Saturday, August 1, 2015

OCA Memory exhibition at the NOC, Headington

It was very odd to find out that some of my fellow OCA students had put together a photography exhibition at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital in Oxford, whilst my husband was still there recuperating from several major surgeries. It was certainly quite comforting during what was a horrible time for us, to see the names of my friends John and Penny, to see all the great images and to have some moments of deep contemplation in art for a while, in such clinical surroundings.

Living in East London and feeling far away from home in Oxford, physically and emotionally, I loved seeing Keith’s work. His lighting was perfect, giving some of the shots a truly filmic quality, particularly the one of the market stalls on Petticoat Lane.  This gives some info about his submission:

Even thought they looked simple and sparse at first glance, I found myself being very deeply moved by John’s photographs. These are intimate moments using soft light and shadows with text, which enhances but does not explain. We feel the sense of loneliness, the disconnects, the tension, the loss but we are left feel contemplative rather than unsettled.

Penny’s Eudosia images are delightful.  Beautiful dreamy captures of children in nature. Looking at these children made me hopeful for the future of the world.

And the original post on the OCA site:

All the work was thoughtfully created and well curated. I was very impressed and slightly jealous that I was not part of this.

Unfortunately there were complaints about some of the work – particularly that of Sue Jones which tackled how she feels having developed ME. Some of the hospital visitors felt it appeared to depict suicide and so the images were removed.

Speaking as someone who regularly visited that hospital in a state of distress, I can see both sides of this argument but I think it is terribly sad that the people who complained felt that was the only solution to their feelings. Did they take the time to read Sue’s notes and really think about what she was saying and what she is going through?  Ironically, there are some large vintage photos along the corridor towards Ward B, which I found to be very disturbing every time I walked past them. 

I gather that there were also concerns about Penny’s images and whether the children were naked which just makes me despair.  The hysteria of tabloid-reading mental sloths! 

More importantly than any of that, I personally found the exhibition to be inspiring and thought-provoking.  It has made me ponder what I would have submitted for a show about ‘memory’…

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