Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Unseen Meijburg Art Commission Nomination

I am extremely delighted to announce that I have been nominated for the Unseen Photo Fair new award, the Meijiburg Art Commission! I am nominated along with four other fantastic artists, including a few friends too, it is sure to be an exciting wait to see the winner revealed and good to luck to us all. 

Here is how Unseen Photo Fair announced the shortlisted artists, "Overwhelmed by both the number and quality of submissions from last month's open call for all Unseen artists aged 35 and under, we are proud to announce the shortlist for the brand new Meijburg Art Commission. Following their nomination, the selected talents will further develop their proposals for the site-specific commission to be presented to an international jury prior to Unseen Photo Fair & Festival. The final winner will be announced by the jury during an exclusive Meijburg & Co Tax Lawyers event at Unseen 2015, and will be given the opportunity to produce the commissioned work for the Meijburg & Co office in Amstelveen."

Unseen asked what a commission of this kind would mean to me, I responded with, Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, the notion of professional exchange is paramount to the development of my artistic practice. Having the opportunity to engage, inspire and deliver to other audiences within a supportive commissioned environment is invaluable as a stimuli at this stage of my career. To work with a global company that understands the importance of innovation, knowledge and provides a made-to-measure service only echoes my ethos within contemporary photography.

All the works nominated can be seen at the Flowers Gallery booth in Unseen Photo Fair, opening Thursday 17th September and on the Gallery's website. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Things Are Really Hotting Up For September...

I am very excited to say that I will be exhibiting with Flowers Gallery for the much anticipated 2015 edition of Unseen Photo Fair with my latest collaborative series, Lunar Caustic, the result of a much labour of love with the Beijing Silvermine. Thomas Sauvin and I are delighted to be showing the series, with some special Unseen Premiere editions - works only released a few weeks ago and never seen before! 

Things are certainly hotting up, ready for Unseen, as talks, commission news and events start to come through, planning continues and September looks to be a very special month. Very, very excitingly before Amsterdam, works are being sent across the water to sunny California for a wonderful exhibition with Rose Gallery, more to come on that shortly...

For news and updates from Unseen and Flowers Gallery, see here:

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Sicilian Rest To A September Schedule

It's been a while since I've managed to get a blog written and finally with a few hours spare in the day, I can finally sit down and put my thoughts together! July has been completely insane for all the right reasons, a wedding, a rest, productions and exhibitions. With so much going on it is difficult to know where to start, but Sicily is surely the best place.

I jetted off to Sicily while the photo world descended on Arles to take a break and be part of the wedding of the century, my dearest friends, a Sicilian living in London that I've known for many years and meet while we were both interning at Magnum Photos. It was an absolute delight, spending time in her home town of Trapani, seeing the sights and of course being part of their special day. I always love these times, a time to reflect on life, enjoy the moment and look to the future. Plus with the Sicilian sunny skies and an abundance of Prosecco, I was in heaven! It always goes so quickly and before you know it, we were all back in London, ready for the next chapter.

As July whizzes past, more and more exciting doors open, with much preparation needed with exhibitions and Art Fairs to plan for. As the production continues I am very excited to be part of Unseen Photo Fair with other exhibitions to be released soon. As per usual, the summer looks like it is going to be quite a busy time with no time for rest and relaxation! Watch this space for more details, I think I'll be needing a long holiday somewhere exotic by the time this year is out!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Beck - Station to Station

I had the absolute pleasure of attending Beck's performance, part of the Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening at the Barbican, all conceived by the truly outstanding Doug Aitken. Having been a big fan of Beck for a long time, hearing about his concerts, that are more than performances, I knew that this was going to be an extraordinary event, but what I witness comes no short of genius!

As you entered into the Barbican, a flurry of excitement and anticipation rose as the scene was set with a small selection of the LSO seated in centre stage, 3 large film screens ready for projections and three cowboy's sat quietly on the left of the stage. Everything was draped in twilight, with a mist that rose from the ground. As the projections started, scenes and re-workings from Aitken's Station to Station film, Beck walks in, dressed as if a cowboy himself, holding his guitar. What follows can only be described as some of the most beautiful, stunning and imaginative performances I think I may have seen.  

