Private viewing – Althea Wilson exhibition – Ransom Art Gallery, Sloane Square
Althea Wilson is an experienced photographic-artist who trained and worked in various disciplines most notably painting and design. Her recent photographic work has concentrated on still lifes which feature antique props, flowers, fruit, vegetables and even an octopus. Her approach is unique for one quite obvious reason, most of the things she photographs are in a state of partial decay. This gives her work a reflective and mournful feeling. The images themselves are quite beautiful, combining natural light and the subtle colours of the objects in a carefully composed and perfectly balanced frame. The photographs have a painterly feel about them due to way Althea photographers her still lifes. She photographs the objects in front of her through sheets of perspex and glass that is scratched and stained. The result is quite stunning. Her images have little post production or special effects added to them. This approach reminds of when I used to use different types of filters on my medium format film camera many years ago before Photoshop existed. This gives her images a very natural look that would be hard to duplicate in digital post production.
As I arrived at the gallery I was greeted by a stunning floral installation, this made for an enticing entrance to the exhibition. The fresh flowers outside also served as a stark juxtaposition to the pictures of partially decayed flowers. The exhibition itself featured a number of Althea’s large scale prints, mounted on aluminium. Her work filled the whole floor of the gallery. The matt prints contained huge amounts of detail and subtle colour transitions. It was obvious to see Althea’s arts backround and influences. Next to the prints were the expressive sculptors of Anna LeaClelia Tunesi, this gave the exhibtion a multidimensional and layered feeling. The images themselves were pensive and thought provoking, why photograph things in a state of decay? Althea had mentioned using poetry in conjunction with the prints for her forthcoming book and I was a little disappointed that the poems were not included in the exhibtion. I managed to get hold a printed press release for the show which was perfectly designed and presented. Visiting the exhibition has given me lots of ideas for my own exhibtion in the future. It was professionally presented and the content was exceptional and presented perfectly.