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Karl Blossfeldt


Art Forms in Nature


13 May - 10 June 2017

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Karl Blossfeldt: Art Forms in Nature is a Hayward Touring exhibition which presents an original portfolio of 40 photogravures from 1932, entitled ‘Wundergarten der Natur’, edited by the artist and published in the year of his death. The exhibition presents an opportunity to witness an exemplary set of Blossfedt’s signature close-up images of plants and flora.

Blossfeldt (1865-1932) is regarded as one of the defining photographers of the twentieth century for his exceptional contribution to the art through his intricate botanical photographs. During his career, which spanned over three decades and included 6,000 photographs, Blossfeldt developed homemade cameras and lenses which enabled him to magnify his subjects by up to 30 times. In doing so he captured the microcosmic aesthetic of his specimens and revealed the underlying structures of nature, which until then remained unexplored.

Blossfedt originally trained as a sculptor and his amateur interest in botany lead him to explore naturally occurring forms which to his artist eye had a sculptural quality. In 1928, he was convinced to publish portfolios of images which he had previously only used as teaching tools and as aides memoires for his sculptural practice. These portfolios were compiled under the over-arching title Urformen der Kunst (Artforms in Nature). The publication became an overnight sensation, praised by figures including philosophers Walter Benjamin, George Bataille and artist Maholy-Nagy for its commendable photographic technicality and for its objective portrayal of an ‘unknown universe’. His photographs also became highly celebrated among early modernists and Surrealists during the late 1920s. 

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All images part of 'Wundergarten der Natur', 1932
© Estate of Karl Blossfeldt
Courtesy of Hayward Touring

Street Jam Live 2017


Southampton Guildhall Square


13 May 2017, 10am - 5pm


FREE EVENT celebrating street art in the heart of the city, with graffiti, hip-hop, dance and live music.

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BONZAI, TOMASZ, KEV MUNDAY, MY DOG SIGHS, LATCHKEYKID, JINKS, RYAN KAI, DANCE from BREAKIN' CONVENTION with the Mayflower Theatre, SOUTHAMPTON SOLENT UNIVERSITY ART STUDENTS, SOCO MUSIC PROJECT, and many more

Showcase Gallery in collaboration with Mayflower Theatre brings back live street art this year with Street Jam Live 2017 – a free, open to all event in the heart of the city’s Cultural Quarters, celebrating street art.

This will be the third time Showcase Gallery takes over Southampton's Guildhall Square with visual artists and musicians ready to show off their skills to the public. But this year it will be bigger, as dance performances curated by the Mayflower Theatre will join in!

The artists will create new work throughout the day on large scale canvases of Perspex and board. Graffiti artists will create new pieces using cellograff - a technique developed in France in 2009, by Astro and Kanos, which involves using spray paints on a cellophane surface, creating a wall-free, legal, graffiti piece.

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To add to the street vibe, SOCO Music Project will be in residence with an open mic stage, hosting impromptu performances from local hip-hop artists and rhymers. SOCO Music Project is a local organisation that has been delivering engaging and inspirational music making activities since 2008.

The collaboration with the Mayflower Theatre brings performances developed by Breakin’ Convention, the international hip-hop theatre festival based in London .

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This is a great opportunity for all ages to come and see artists and musicians working live. There will be activities for all ages to join in and learn some skills, including:

  • Live music-making,
  • Kids chalk area,
  • Community stencil wall,
  • Open mic sessions.

It is all free and open to everyone!

Don’t forget to share your experience on the day, using the hashtag #streetjamlive. We’d love to see pictures and videos from you all!

Watch the videos from Street Jam 2014 and 2016

 

Image credits: Paul Watts

Small Faces Open Exhibition

People's Portrait Project


3 March - 21 April 2017


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In the Small Faces postcard portrait exhibition every single submission was shown. This participatory art project was created by everyone, for everyone, and transformed the gallery into a huge installation of portraits - a sea of faces.

The response to the open call for submissions was phenomenal. Over 7,000 postcards were created by people of all ages, from 2 to 92, and from all walks of life. Local and national artists, international groups, communities and schools from the region and beyond were all exhibited alongside one another with equal value - a collective act of creativity. Click on the image above to take a virtual tour of the exhibition.  