It felt as if you had been transported into the Mid West, the sounds of trains coming into a station as cowboys point out into the audience. Interludes of lyrical poets chase the ideas introduced by Aitken and Beck as they lively perform, very different in their styles, expressive in their nature. Simon Armitage, Jeminia Foxtrot, Luke Wright are some of 6 that shaped this extraordinary evening. 

Then onto Beck and many of his friends that joined, Thurston Moore, James Sedwards, BJ Cole and Leafcutter John! Beck was unbelievable, standing on a wooden box, singing in the way he only knows how, every word poignant and beautiful sung, let alone his musicality as he plays his harmonica! Then Thurston Moore. 

The tempo changed, Moore's guitar set the Barbican into a weird and wonderful, hair raising, diesel infused abstraction. As the sounds increased, the projections quickened, until what you could hear and see can only be described as sensorial euphoria. Flashing heat spots, overlaying of train tracks, orange, yellow, white as the sounds became less known and more abstracted. The decibels increased to a point of near no return, you were being pushed to your limits, more, and more and more. Then quiet.

It was nearing the end and we all waited in anticipation, hoping that it would carry on into the night, but alas it could not and what a wonderful end to hear Beck play one of his newest works, "Wave" with the LSO as backing, with tears welling in my eyes and my heart in my throat - this is how to spend a Monday night, incredible, just incredible.     

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Sunny Days In Sorrento

I've been a bit quiet lately, so I thought I better had update you on what has been going on. A real mixture of amazing relaxing days in sunny Sorrento to crazy busy days preparing for new shows this year and next! 

After all the craziness that happened prior, during and post PhotoLondon, with the performance at the Tate for OffPrint, it was a very welcomed break to be jetting off to Sorrento for 5 days to sit back, relax and enjoy all that Italy had to offer. Staying in a beautiful villa over looking the coast with views across the sea to Vesuvius, it was an incredible way to wake up and go to sleep! Many a peaceful day on the beach, drinking prosecco and enjoying the stunning scenery that the Amalfi coast has to offer - happy days indeed. We even got to witness a full circled rainbow, it was truly unbelievable, I have never seen anything more amazing - astounding!!!

Then back to London to carry on the prep for my shows this year and next. More to come on both soon, but I am very pleased to say that I shall once again be at the Unseen Photo Fair in September, lots of exciting times lay ahead more soon...

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

PhotoLondon, OffPrint And A Smokey Installation At The Tate Modern - All In Just One Week!

Wow! What a week this has been... As PhotoLondon 2015 debuted and succeeded, OffPrint took over the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern, SPBH curated a weird and wonderfully pleasurable Project Space, I've drunk my body weight in alcohol and danced off the rest, and finally smoked out the Turbine Hall in the performative installation, The Smoke House, it's been fantastic, but I am looking forward to relaxing now!!!

The week commenced with many openings, very notably the Whitechapel Gallery's exhibition of Christopher Williams which is an absolute must, a truly delicate show that astounds you, as you wonder through the show, dropped hang photographs are set against rough, unfinished walls with not an ounce of contrive, just perfect curation. Then onto the MaxMara Prize for Women, as Prosecco filled our glasses, the works controlled the centre stage, intermixing textiles, installation with a strong Italian essence and style. 

The week continued in the same vain, opening, after opening including of course the new Photo Fair at Somerset House. Some excellent galleries worth mentioning are of course, Rose Gallery with their stunning original Eggleston's that are truly out of this world, Flowers Gallery with their perfect positioning and collection of both emerging and established back to back, Ingleby Gallery's presentation that was utterly divine and many others like Tristan Hoare and Ravestijn Gallery. It is worth mentioning that the fair itself is rather difficult to navigate through and would benefit from some strong thematic curation, but as a first, I think it could be a good balance between the many others!

Friday saw OffPrint open at the Tate, and what an opening it was. Hundreds upon hundreds of people turned up to see, experience and purchase as well as watch and take part in the SPBH Project Space programme of events and performances. From Selfie-Stick aerobics, Hacking, Crystal Healing, Live book making to Laughter, the programme engaged and amazed many.

