year that Steve Mayes, head of the Network Photographers agency declared that photojournalism was dead. It didn’t stop Rod taking photographs – he just acknowledged that all photography is subjective, and found ways to take black and white narrative photographs as he traveled across the world, earning a living making films.
The exhibition was also an opportunity to launch books held up in production due to two years of Covid. New publications include books by Julian Anderson, Malcolm Glover, Rod Morris, Stuart Griffiths, Peter Quinnell, Ian Land, Paul Thomas, and the book of 14 Months of Solitude, a collaborative project by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths, Alexander Brattell, John Cole and James Robertshaw which is on show at the gallery for the second time. In this exhibition, it runs along the upstairs corridor like a contemporary Bayeux Tapestry. Don’t forget to see it (you have to leave the ground floor gallery and make your way up from a separate outside doorway).
Silverhill Press also launched a new product – a range of ‘zines’ (smaller staple-bound books) by Sadie Hennesy, C.A. Halpin, Dave Wares, Dave Valentine, John Moore and Richard Depesando. All are very different to each other. My favourites are Dave Valentine’s archive of 1980s crisp packets and Richard Depesando’s haunting images taken on the day that the Hastings Art College at the Archery Ground closed in 2010.
On a special Saturday of events John Moore read and played an acoustic guitar set, while Antony Clayton, Steve Amos, Bronwen Griffiths, Ken Edwards, Andrea Samuelson and Ross Clifford recited poetry and prose. There was also a performance of Bulverhythe Variations, a solo keyboard piece with back-projected images by Elaine Edwards and spoken narrative by Ken Edwards.
A video tour of the exhibition with Ian Land
From Anne Lydiat’s exploration of Arctic and Antarctic spaces – like Rod Morris’s photographs, human presence is illustrated by its absence.
14 months of solitude – a collaborative exhibition by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths, John Cole, Alexander Brattell and James Robertshaw – upstairs at Electro Studios Project Space
Article by Erica Smith : @ericawordsmith
Original article, now updated, reproduced by kind permission of Hastings Online Times and Silverhill Press
All exhibited books and zines are available from the Silverhill Press website.
Information : Silverhill Press | @thesilverhillpress | Electro Studio Project Space | @electro_studios_project_space
Main image by Rod Morris, all images ©