October 24 – November 2 & December 2 – 13
Open: Wednesday to Sunday inclusive, 10am to 5pm
Zuzushii gallery, 26 White Rock, Hastings. TN34 1JY
Saturday 24th October 2020 at 12 noon
Please come along in the afternoon, we will not be staging a preview event but will welcome you between 12pm – 5pm (with the understood spacing)
“We Baked All Our Own Bread”
(one mischief always introduces another)…
A collaborative exhibition showing: Josie Barnes | Alex Brattell | Sinéid Codd | Chris Coombes | Derek Cottrell | Roz Cran | Frank Francis | Sharon Haward | Clare Hocter | Roger Hopgood | Lauris Morgan-Griffiths | Ian O’Leary | Katie Redfern | Giles Stokoe | Nicole Zaaroura
This four-week Photohastings show, “We Baked All Our Own Bread” (one mischief always leads to another), is a group show of photographs, taken during and subsequent to, the lockdown earlier this year. The title references the book by Daniel Defoe, ‘A Journal of the Plague Year’, published in 1722. It is a fictionalised account of one man’s experiences of the Great Plague in the city of London in the year 1665. Although written nearly one hundred years after the plague it is pertinent to the situation that we find ourselves in today.
With regard to the ordinary people at that time Defoe wrote,” Where they could get employment they pushed into any kind of business, the most dangerous and the most liable to infection; and if they were spoken to, their answer would be, ‘I must trust to God for that; if I am taken, then I am provided for, and there is an end of me’, and the like. Or thus, ‘Why, what must I do? I can’t starve. I had as good have the plague as perish for want. I have no work; what could I do? I must do this or beg.” Shades of our present day peril…
The work in this show has been made away from the general hubbub of the pandemic; whilst the practitioners involved were isolated but driven by the need to create. What is pertinent here is that the work is often reflective, in some cases indicative of open-ended review of an open-ended situation. We now have a history of the modern pandemic to study and more difficulties ahead. What we can be certain of is that the need to communicate and to converse using the vocabulary of the photographic image endures.
Image Credit: Clare Hocter | Information: zuzushiiartlaboratory.com
During lock-down, I began exploring wooded areas, and found myself in unknown territory, such as Beaney’s Lane and other woods like Speckled Wood and Spindlewood. The photo here is from series taken in the woods to the West of Ore Village, bordering Spindlewood Country Holiday Park. As well as being stunningly beautiful they are virtually unknown. The path takes you through private land, but pedestrian access is permitted. As always with me, I was attracted to the man-made debris where nature is slowly taking over. There is a wrecked vehicle which has seen better days, and dirt-bike scrambling is a common sight.
This wood has also had its own fair share of tragedy; we stumbled upon a home-made and poignant memorial to someone who committed suicide, known about in the area. There was a very old teddy bear wrapped around a tree and a hand written tribute. I did not take pictures of this out of respect for the family and hope people know how to seek help if they are feeling like life has no purpose. Woodland areas are therefore very special to people, providing solace, peace and tranquillity when you most need it. As always in Hastings, beauty and hardship go hand in hand, which makes this a unique place for those of us who love it.
Hastings is an amazing place to live, the beautiful Old Town, up-and-coming St Leonards, the Country Park and of course places further afield like Rye and Winchelsea. What I have recently realised is that Hastings has its own ancient woodlands. If you take the back roads off the Ridge, or venture over Chown’s Hill where a few of us know a short cut to Westfield you are suddenly in deep woodland. Even Ivy House Lane Industrial Estate borders a thick ancient forested area and is a site of Special Scientific Interest. Marline Woods, St Helen’s Woods and Speckled Wood in Ore village are also amazing spaces which give you a sense of being in Hastings back in the past before the woodland was cleared to build ships.
I have been taking photographs since I was 12, as a born and bred Hastings artist and photographer. In fact photography has been my calling to a great degree, and has given me a true sense of who I am, and is part of my identity. I enjoy taking photographs in the moment, and observing small elements of every-day life, unobtrusively and respectfully. My Lock-down photos are currently on display in Uist (Taigh Chearsabhagh) and in Hastings OnLine Times (Lock Down Walk). I also have work at the Princess Royal Hospital (NHS at 70).
Do we value and appreciate the free things in life; beauty, nature and freedom? Obsession with consumerism and always wanting more out of life may have constrained and suppressed our need for contentment, fulfillment and happiness. I intend that the medium of photography can stir wakefulness as to benefits of nature’s wonder and beauty and hence the phrase “A picture speaks a thousand words”. The iconic vista of Cuckmere Haven is stunningly beautiful and is right on our doorstep.I elected to photograph in black and white, to sever the potential for distraction that colour can sometimes bring and to help emphasise other aspects, such as texture, shape and pattern. Black and White photography could conjure up the false impression, that of being only a defined change between light and dark. However, it’s the dynamic range and tonality within the brightness and shadows, that makes B&W photography so engaging.
