A selection of nature-based photographs by Liverpool photographers Colin
Serjent and Jane Groves
Having said this, the photographs provide pools of tranquil beauty for contemplation and I liked looking at them. Colin Serjents photographs approach two-dimensional abstraction in their close observations. I particularly liked the one with the dark tracery of branch and twigs: bare against a bright sky so that there is a resemblance to stained glass windows. And there was an extra surprise because although at first it looks monochromatic, there are some delicate patches of green. The photograph paired with this, of texture and shadow, nicely balanced between black and white, moves further towards abstraction, as if to make a point. Sky as back-drop is a prevalent theme in Colins work and he experiments with the proportion of background sky to whatever is in the foreground. In a jewel-like development of the stained glass motif is a photograph where the pattern of dark branches is placed against a bright blue sky, with lime green leaves. The blues the thing here whereas in another photograph with illuminated lime and orange leaves, the blue is minimised, though it is there to enhance the warm orange tones. So its power is still strong though it is less impactful in itself. My favourite and its hard to choose is powerful through its oriental-style minimalism: bare, perpendicular branches against a blue, blue, sky.
If Colin Serjents selections echo sky, then Jane Groves gives us waters edge as well as a variety of other elements. Mirror, Mirror , taken at Crosby Beach Sefton, nicely duplicates the pewter greys and pinks of sunset in the liquidity of the beach. Developing the theme of foreground textural interest we see in Mirror, Mirrors ridged sand, we have the spiked drama of cool, green sea holly and bowed grasses through which to view the clamorous breakers and ice blue sky. Sea Hollys colour palette creates a real experience of a chilly northern climate you can feel the spiky air. Sticks and Stones is another beach scene, combining the texture of stones with the decorative punctuation of vertical breaks. Jane does have a feeling for drama. Clocks presents a contrast between the gauzy delicacy of seed heads and the sturdy materiality of stalks in silhouette, whilst Autumn Sunrise shows striking light orangeing the ground through the darkness of trees and the perpendicular rhythm of tree trunks. Swirl has a different feeling. Taken in Essauoira, Morocco, it captures the heat of thermal air in deep blue sky, and a sense of distance enhanced by the diminishing sizes of floating birds.?
Although displaying art in unconventional places has some validity: environmental and conceptual, I think it should be done in such a way that the focus is, as much as possible, on the work. You dont need a fancy gallery for that; I have seen an exhibition of portraits in a carefully lit, white-washed stable converted into a temporary dormitory. It was convincingly balanced between function and drama.
*At the same time that art is thus made accessible to a different type of audience, a statement is being made about the commodification of art works by the capitalist market place of buying and selling, which has little to do with creative self- expression and everything to do with profiteering. How many artefacts have been consigned to bank vault to make money in the dark?