Currently showing at Eleven are recent works by Harry Cory Wright and Natasha Law.
Harry Cory Wright explores our fundamental attraction to place, and the very physical process of being in landscape. The vivid and immaculate nature of these large format photographs convey a real sense of 'being there'. He often spends several days in each location, becoming engrossed in the natural world around him, familiarising himself with the light, atmosphere, and selecting the perfect vantage point. He draws on Eugène Atget’s matter of fact approach with keen attention to the ambiance of a place and the unique spirit of the location. In a digital age where photographic imagery is widely disseminated and easily captured, he applies a methodical approach using his large and cumbersome view camera. The slow process, restriction of one exposure per scene and meticulous hand printing charge the final work with a sense of hard fought serenity and calm.
Natasha Law’s vibrant blocks of gloss paint and descriptive lines characterise her svelte female figures. Often in an act of discarding clothing, her works beguilingly capture ephemeral moments of both vulnerability and intimacy. Though partially exposed, something of these women’s essence remains a mystery – tantalisingly so. Partly that’s because they are half-dressed (artists discovered long ago that a partly clothed body – en déshabillé – is much more alluring than one with no clothing at all). In this sense, Law’s images connect with, without looking directly at, paintings made at the turn of the 19th century by artists such as Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and Pierre Bonnard, who, like Law, often painted their subjects looking away from the viewer, suppressing background detail so as to focus the viewer's gaze. In look, though, her paintings have much more of Pop art about them than the Belle Epoque, possessing the linear vigour of Roy Lichtenstein or Patrick Caulfield, for instance, and the vibrancy of Tom Wesselmann's epically-scaled cut-outs. Gloss paint, pencil and aluminium metal sheets or paper – her ingredients are simple and constant, though somehow Law never repeats herself. The compositions have a beautifully liquid quality, and feel as effortless and spontaneous as music. If each body is delicately captured (faint pencil marks are discernible among the minuscule gradations of white), the squeakily smooth, boiled sweet-coloured background against which each is outlined is shiny as a car bonnet. Stand up close and you'll see your own reflection included in the frame, prompting interesting questions concerning complicity.