Gallery 286


February 1st-15th, 2005

Private view Thursday 10th February, 6.30 - 8.30

The Jonathan Ross Hologram Collection, created over the past twenty five years, contains a wide variety of work by artists and technicians from around the world. The collection and archive are normally viewed by appointment but occasional exhibitions allow visitors to view a selection of holograms in gallery surroundings - a regrettably rare experience in England these days.

This exhibition, the first for two years, comprises holograms made in the UK and USA from 1981 to 2001 - mostly the late 1980s and early ‘90s - and demonstrates the versatility of the medium with examples of Portraiture, Still Life, Abstraction and even ‘Landscape’ works.

Margaret Benyon’s ‘The Artist Richard Hamilton’, a collaborative piece reworking a 1970s image of Hamilton’s, displays subtle skin tones not normally associated with holographic portraits. Her ‘Painted Stephan’ combines a reduced image portrait hologram with a gouache painting; the viewer can move from one medium to another by shifting their position and, in addition, the painting can be seen from around the room while the hologram is only visible at close quarters and provides a more intimate encounter.

Martin Richardson is represented with two large format pulse laser compositions: ’Frenzy’ an homage to Hitchcock wonderfully illustrates, in its recording of ripped fabric, the capacity holography has to render fine detail. ‘Freedom is a Word’ a multiple exposure image combining a caged female figure with a flying dove also reveals, on closer inspection, water droplets frozen in space by the millisecond exposure.

David Pizzanelli’s ‘Dorothea, Blue Moon Eclipse’ takes photographic images of a young woman and combines them in a holographic collage of brilliant intensity. His ‘Naous’ juxtaposes images of a skull with animated, Warholesque, flowers to create a 20th century memento mori.

Harriet Casdin-Silver’s ‘Venus of Willendorf ‘91’ is a modern take on the primitive fertility goddess, using stereogram and electroforming techniques to make a miniature masterpiece reminiscent of a Daguerreotype.

Still Life is perhaps what most people would expect of a hologram - a three-dimensional recording of a static object - and Caroline Palmer’s Buddha and Hans Bjelkhagen’s ‘Russian Egg’ demonstrate to perfection how well holography accomplishes this task. Caroline’s monochrome work is exquisitely lit and composed, reproducing a work of great dignity in a unique way. Hans’s full colour image, created with the aid of red, green and blue laser lines, is a state-of-the-art museum recording showing the huge potential in this area. Margaret Benyon’s ‘Wrapped Flowers’, a two-colour double exposure work, and John Kaufman’s ‘Weeping Stone’, also a two colour image, use emulsion swelling techniques to add mystery and beauty to what are essentially still life compositions.

Holographic Abstraction can be found in Inaki Beguiristain’s kinetic ‘Remnant’, Caroline’ Palmer’s Bridget Riley-like ‘Elevator’, and Jon Mitton’s ‘Testosterone’ (though the latter is actually derived from multiple exposures of a woman’s body in a printed catsuit). Susan Cowles’s ‘The House of Moons’ has the subtitle ‘A Stage for the Chymical Theatre’ and could be taken as an abstract work or interpreted as a 3-dimensional maquette of a stage-set awaiting the arrival of some mystic protagonists.

Ken Harris’s ‘Lightman’ portrays a human sihouette illuminated by a radiant kaleidoscope of light in a way that would make a stained-glass artist weep with envy.

By contrast, Andrew Pepper’s ‘Square Eclipse’ is a far more restrained and subtle exploration of the unique language of holography. “ It is the recording of a shadow. That shadow casts its own shadow, which in turn is 'liberated' from the surface and exists between the viewer and the glass of the hologram. The shadow eclipses itself as the viewer moves around in front of the piece.”

Patrick Boyd’s work is rare in the way that it takes holography out of the confines of the studio and uses a photographic intermediary (a camera and motordrive) to capture sequences of life in the outside world : ‘Twin Towers’ and ‘Jackson Makes it to Manhattan’, both containing scenes of a cityscape which would be irrevocably changed by the events of 9/11, are the lighthearted observations of an Englishman in New York in 1990. He juxtaposes the holograms with photographic stills in a box frame, at once extending the viewability of the piece and its visual language. Boyd’s ‘Beano’ uses multiple exposures with misregistered colour to replicate the printing technique of the evergreen British comic in a holographic ‘fashion shoot’ done during his Royal College Days. Dean Randazzo also uses photographic imagery in ‘Remnant’ - in his case old home movies and family snaps: a bride and an archetypal American bungalow - to create a dreamlike, barely recognisable montage, displayed as a double sided transmission hologram in an elegantly sculptural

Display Holography, as opposed to the ubiquitous use of holograms in security printing and packaging, has been a fairly low-profile activity in recent years, but I detect some signs of a resurgence of interest, both from a younger generation curious to explore its potential and examine its history and from holographers who have been otherwise occupied for a while and are now returning their attention to the medium that captivated them in the past.

I hope this small exhibition serves as a reminder of some of the unique things that holography can do or, for those who haven’t encountered it before, as a stimulating introduction.

Jonathan Ross
January 2005

View list of the 22 works in the exhibition with links to information and images from each of the exhibitors.
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