A resurgence of interest in black & white photography has meant camera manufacturers’ have responded by introducing digital cameras that only record in monochrome. Appealing to those who hark back to days when only B&W film was available but with all the convenience of being digital.
Will a simpler lifestyle be part of your new normal?
Information: Chris Coombes Website
Shelter is one of a series of images that link together the essence of the coronavirus; an attempt to convey the peculiar dichotomy of people doing visible, ordinary activities against the backdrop of a pandemic that is all but invisible and has shut down everyday life. There is a note of caution or circumspection in some; a tone of uncertainty and a feeling of isolation in others. But in all, there is a sense of defiance and a spirit of getting on with life under lock-down.
Information: Frank Francis Instagram
And Then There Were None, Dining Room
This image is from a body of work, entitled And Then There Were None, which began nearly ten years ago. Recently, I have added to the series and, in the present time, its themes of national heritage and wealth accrued through inequities of power, have come to the fore. The historic country house is presented as the site of a ‘whodunit’ drama. Signs of wealth and a pyramidal social order help to create an atmosphere of misdemeanour and denial; but an additional tension is introduced through the contrast between interior and exterior space.
The outside world, glimpsed through windows and referenced through decorative elements and invading light, is set against an interior shaped by myth and narrative. As the vantage point within the landscape the country house provides some sense of mastery of that which lies beyond.
Is There Anybody There?
My image is about the strange and unique times we live in. The kind of general feeling of insecurity, unease, and uncertainty we are in. Not just COVID 19 but climate change, rising nationalism and my disappointment with the Brexit outcome and the increasingly uncertain future.
I have been a commercial photographer all my working life , I am now semi retired and for the last few years have been working on a portrait project The New Bohemians documenting the many wonderful creatives, artists and artisans of my new home of Saint Leonards and Hastings as well as my reportage photography.
I have found my work difficult to continue with during the current crisis, somehow taking pictures out in the world has felt more awkward and obtrusive than normal, whether this feeling is unique to me I do not know.
Nicole Zaaroura is a UK artist working site responsively through documented performative acts, exploring the borders of intimacy and distance. She reveals everyday choreographies and gestures as process for translating into peripheral, architectural and urban spaces. Her work has been presented in festivals, residencies and exhibitions across Europe.
‘Each gesture is an event, one might even say a drama, in itself’– Walter Benjamin
Lock-down, Spring 2020… living between broken rituals, hybrid spaces and invisible borders. Our performative gestures, our forensic body language, spring loaded. Our sliding doors. A distillation of space forms a new hybrid body, a new hybrid breath.
And so, within this time and space, I spell…and dispel…
An outstretched hand.
Taught fingers. An elongated arm. Our rolling distance.
This is how we talk.
Mutating, twisting. Intimate hybrid.
Slowly slowly…did I mention that I am sitting across from nothing…
From the series, Resting State
“To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither question nor answers, as if it weren’t the bearer of any information. This is not longer even conditioning, it’s anesthesia. We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep. But where is our life? Where is our body? Where is our space?”
Georges Perec. The Infra-Ordinary, 1973.
Information: Alexander Brattell Website
A personal response to the lock-down. This is one of three images from walks during lock-down that show how the countryside is also always locked down – the images are of encounters with closed footpaths.
In every permitted walk there is a quiet.
In the quietness there is an unquiet.
In the unquietness there is alone.
Alone to walk the paths of a permitted landscape.
The garden became the focus of activity for Haward over the long, isolating summer of 2020. Alongside the usual activities of digging, weeding, planting and pruning, further sensory activities took place through the process of excavating clay from the soil. Her aim was to try and make an object using the resources at hand – clay, hands, water, fire. The resulting images reflect this short and sunny period of handling, shaping and making objects from the earth. The objects themselves became almost incidental as the process itself – digging, sifting, draining and wedging became a soothing antidote the chaos going on beyond the garden fence.
Sharon Haward is a visual artist based in Hastings. Her practice is site responsive in nature and focuses on responding to cues in her immediate environment and expressing how they can shape our experience of space through their interactions with the body. Her photographs and installations reflect an interest in light, form and the tactile qualities of the built and natural world and how they affect our physical and psychological sense of place.
Lunch with Villanelle (socially distanced of course)
This image sums up so much from the summer of 2020. Lock-down for me and many others without a garden involved a lot of internet and television drama, comedy and film. The need for a distraction from our four walls, even from within them, and to hear the sound of human voices. Screen entertainment contributed to the sanity of us all, when our daily lives seemed lifeless the screen gave us colour.
‘Socially distanced of course!’ We collected so many new catch phrases during summer 2020, anything broadcast or published had to include the tagline.
