Sight, Unseen:
Rachel Cunningham, Ellie Davies, Richard Kolker, Adrian Wood

Private View
Thursday 8 April, 18.30 - 21:00

Exhibition continues until 21 May 2010
© Ellie Davies
Sight, Unseen is a visual exploration of how shadow and darkness function in photography, a medium which relies implicitly on clarity, light and vision to impart ideas, thoughts and interpretations of the world around us.

Stories, rituals and narrative traditions surrounding these elements are found in every era, across a diversity of cultures, and have long been associated with negative phenomena such as nightmares, danger, death, hidden strangers, blindness and the supernatural.

The exhibition is the work of four recent M.A. graduate photographers whose exploration of shadow and darkness is inherent within their practice. Through the manipulation of darkness, creating an underlying intensity and tension, they play with the absence of visual information – or what cannot be seen – to place the viewer in an indeterminate, liminal plane between the real and the imagined.

Rachel Cunningham © (2007) Richard Kolker © (2010)
Rachel Cunningham combines her practice with an interest in art history, especially the place of still life in both history and painting. ‘Place/Home’ is a still-life series of taken in a house, on the outskirts of Paris, which has remained in the same family for generations. Through the contrast of light and darkness, the visible and the hidden, Cunningham explores the depth of time and the unknown or unsaid.

Ellie Davies’ images explore the notion that landscape can be viewed as a constructed cultural fiction.  Complex themes and metaphors obscure and overlay the landscape with additional meaning, directly reflecting the preoccupations and anxieties of the culture they were produced in.  These forest landscapes are cloaked in darkness; framing and encircling the otherworldly spaces the deep shadow references our perception of the natural world embedded in memory, history, storytelling and folk law, in which the forest has long symbolized the dark, hidden world of the unconscious.

Richard Kolker’s work deals with how we engage with the virtual reality of synthetic computer generated environments; but instead of portraying the escapism sought in the online fantasy world, he attempts to reflect the player’s often-mundane physical life. Although computer generated, the use of directional lighting and dark shadow helps to place the imagery at an ambiguous boundary where the blurring of the real and the unreal becomes apparent.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Stages of Man, Adrian Wood’s portraits are based on a transitional story or scenario from the subjects’ lives which he recreates. The images explore the border between the document and the staged, reality and artifice, and pose questions which cannot be conclusively answered by what is seen within the frame, forcing the viewer to become an invested participant in the triangular relationship between viewer, photographer, and the photographed. Characterised by their use of shadow, the domestic landscape, the gaze and the unseen, the artist intends that we may look at these images and, in reflection, see something of ourselves.
© Adrian Wood


Wednesday 28 April, 19:15
£5 (£3.50 for members)
Lucy Soutter will chair a discussion with the artists, exploring the process of formulating an exhibition proposal and the role of artist and curator. As recent graduates, the artists will also consider the value of undertaking an MA, establishing their careers and creating/promoting a new body of work.

Lucy Soutter is an artist, critic and art historian. She teaches in the department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art and is currently working with Routledge Press on a book entitled Why Art Photography?

Please call us on 020 7738 5774 to book a place.