Ambit: Photographies from Scotland

Ambit is a new partnership between Street Level Photoworks and Stills, Scotland’s public venues dedicated to photography. The exhibition will be presented across both venues as a joint venture embracing some of the current tendencies and innovative talent from the photography sector in Scotland. Each gallery will include the work of five artists representing diverse approaches to photographic image making.

The exhibition at Stills will include work by artists at different stages of their careers, working with varied content, materials and styles: Eden HawkinsLorna MacintyreNorman McBeathKristian Smith and Karen L Vaughan. Exhibitors included in the exhibition at Street Level Photoworks will be: Margaret MitchellDonnie MacLeanSylwia KowalczykTine Bek and Blazej Marczak.

Kristian Smith is exhibiting work that takes as a starting point the brutal analysis of capitalism contained within the film L’Argent (1983) (dir. Robert Bresson). Works and subjects here include re-photographed found photographs sourced from the internet, flowers at the grave of film director Michelangelo Antonioni, collages of original magazine page advertisements and a portrait of a sink in the former office of Erich Mielke, the head of the East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi).

Smith’s work is produced through a process of assemblage – of form, medium and multiplicity of meaning. Visual distancing of language and time are combined with metaphors of violence, the gaze and existentialism to reflect our user driven digital landscape, whilst the re-photographing of found photographs is both a form of slow photography and a statement on contemporary reverence for the image itself.

Lorna Macintyre Solid Objects (Roma) is the result of an experiment with photography and materiality that plays with the hierarchical relationship of different materials and subverts the archival nature of darkroom photography toning. Macintyre has used soft drinks to tone darkroom prints that depict stone objects from the Capitoline Museum in Rome, letting the liquid absorb into the paper to become part of the material of the photographs. She is interested in the photograph as a physical object and the literal porosity of the image; the relationship between what is depicted and the surrounding material – the stone represented and the actual physical stone of the support.

Norman McBeath Light in its many aspects – solar, sacred, reflected, man-made – shines through this series of photographs. They are portraits of light, playing off intricacies of light and shadow. The focus is not on identification but on imagination, providing the viewer with a starting point for their own narratives. A creative response to the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015, these photographs were developed as part of a wider collaboration with the poet Robert Crawford. The series seeks to open possibilities, alternative ways of seeing the familiar, through the lens of the camera – the original ‘light box’. 

Karen L Vaughan has been using plastic film cameras to investigate geographical and socioeconomic landscapes, capturing the effects of declining industries and associated historical and political environments. Deliberately double exposing the film in the camera, manipulating it so that images run into and over each other, the outcomes often produce accidental meetings and chance poetic relationships. 

Film Stopped brings together a number of works that explore coastal legacies where familiar elements are marvelled in and captured as overlapping, merging and often fragmented panoramas. She has documented stilted journeys through ambiguous as well as familiar landscapes. Images are sourced from the east coast of Scotland and the coves and inlets of the Bonavista Peninsula in Newfoundland.

Eden Hawkins is exhibiting Folding Screens, a series that she describes as: “existing within the nexus of physical and digital representations and resulting from working physically within a 5m² space paired with the vaster scape of digital possibility.” In this work, the domestic scene is expanded between the digital/physical divide, into a near palpable set that is nonsensical and playful. The push and pull between what is fiction and what is real is reflected in the process. Each piece begins as physical form that is staged and lit. Its representation is then digitally altered and then printed, thus made physical once more. This new physicality offers a visually ambivalent field of concrete and abstract forms. 

In partnership with: 

Street Level Photoworks