Dean O'Brien's Blog

Hannah Starkey Exibition: Twenty Nine Pictures at Mead Gallery

with 2 comments

I am no stranger to the work of Hannah Starkey.  In fact over the past year I have constantly returned to her book to find inspiration in taking portraits of subjects in their environment.  The book ‘Hannah Starkey Photographs 1997 – 2007 is a beatiful, well presented landscape format book.  I have to admit that at first I did not feel that the images fitted well together.  Take for example the girl in the Arsenal shirt sitting in the cafe.  I never saw the connection with that and say  the pregnant woman in the pool.  However this is all deliberate and part of the narrative within the images.  The use of walls and architecture within the image add to create a sense of receding space.  You will find a mixture of tiles, metal, mirrored glass and plastic and virtually no soft surfaces in many of Starkey’s pieces.

The exhibition is Hannah’s first major solo exhibition for ten years.  It pulls together work made from her graduation from art college to the present.  All the images on display are c-type prints on aluminium.  This particular method was used so that visitors could see each print clearly without reflections.  Yet again, this is something that is making me look at how I present my own work.  Its easy to see that this is worth the time, effort and cost when looking at the images in real life.  It really is worlds away from looking at them in the pages of a book.

The exhibition runs until Saturday 12th March and is well worth a visit.

Next Stop:  Hannah will be giving a free talk at the Mead Gallery on 22nd February so I have just secured my ticket for that.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

February 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Hello Dean I went to this exhibition this afternoon.
    Fantastic photographs! I loved the photograph in
    the women’s bathroom where image is ‘reflected’ within
    a ‘reflection’. I wonder if Hannah was trying to say the
    likeness of a portrait is only a likeness and never a
    truthful representation just a ‘reflection’ of light
    bouncing of the surfaces.

    I also really appreciate seeing an image at large size as details missed at smaller size alter the narrative. For example the lady touching the mirror in the class is actually holding a moth in between her fingers.

    The book also puts Hannah work in ‘context’ by comparing with the painter edward hopper. I now understand what is meant by
    ‘context’! I think this comment is my best piece of critical thinking so far. Great blog Dean-well done!

    Chris Alford

    February 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  2. Thanks Chris. Much appreciated. I’m looking forward to her doing the talk there. I have a few questions I want to ask about her work.

    Dean O'Brien

    February 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm


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