I was very proud and honoured to be taking part and on Sunday 24th at 16:00pm, my performance started in the Turbine Hall! As the glasshouse was wheeled through the publishers into position, a sense of intrigue built. Smoke was pumped into the glasshouse, getting thicker and thicker by the second. It bellowed up into the roof, swirling and spiralling, catching the black books as it rose, each one gently spinning. The smoke continued for a time, before being released out into the Turbine Hall, as I entered the glasshouse and for a time disappeared amongst the smoke before the doors and windows where opened. Clouds of thick white smoke, danced their way out of the glasshouse into the space, as onlookers watched intently. 

For those who missed the performance you can see it here on SPBH TV:

It was a week to remember and now I look forward to a well earned rest, a massive thank you to all that supported the performance, in front of and behind the scenes!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Performative Installation - The Smoke House At Tate Modern For OffPrint London 24th May 4-5pm

I am extremely pleased and proud to announce that my Performative Installation, The Smoke House is part of the SPBH Project Space at the Tate Modern for OffPrint London 2015. The piece will be performed in the Turbine Hall on Sunday 24th May 4-5pm!

"In a ritualistic response to the fire and flood at Gibson's studio, the artist reclaims her experience in this citation of the performative installation, The Smoke House.

Physically creating a space whereby controlled levels of smoke bellow into a polycarbonate glasshouse and where books dangle from strings inside.

This performance visualises the sensorial elements, allowing the viewer to witness what Gibson faced on that evening. Offering a cathartically ordered and shared experience that was absent at the time. Through the visual pleasure of looking, suggestions around our human intrigue towards trauma come into question as we wait, watch and wonder."

More can be found here; and with a fantastic programme of events, it is surely a weekend not to miss!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Art Ltd - The Gender Gap

Great to see a review of my recent show at Sloan Projects in Santa Monica, by Molly Enholm in the May issue of Art Ltd, with a focus on the gender gap - Are Female artists still undervalued? Here is an excerpt from the review.

“The seeming dichotomy between the two series on view in the promising inaugural exhibition at Sloan Projects — three large-scale paintings by Claudia Parducci paired with a series of intimately scaled collaged photographs by Melinda Gibson — may have more in common than first glance might suggest. Though culled from disparate sources, each artist tackles iconic imagery in order to reassess the weight they typically wield.

Contrasting the monumentality of Parducci’s paintings are UK-based Melinda Gibson’s collage works. The ten individual works are installed in a repetitive manner, just below eye level, methodically spaced at regular intervals within identical frames. Where Parducci explores the sublime, Gibson mines the didactic; her collages are composed of the photographic images that fill the pages of Charlotte Cotton’s academic book “The Photograph as Contemporary Art,” which Gibson came across as a student at the London College of Communication. Forget writing in the margins; in these works Gibson literally deconstructs the authority of the academic text, as she cuts out, rearranges and overlaps the “textbook examples,” creating new meanings and associations from the photography of her predecessors. The motif of the human silhouette becomes a unifying element of these works, from layered images which form a Magritte-esque bust in Photomontage VII, to the sensuality of intertwined reclining figures fastened out of the interior scenes and landscape photography of Photomontage III, originally from pages 106, 136 and 202 from Cotton’s tome. Like Parducci, Gibson’s works prompts a desire to reassess the influence of the ubiquitous images from daily life, whether they aim to document or educate."

Friday, 1 May 2015

Upcoming Talk - Royal Photographic Society - 'Concerning Photography' On Saturday 16th May

I am very excited to be part of the 6th Annual weekend event held by the Contemporary Group of the Royal Photographic Society, speaking at Concerning Photography on Saturday 16th May 2015. With a weekend of events including talks by wonderful artists and curators, like Melanie Manchot, Paul Reas, Zelda Cheatle, Peter Mitchell amoung others it is going to be a very inspiring and exciting event.

I will be speaking on Saturday afternoon and will be talking about my practice, proposing questions around the  role of the artist in Contemporary Photographic culture.

More information can be found here: 

Newly Launched - Aperture's The PhotoBook Review 008 - Publisher’s Note: Lesley A. Martin

Last weekend saw the launch of the new Aperture Magazine 'Tokyo' along with the excellent PhotoBook Review 008, which will also launch this week in Los Angeles at ParisPhoto LA.  I am very proud to have contributed a piece of writing to the issue and with the Publisher's and Editor's notes live now, here is an extract from Lesley A. Martin.

