Blog Post | Members’ Project Review #1 by Miranda Gavin
Photofusion Members’ Project Review
#1 Love Rocks Amanda Jobson
Welcome to the first of my bimonthly Photofusion Members’ Project Reviews. Thank you to Amanda Jobson for submitting her work for review and for allowing the feedback to be made public so that it can be of help to others.
This series of images uses a variety of photomontage and collage techniques that combine the materiality of the human form as shown via dance, movement and gesture with that of natural rock formations. Some of the photographs combine black-and-white and colour photography, as well as short phrases and words— Love Rocks, Hell Hole, Surrender—handwritten in black felt. The artist’s statement accompanying the photographs reveals that the photographs used are from Jobson’s extensive archive of photographs of dancers taken in the 1980s as well as from more recent photographs of abstracted rock formations found in a specific location on the south east coast of England where she now lives.
Jobson’s varied series’ use different techniques that indicate the important role of intuition in her creative process, a concern for the tension existing between fluidity and stillness, and a desire to mix traditional photographic elements with handcrafted ones that allow for rawness and imperfection. There is also a punk aesthetic permeating these works, recalling posters and album covers from the 1970s and early 1980s. The use of a square format image and the repetition of square and triangular shapes within some of the photomontages is especially appealing, so too the use of blocks of key colours—a bright red T-shirt or a white skirt—which catch the eye and ‘pop’ out of the monochrome background. The overarching sense when looking at this series is that of a project in process, of experimentation and play.
As with many photographers’ work, there are some discernible historical and contemporary influences, some of which Jobson cites. These include Surrealism and the work of Eileen Agar, for example, Fish Circus (1939) in which Agar mounted a ‘found’ starfish directly on top of her collage, pen, ink and watercolour work. Combining three-dimensional objects, for example, small rocks, and then re-photographing the work creates a flat seamless surface, so too when montage and collage effects are created using computer programmes. Different modes of presentation create different perceptions and different objects. Using photomontage, the artist has a number of choices as to the final presentation and whether different surface layers, such as those making up a collage, become part of the texture of the final print or not.
Affinities with Jobson’s work include Dada artist Hannah Höch, a pioneer of photomontage who used images from mass media in her work including dancers; Eduardo Paolozzi’s collage, Hermaphrodite (Metaphor Time), 1960-62 (scroll down the page to the ninth line, collage is second from left);; and The Dance (ink and collage on paper, 2014) by multimedia artist Derek Boshier who was part of the British Pop Art scene in the 1960s.
Suggestions going forward include looking at alternative photographic processes that involve printing onto glass and other material as well as images whereby the artist sews directly onto prints, or folds paper, for example, Julie Cockburn’s work. Further ideas are Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematicism art movement with its focus on paintings using a limited range of colours and geometric forms including circles, squares, rectangles and lines, and Constructivism, especially its influence on design.
Amanda Jobson will be showing some of her collage works in a group show 1067 Mind Invasion at The Observer Building in Hastings. The show runs from 5-20 November.