The pick of the festival part 2 Mark Laita
This week I decided to take my time looking around the exhibitions in the centre of Oxford. The venues were not as varied as the first week as they didn’t include any of the colleges and so the work was displayed as you might expect exhibitions to be and this definitely changes the response to images. We started off at The Jam Factory. The Selektif Competition based on entries on the subject of Glass were displayed in the cafe there. This meant that it was necessary to lean over people eating their lunches, talking intently, having meetings and so was not ideal. I understand why cafes offer their walls as exhibition spaces, it gets punters in, it decorates the space but I am not sure why artists chose them as venues. Anyway I was suitably surprised at the quality of some of the images, truly there were some interesting and worthwhile photographs. There were also some dreary, obvious and uninspiring images too but that is to be expected. I liked Martin Lau’s second placed image, it’s simplicity and obscurity worked together
I also liked this by James Sutton
and this by Fred Corcoran
On another note I had been recommended the Mimi Mollica, to be found in the Boiler Room at the Jam Factory. What a disappointment, grabbed pictures, looking like from cctv of people on buses, really, seen it before, adds nothing and in my view don’t waste your eyes. It goes to show that awards, grants, exhibitions means little.
The Maths Institute has a selection of very ordinary portraits of mathematicians and lawyers, it is worth a visit however because the image quality is exceptional and there are one or two surprising and enlightening images, I particularly liked the picture of Kwame Anthony Appiah, the best in the show and the one used to promote this exhibition by the festival, here it is
Ovada has images that I suppose we would call out-takes from a cruise ship photographer. I quite enjoyed these simply because what would normally be discarded have been given exhibition status by being printed large and presented as in a gallery and so forces the viewer to look again and reconsider what makes a picture worth keeping. Frippery but fun. There is also a slightly bizarre opportunity to be photographed standing by a poster of a famous landmark with a description of what to do, here is a friend doing the Pisa
The O3 Gallery has work by two German photographers, Matthias Heiderich & Dietmar Eckell. One has buildings in bright colours and intense composition and the other crashed aeroplanes. I know it doesn’t sound inviting and there are not many pictures to look at but both are worth the effort, what effort? it is a short hop from the Ovada exhibition, if you are doing the rounds make a brief stop here
The snakes, beautiful, colourful, surprising, The Old Fire Station has far too few pictures by Mark Laita, in fact why did they bother with the colourful but by comparison, (it was cruel), butterfly wings, they could have doubled the numbers of snakes.
all by Mark Laita
Final stop was the Story Museum on Pembroke Street, here in a small room were about 5 or maybe 6 large prints by SUSANNA MAJURI I am not sure what to make of these, these are in part intriguing and visually confusing but at the same time beautiful and with enough going on to keep you looking. As a last stop before ice creams at G & D’s this is definitely worth the little time it takes to look at them all, unless like me you become more absorbed and stay a little longer