"The PhotoBook Review 008 coincides with the Summer 2015 issue of Aperture magazine, “Tokyo” (#219), as well as with Shashin, a symposium and festival for Japanese photography that takes place on April 24 and 25 at the New York Public Library. All three have been shaped, in part, through consultation with Our Man in Tokyo and this issue’s guest editor, Ivan Vartanian of Goliga.

That essential idea—of redrawing the boundaries of the photobook via events and performances, in order to engage audiences at earlier stages of a book’s creation or more inclusively at the time of its launch—has its own history. But it has also become an important part of our present. This issue includes commentary from contemporary artists such as Melinda Gibson, Katja Stuke of BöhmKobayashi, and Jason Fulford, as well as curators and publishers such as Bruno Ceschel and Aron Mörel, on the intersection of performance, bookmaking, and audience engagement."

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

5 Years - 1826 Days - Automatic

5 years, 1826 days and I finally feel ready to release the words and films that have been so dear to me for these past years. Today, five years ago, my life changed, along with many others - it was the end of our youth as my dearest friend committed suicide on the 21st April in 2010. It's taken many years to come to terms with the heartache, the longing and the sorrow that followed that day and there are still days where it feels as though someones hands are around my neck, squeezing the breath out of me, but today the weight is much, much lighter and I want to share with you an openness, the works I made over these past five years.

Automatic, brings together a collection of works that I made, encompassing 12 automatic typewriter texts - unconscious streams of writing, almost poetic in there nature, where mistakes are many and letters run into one another. The subject matter, often dark has an honesty that bares itself open, these texts, written in 2011 physically act as a release. The short film, 11 AM is 1 of 13 that captures the passing of time, every hour on the hour, as the first anniversary dawned. Each short film, ten to fifteen minutes long, quietly documents the light falling on my written eulogy and the sounds that echo from outside, the noises of normality.

This year will see the final film made and a closing of this project, so stay turned to see the results and all that 2016 has to offer. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

London At Its Best - Marclay And Delaunay

It happens so often in London, that you say, 'I must see this show, don't worry I'll get to it next week' and before you realise it, the show has opened and closed before you even got a chance to put it in your diary! So with the multitude of incredible shows on at the moment, I made some time to take a few days out of work and enjoy all that the city has to offer. What better way to enjoy the summery days then with a walk around the galleries, intermixed with lunch and drinks with friends and family.

Christian Marclay's exhibition 9 x 9 x 9  at White Cube's Bermondsey space closed last Sunday, so I was determined to make sure that I didn't miss it. I am a huge fan of Marclay and to say I was not disappointed is an understatement; excitement, intrigue and amazement would be a few words to describe my feelings towards his video installations, audio performances and new works within the white walls. 

The exhibition was a triumph visually as well as conceptually. To sit inside a darken room, surrounded with four walls of projected Comic Collaged text, swirling around, up and down created this extraordinary sensory experience that was felt deep into your pit of your stomach. At times it was if your had drunk to much absinthe and been left to interrupt your dreams, as the room spun around, a group of black figures at the centre, holding tightly on. Then into the other rooms; refined silkscreen prints and large scale canvases, a nod to the Pop Art movement as well as wonderful collaborations with the London Sinfonietta and the Vinyl Factory, where performance and production where intertwined. It was truly spell binding.

Yesterday saw a wonderful family trip with my baby nephew to see the newly opened Sonia Delaunay exhibition at the Tate Modern. This exhibition was to our delight very quiet, we could take our time, slowly meandering through the huge exhibition, admiring the sensational colours, expressively painted in the stunning works that earned Delaunay such respect in the early 1900's. The works on paper were beautiful, the curvature of the gouache, the fluid movements created by the forms she drew, a tactility of materiality as well as a sensual, intimate touch to the figure she painted in the Tango series, we were all captivated! 

What was wonderful to see was how her natural style could so easily be translated into graphic patterns, textiles, Fashion as well as Theatre costumes. To see her design illustrations, the print and fabrics as well as clothing was intriguing. The craftsmanship of these works, the woven designs made in Russia to her costume designs for the Hungarian Dadaists, her Delaunay style, artistic vision was always so prominent, an extraordinary women of her time whose vision today seems still so contemporary, a true inspiration. I shall be sure to return again to experience this must see exhibition.