Saturday, November 20, 2010

'Album' review - Liverpool Biennial 2010

Recent Review on the Feeling Listless Blog
Art During one of my previous obsessions, reviewing Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog, I talked about visiting the city centre in the middle of the night, when the only company were the street lights – this was before twenty-four licensing when the average Liverpool pedestrianised area was deserted, desolate and quiet. I likened it to Carlo Di Palma cinematography, but something I failed to mention was the orange glow that rendered across the pavements and walls, giving everything a slightly artificial quality, like a film sound stage.

It’s that orange glow which 
Rachel Louise Brown captures perfectly in The Boarding School, her contribution to the group show Album at Wolstenholme Creative Space. She spent a year creating work at this educational establishment inhabited by Japanese students whose parents are business people in London. In the accompanying information, Brown explains that she’d walk about the grounds at night and “experienced the psychological effects of fear and the unknown”. She's fascinated by the way analogue photography can “absorb, abstract and portray the psychology of artificiality”.

There’s a shot of the Manor House, the glow of an unseen light thrown across the building; some trees silhouetted to the point of abstraction and perhaps most surprisingly three portraits of the students themselves, in end of year poses, smiling enigmatically but surprisingly lacking in sinister intent as though heading to a midnight feast. The overall impression is magical, of capturing a memory or emotion and like the best photography drawing the viewer into the world of the photographer, be with her as she tramples about the grounds not sure what she might find.