I joined the other OCA students at the Photographers gallery for this visit to see the works of the 4 shortlisted artists for the 2017 Prize. What was particularly interesting about this study visit was the opportunity for each student to put forward their work for the views of others. I learned a lot from seeing the work brought along and then giving my views on it and hearing what other students had to say. As I had only started the landscape course 5 days earlier, I didn’t have any images to take with me to submit for comment, but I did outline my thoughts for the ‘Transitions’ project and received encouraging feedback for it.
The four artists shortlisted for the 2017 Prize were Sophie Calle, Dana Lixenberg, Awoiska van der Molen, and Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.
For this post I will concentrate on the work of Awoiska van der Molen as her work was concerned with landscape. According to the gallery leaflet van der Molen “explores ideas of place allowing them to impress upon her specific emotional and physical qualities”. She spends extended periods in isolation in remote locations, allowing the landscape to impress upon her rather than imposing any pre-determined views on the landscape.
The results were some stunning black and white, silver gelatin prints. The images seem to draw you in, embrace you with the landscape as you view them, you could almost be on a ‘viewing platform’ as you look at them. Except that you aren’t, you can’t be as they are images of solitude mainly with (apart from one exception) no signs of human presence or intervention.
Displayed as large scale prints in the gallery, they are very powerful representations of the surrounding environment whether of forest or rock faces, allowing the force of the environment to impose itself on the viewer.