And so we lunched together, Villanelle in her personal safe space and me in mine. Psychopathic behaviour notwithstanding, Villanelle is escapism encapsulated; the will to do whatever she wants in the moment, amazing wardrobe, and the expert ability to kill those who get in her way.
Due to our world changing around us I started to notice and think about things differently. Appreciating shapes and patterns I became in awe of the 16th century net huts that are iconic to Hastings.
By walking underneath these historic structures I was able to witness the spatial shape changing around me. Wandering through the narrow alleys between them, I became aware of the negative space formed between their dark cragged timbers and the contrasting sky. I started to document the shift in space and the ever transforming shapes that were created in a space not normally considered.
The World Unmade in Seven Days: Stone of the Day
Beach walks and finds of intriguing stones are always enjoyable, but daily government ordered walks at the beginning of lock-down shifted that feeling. Infected with COVID unease, our worldview filled with signs and warnings and my unconscious thoughts echoed in readings of the stones. In the hope of connecting with others to warm hearts with gentle humour and pathos, I posted a series of these talismanic objects / images on Instagram. Objects become my subjects, particularly those lost or discarded, mirroring our human vulnerability. New work evolves from a chance find, such as a broken earring or burnt chair leg left on the street. The poignancy of objects connects me with unknown histories and themes of loss, longing and hope. My work becomes in part an act of transformative repair.
Sinéid Codd completed her MFA at Camberwell College of Arts UAL in 2016, after which she exhibited with the Arts Research Centre, Macau, China and ARTSeville International Contemporary Art Fair.The artist held a solo exhibition with Project 78 Gallery, St Leonards on Sea in 2019. She was shortlisted for the prize at Rye Winter Salon, 2017. Recent awards include Time, Money Space 2020 and the Artist Research Bursary 2019 from a-n.
My Favourite Brush
This is one of several drawings made during the lock-down this year. They were responses to my favourite tools for gardening on my allotment and well used art tools. I enjoyed the process of making them and decided to place each drawing next to the tool and photograph them. Two views of each object. I have long loved the work of Jim Dine, his drawings of tools and Walker Evans’s photographs of tools.
My art practice has long concerned our relationship with the natural world. Our human disconnection from nature, and the harm that causes, has come to the fore with frightening ferocity this year. I hope my focus on this relationship adds to the urgent search for ways to support creative ideas on how humans can go forward to feed ourselves, and nourish all life on the earth.
In the Crosshairs
Created from a number of photographs that I took during the COVID lock-down in March 2020, the initial inspiration for this image came from Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, La Peste. Having studied this at ‘A’ Level in my youth, now, some forty years on, I am personally struck by how current circumstances have given the novel a new and vividly contemporary resonance.
La Peste is considered by many as a study in existentialism. Camus’ daughter recently spoke to Kim Willsher for the Guardian about her father’s work. She said that her father asked the same questions that everyone asks, and addressed the same suffering and pain and concerns that everyone has. She said that she believes that the message of La Peste is that we are all responsible for our actions. “We are not responsible for coronavirus but we can be responsible in the way we respond to it.” and “Perhaps with the lock-down we will have some time to reflect about what is real, what is important, and become more human.” Let’s hope …
Information: Clare Hocter Website
Reflections : Into the Blue
This work represents a period of reflection; it alludes to uncertainty where life is a mystery and unexpected things happen. The future is an unknown; a time of looking back and leaning gently into the future.
Made in a gesture towards our present time of uncertainty, intuitive organic reactions acknowledge that uncertainties occur, oddities seep in as we reach out to the unknown. ‘Reflections’, is a way of looking at how we have had to alter our behaviour and perspective as, over the last few months the world tilts; in particular slowing down, looking at nature and accepting, or not, the solitude, being alone and valuing community.
In the words of William Goldman, “nobody knows anything”.
Walking in the Seven Sisters Country Park with my father, who has Alzheimer’s, I was contemplating the permanence of the landscape and the transience of our human experience of it. The area has been used since the Mesolithic period, and I imagined stone-age man fishing in the marshes and looking up at the downs as I was. I felt that I could almost see the prehistoric landscape floating beneath the modern fences and pastures.
Making images with apparatus simultaneously as simple as I could devise (a magnifying glass and a pinhole held in front of the camera), and also completely contemporary (a modern DSLR and lens), I wanted to experiment with images that might be looking for that vanished world underneath the modern landscape or, conversely, revealing modern details clothing the ancient geography.
I am shooting the whole project on the Pevensey Marshes and the South Downs. I was due to shoot through last winter and post-process the raw material during my break from teaching, during the summer. In the event, lock-down stopped me shooting but allowed me to start processing the initial images with a heightened sense of the ebb and flow of human civilisation.
Information: Giles Stokoe Website