Leaping Lurcher, 1 972
FAY cobwm: LANDMARKS National Portrait Gallery. Edinburgh. Fri 10 Oct-Sun 11 Jan
Fay Godwin, by her own admission, was a late starter. She first picked up her camera to photograph her young children in the mid-19605 and this led to a more than passing interest in the art form. With no formal training but with incredible resolve. Godwin landed her first commission in 1969 to photograph a number of poets and writers for the covers of their publications.
Today. she is one of Britain's most acclaimed photographers. Best known for her black and white landscape studies, her work has reflected the diverse qualities and changing nature of the land. Not content with merely capturing the land's beauty. Godwin would photograph landscapes tampered by man. In New motorway works, Dover Cliffs (1990). a horse grazes in the foreground while construction lorries rip up the land. In Private land, Brassington, Peak District (1989), the idyllic country scene is juxtaposed with a hand-painted sign of dos and don'ts.
Throughout her career, Godwin has published a number of photographic books, from Land (1985). which brought together the first ten years of landscape practice, to Our Forbidden Land (1990) an impassioned account of the effects of the closure of large sections of countryside for
commercial reasons. “Our Forbidden Land is one thing that I am most proud of,’ says Godwin. ‘It was a very coherent look at what was happening in our environment. It was also a very tough book to do as l was threatened physically and legally.’
These photographic works revealed her passion not only as a photographer but as a campaigner for the ‘right to roam’. During 1987-1990, she was president of the Ramblers‘ Association, and her political views are very much apparent in her early works. But of course, there is more to Godwin than landscapes. The forthcoming retrospective, Landmarks, showcases her 30-year career. On show will be her lesser known literary portraits of, among others, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes and Kingsley Amis, the colour documentary study of life in Bradford's Asian community that she made in the mid-80$, and her most recent, abstract studies, Glassworks.
‘At the time of Our Forbidden Land, l was doing these little colour abstracts,’ she says. ‘I was photographing through dirty greenhouse glass and it was a total contrast to what I was doing in my conscious life. They had no purpose, they were just there for themselves and I really enjoyed doing them.’ Godwin admits that she feels that people tend to pigeon-hole her on work that she did 20 years ago. Landmarks looks set to change all that.
SUSAN DEFRGES lngleby Gallery, Edinburgh. Wed 8 Oct—Sat 8 Nov
Starfield - Grass, 2003
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box. lined wrth a sheet of photographic paper. into the cold water. The eddies and whirls move across the Surface. silent and dark. but making patterns all the same. Flashing a light onto the river, the fluid movements are captured as light shines through the Surface. illuminating the swrrling. rushing body of water and are reCOrded by the light- sensmxe paper. Imagine. then, that y0u are Susan Derges.
These are her revolutionary methods of exploring and depicting the natural orld. deteloped over years of experimentation. The water is her lens; the box and river her darkroom: the light her eye. It IS. in effect. a sophisticated aoxancement of the Original and rudimentary pinhole camera technique. And like the pioneers of the 19th century. Derges has been using sCIence to Create an and record the ephemeral magic of the natural world to exer-refined ends.
This exhibition shows WOka produced during a recent residency on the River Frndhcrn in north-east Scotland where the delicate twrgs of a fir branch look as
though they've cast their shadow on a deep. deep blue — wrth night sky reflecting into the dark waters. glowmg in places like phosphorescence. In other pieces Derges' newest techniques are revealed for the first time.
To try to explain it Simply: she has taken pictures of the moon usmg a camera from which she has made transparenCIes. Then, recreating natural scenes in her studio. she has hooked branches up to electro-transmitters that send frequenCIes Wthh. when COrrespOnding to the branches' natural vibrations. send tremors thr0ugh the elements. causmg the water to ripple and thus the image to be gently diffused. In others. she's fixed a camera to a telescope. allowing the Milky Way to burn its clouds of stars onto the film.
The sc:ence and methods are Intrigurng but her re3ults so magical that y0u can't help but be struck down in pure wonderment at the dark. mysterious beauty she has elicited. It's time to come night swamming. tRuth Hedgest
News from the world of art
IF YOUR NAME’S NOT BOYLE, O'Boyle, O'Baoghill or O'Baoill then you’re not coming in. Well, not quite, but you won’t be entitled to free entry to the fabulous Boyle Family exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 October. This is the first ever retrospective of the work of Mark Boyle, his wife Joan Hills and their two children Sebastian and Georgia. Their hyper-realistic reproductions of the earth's surface have been drawing in the crowds, and if you're not entitled to free entry, it's still well worth paying for. STAYING WITH THE NATIONAL Galleries. the Monet exhibition on show at the Royal Scottish Academy building has proved to be a real crowd-pleaser (was that ever in any doubt?). Breaking gallery records. 100,000 visitors have stepped through the RSA's refurbished d00rs to see over 80 paintings by the French impressionist. Now that 's impressive. The show ends on Sunday 26 October. GLASGOW’S SWITCHSPACE, the artist-run, peripatetic gallery space, is looking for invigilators for its forthcoming programme of exhibitions. Extra funding from the Scottish Arts Council has given its founders, Sorcha Dallas and Marianne Greated, the chance to support six artists to exhibit, and six writers to produce accompanying text to the exhibitions and invigilators. If you are interested, email sorcha.dallasOntlworld.com or call 07812 605745.
THE GALLERY OF MODERN ART in Glasgow is running a free evening visual arts course for adults. Held on Tuesdays from 6pm and starting on 14 October for ten weeks. the oeurse aims to help participants develop ideas and practices, learn new techniques or experiment with materials. Places are limited so call Alicia Vanner on 0141 229 1996 or email alicia.vanner@ cls.glasgow.gov.uk
2-16 Oct 2003 7". LIST 85