Tag Archives: arts

nothing to see here : the wonderful world of oliver jeffers part II.


I first wrote about Oliver Jeffers here. A teller of fantastical children’s stories that are sweet and funny and with the most beautiful illustrations, Oliver Jeffers is also a figurative painter. His first London exhibition Nothing To See Here is at Lazarides Gallery in London opening tomorrow.

There is more than a touch of surrealism about his work, which also references familiar 18th and 19th century European landscape and still-life painting. Clearly an observer of modern life, the works question and provoke. The series of paintings which give the show its name show a classic rural landscape, or a reclining nude, defaced with the graffiti-like slogan Nothing To See Here, creating a tension between the picture and the words – which one is to be believed?

Oliver Jeffers’ world is an inquisitive one:

‘In contradicting modern scenes and subjects with references to classical painting, his depictions encourage the viewer to look a little closer at the world around them and question the mundane. Are we blindly ignorant or are our eyes wide open in the dark?’  


Oliver Jeffers: Nothing To See Here 13th September to 3rd October 2013 Lazarides Rathbone, 11 Rathbone Place, London. All images courtesy of the gallery.

More Oliver Jeffers: www.oliverjeffers.com

More in the gallery, here

saul leiter – photographs.

‘I believe there is such a thing as a search for beauty’

You might not have heard of Saul Leiter. His photographs are amongst the most striking I have seen – abstracted imagery and exquisite composition. They capture and document urban life in mid-century New York. His photographs and paintings are the subject of a new exhibition at Hackelbury Fine Art in London and I attended the opening last night.

Leiter was an early pioneer of colour photography, yet he was never driven by the lure of success. His intention was always to be a painter. He started shooting colour and black-and-white street photography in New York in the 1940s. He had no formal training in photography, but his early work was included in two important shows at MoMA in the 1950s, and he became a successful fashion photographer in the 1950s and 60s.

Leiter’s personal colour photography remained, however, out of public view. He printed some of his black-and-white street photos, but kept most of his colour slides hidden away in boxes. It was only in the 1990s that he began to look back at his colour work and start to make prints. I saw an utterly captivating film about him recently on BBC4 –  In No Great Hurry, 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter (also being shown at the ICA on the 27th June; details, here). It shows Leiter, who will turn 90 this year, in his studio, existing ‘on the periphery of the art world’, while simultaneously being widely regarded as one of the pioneering visions of colour photography. In No Great Hurry explores this contradiction of fame versus impact, with Leiter as the unwilling subject.

4. Red Umbrella c 1955 � Saul Leiter, courtesy of HackelBury Fine Art Howard Greenberg Gallery81671.Taxi 1957 � Saul Leiter, courtesy of HackelBury Fine Art  Howard Greenberg GalleryCanopy, 1958 © Saul Leiter courtesy of HackelBury Fine Art: Howard Greenberg Gallery

Snow 1960 / Red Umbrella c 1955 / Taxi 1957 / Canopy 1958 © Saul Leiter courtesy of HackelBury Fine Art/ Howard Greenberg Gallery

Throughout his life he continued to paint. The parallels between his photography and his painting are immediately evident. The exhibition at Hackelbury shows both media, and it is wonderful to see the paintings and photographs side-by-side. It is also exciting to see the photographs I know so well in the flesh. Smaller than I imagined, but intentionally so; one peers in, then becomes instantly drawn in to his world.

‘The ochres and reds of a passing taxi, the patterns of out of focus lights in Times Square, such details often find their equivalents in both the colour and form of particular paintings. Equally the delight in multiple layers of paint and texture can be seen in many of his exquisite street shots, which frequently use windows and mirrors to frame, veil, and abstract’. Philosopher and art historian Nigel Warburton interviewed Leiter, and has written this on the exhibition (and quoted, above).

What do you think of Saul’s photographs? Next week – his paintings and more on the current exhibition.

Images courtesy of Hackelbury Fine Art.

More in the gallery, here.

happy weekend.


Candida Höfer Galleria degli Antichi Sabbioneta I 2010, Light Jet print, 180 x 221 cm


Candida Höfer Teatro Scientifico Bibiena Mantova I 2010, Light Jet print, 180 x 225 cm


Candida Höfer Teatro Olimpico Vicenza II 2010, Light Jet print, 180 x 235 cm

Höfer produces large-format photographs of interiors of palaces, opera houses and theatres, without digital enhancement or alteration, working only with the existing light source. The result is a ‘rare combination of intimacy and scale, in which intricate architectural detail is captured without sacrificing the sense of space and civilised order’. Just sublime.

A Return to Italy, Ben Brown Fine Art, London, until 12th April. More, here

More in the gallery, here

black maria.


King’s Cross in London has been undergoing a metamorphosis over the last 10 years, from red light district to transitory train hub to destination in its own right. One of its latest reincarnations is as a major international contemporary arts destination.

The second installation in the newly created space is Black Maria, a commission by the British artist Richard Wentworth working in collaboration with GRUPPE, a young Swiss architectural practice. For four weeks the timber structure will inhabit the concourse, a top lit atrium space which forms a street connecting the historic Granary Building with the new Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Named after Thomas Edison’s 1893 timber film studio in New Jersey – the world’s first cinema and film production studio – Black Maria is an auditorium where passers-by are invited to find their own uses and purposes. The theatrical structure with its proscenium arch and broad terraced steps is merely a backdrop: the audience will become the players. During the day, Black Maria acts as a public space, into which one can freely walk, work, pause. At night, doors become screens, stairs become seating, and Black Maria turns into a space for discussions and screenings. It is a space where, thrillingly, anything can happen.


Black Maria is part of Relay, a nine – year arts programme. A list of Black Maria Events can be seen here.

All images via Dezeen

More happenings, here

capturing a moment.

Most often a photographer of fashion and beautiful women, Carsten Witte’s current work focuses on the cycle of beauty and transience. His flawless and perfect women seem to be captured ‘like in a butterfly collection, forever preserved on the crest of their perfection’; caught at the moment before beauty is lost.

His interior photographs for me also appear to capture a moment – the point just before someone enters the room, or the point just after someone has left. Quietly, serenely captivating.


More Carsten Witte, here

More in the gallery, here

more black dahlia.

A follow up to my earlier post, black dahlia; Brown, Pink, White with Diamond is another work by the artist Lena Wolff. Lena explores abstract drawing, light sculptures and installations, and this piece shows clearly the geometries and iconic patterns derived from early American quilts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which inspire much of her work.

More about Lena Wolff can be found here.