More from Photo London!
The Huxley-Parlour Gallery has an interesting exhibition of work by nine contemporary female artists which they have gathered together under the umbrella of The Female Lens. Three of those artists Amanda Charchian, Petrina Hicks and Jocelyn Lee were exploring, each in their own way, the impact of the female gaze on that most traditional of artistic subjects, the female nude.
Amanda Charchian lives and works on the American west coast. Her black and white images of the female nude against an abstracted background are then overlayed with painted interventions directly on to the finished print. The combination of the pictorial style and the form and colour of the painted interventions gives the images a muted and lightly experimental feel that felt pleasantly retro, more 1950s British than C21 American. This might sound like a criticism but is not; I really enjoyed the works, and they have a very relaxing and engaging mood.
Petrina Hicks is an Australian artist whose appropriation and gentle subversion of the traditional female nude is more obvious. She includes in her images, for example, women who are disabled but still highly attractive, or settings which play with traditional notions of a classical setting. Petrina might be criticised for not pressing her subversion rather further, perhaps challenging more head on traditional notions of beauty, but she nevertheless creates works of considerable beauty and charm that can appeal to a broad audience.
Jocelyn Lee, another American photographer, takes the subversion of the traditional female nude rather further, with a clear intent to expand the traditional boundaries of what is defined as female beauty. Of the three photographers, she is also the most focused on exploring the character of her subjects, creating a portrait rather than a nude study. She is driven by the view that the essentially vulnerability of posing nude exposes the subject and gives insight to the character that might otherwise be missing. The result is a series of what at their best can be described as nude character studies.
Congratulations to Huxley-Parlour for what I thought was one of the more interesting displays at Photo London. It is the last day of the show today but I’m sure if you are interested the works will be available to view through the gallery after the show.