The Showcase Gallery team, together with local artists, delivered workshops to schools and community groups to encourage even the most reluctant to try their hand at creating art.

The diversity of talent in the exhibition was extraordinary. The sheer number of works transformed the gallery - a reflection of society in one space.

Examples of some of the postcard portraits

Download the contributing artists booklet

Expectations of the Past


by Louise Weir


16 December 2016 - 11 February 2017

Private view: Friday 6 January, 6-8pm

Louise Weir - Expectation of the Past

This new and recent work is an investigative journey of memory, identity and loss informed by Dickens' novel Great Expectations, which examines very similar themes. Exploring the text helped Louise examine her own personal history and emotional landscape, creating a dialogue between the text, isolated memories and specific events at the time of making.

Louise has repeatedly visited locations from Dickens' novel and those featured in her own poetry. They draw on memories of real characters and locations around her childhood home in the north west of England.

In her work, Louise creates an emotional landscape as well as a physical one. Elements fragment, reappear and echo to create a mysterious place where the stories and memories overlap, meet and converse; 'real' memories and 'fictional' narratives that co-exist in parallel landscapes converge.

At each location Louise collected new items to draw with, such as grasses, seed pods, flowers, feathers, earth and discarded items particular to that space. Using water from streams she mixed mud with paint, letting rain fall on the artwork; pressing flowers and printing from them. This was a vital part of capturing the magical quality of each location to convey that drawings are not just a response to a place, they are bound up with it.

At first, Louise drew in sketchbooks, moving on to larger sheets of paper and pots of paint over time, and progressing from twigs and grasses to small branches and larger decorating brushes. These larger drawings acted as a starting point for further investigation and development, both in the print studio at Solent University's School of Art Design and Fashion, and in her studio in London Fields, Hackney.

Her response to location is informed by loss, memories and a new appreciation of what can be tied up in the memory of a 'place', especially one we call home. This dialogue between past and present is reflected in Louise's methodology, which brings together a breadth of traditional and digital processes.

Louise chose to print all texts using letterpress - a printing method rarely used commercially today, but common practice in the nineteenth century. She used a Baskerville font (an 'old style' serif text) to capture the mood and feel of a literary work. Monotype was cast by Stanley Lane at his type foundry and workshop in Stroud, Gloucestershire, a place knee deep in history, upholding a craft and tradition that was once a mainstay of the print industry. When type is being made, the room is very hot and noisy, with a rich mixture of smells and sounds and textures. Type is usually returned and smelted down for future commissions, but the text used for Louise's show will be retained as a working artwork and also for posterity, as this will be one of the last small jobs Stanley Lane takes on.

Louise's poems were printed at the London Centre for Book Arts on a Stephenson Blake 25 printing press, with the help of Simon Goode, on paper supplied by GF Smith.

After the exhibition closed Showcase Gallery on 11 February, it is touring to:

  • The Gallery at Bank Quay House, 2017
  • The Dickens Museum, 2018

You can find out more about Louise and her work on her website and on Twitter.

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This exhibition was funded by the Arts Council England

The Caravan Gallery

The Caravan Gallery is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale, who use photography to document what they call the 'reality and surreality' of everyday life. Founded in 2000, The Caravan Gallery is a mobile exhibition space and itinerant social club on wheels housed in a 1969 mustard-coloured caravan. The venue has travelled thousands of miles taking contemporary art to unexpected locations and tens of thousands of people in Britain and abroad.

Find out more about The Caravan Gallery

extra{ordinary} - Photographs of Britain by the Caravan Gallery

21 October - 1 December

Solent Showcase is delighted to be hosting extra(ordinary), an exhibition of over 100 photographs made over the last 15 years that show the extraordinary in the everyday - an extraordinary record of social change since the millennium.

The Caravan Gallery - W Bruce Ship Painters Fraserburgh 2014 

In addition to the {extra}ordinary exhibition at the Showcase Gallery, The Caravan Gallery is also running exhibitions and events around Southampton city centre:

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