Work by two exciting photographers is on show in the Archisle International Photographers in Residence 2017 Exhibition.
Jonny Briggs’ Unpalatable Truths and Tanja Deman’s Sunken Garden are available to view for just a few days more at CCA Galleries International, St Hellier, Jersey.
The exhibitions, both printed by Spectrum Photographic, run until September 22.
Jonny Briggs‘ art might be thought of as a reinterpretation of family photography.
He is concerned with questioning his familial context and the role he was ‘socialised into’ by his parents and siblings.
Briggs is acutely aware of the fictive properties of photographs. What we choose to photograph and keep for the archive creates a social construct of family.
As Archisle Photographer in Residence, Briggs has shifted his viewpoint from his immediate family into an insular societal context.
For his Jersey project, Briggs has directed his artistic enquiry towards the island’s history, establishment and archives.
Unpalatable Truths deals with issues of authority, censorship, disgust and concealment. It also addresses that question over the status of photography itself – fact or fiction?
In July, chief minister of Jersey, senator Ian Gorst issued a statement in response to the Jersey Care Inquiry.
“Too often children were not believed,” he said. “Unpalatable truths were swept under the carpet because it was the easiest thing to do.”
Briggs’ photographs are visual responses to the social and politics context of the inquiry and its reporting in the media.
Certain motifs recur throughout the exhibition; the mouth, the colour red, the circle, pixelation and the use of lipstick as paint.
Briggs says they refer to ‘the importance, but equally the danger, of having a voice, issues of censorship and the use of art as a method for saying the unsayable’.
The exhibition’s pervasive theme is the importance of questioning authority and the dilemma of dealing with difficult histories.
“Usually it’s the topics that are hardest to voice that are the ones that need to be spoken about the most.”
Black and White Series: Enlarger Covered with Lipstick focuses on a projection enlarger in the former States of Jersey Police Headquarters masked with lipstick.
This creates the effect of a red safelight. To Briggs, the use of red lipstick evokes the inside of a human body. It also references the closed mouth and the use of make-up in covering up’.
Born in Croatia Tanja Deman‘s art is inspired by her interest in physical and emotional perceptions of nature, environment and architecture.
Deman’s works are evocative meditations on urban space, landscape and human relationships with nature. They incorporate photography, collage, video, public art and sociological research,
Observing the legacy of modernism within the natural landscape, Deman reflects on the dynamics hidden beneath the surface of built and natural environments.
In 2015 she began Salt Water a new series exploring the underwater landscapes of the Adriatic Sea.
In her Jersey project Deman develops this body of work further for the exhibition Sunken Gardens.
“Growing up by the seaside in a harbour city that recently became a tourist mecca re-directed me towards a quest for hidden off and on shore environments: less approachable marine shores and sea beds,” says Deman, an Archisle Photographer in Residence.
“In Jersey I have made a photographic exploration of inter-tidal zones, capturing morphological formations of the seabed, reefs and cliffs that penetrate the sea depths; the transmission and refraction of light through the sea water; and above all the lush underwater gardens of seaweeds.
“Observation of the hidden rhythms and rhymes of these silent underwater spaces requires patience.
“My intention is to translate personal experiences of this environment into contemplative, abstracted images that shed new light on an under-represented hidden world.
“Here I find metaphorical and uncanny poetics which offer access to these Sunken Gardens.”
Archisle is the Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme.
It aims to tell the story of Jersey’s economic growth and development in the 20th and 21st centuries. Masterplan is a five-year project running until 2020.
The Archisle International Photographers in Residence 2017 Exhibition runs until September 22 at CCA Galleries International.
For more information visit www.archisle.org.je.
Main image: Sunken Garden, 2017, Archival pigment print ©Tanja Deman
Copy editing by Sheena Campbell.