As autumn creeps in and the evenings get colder we took refuge in one of London’s most diverse, inspiring (and aptly named) home to art and creativity; the October Gallery.
A non-profit organisation, the October Gallery team, including Royal College of Art MA Photography student Beth Atkinson, work to showcase leading international artists from across the globe to the city of London and a worldwide audience. But for one unique exhibition it is Beth and her RCA cohort that are stepping out from behind the lens to the gallery’s forefront.
In this welcoming space ‘All I want Is Out of Here’ brings together 17 different bodies of work from new, contemporary photographers from across the MA Programme into public view.
Inspired by the subversive and experimental approach of visual and literary artist William S. Burroughs; through photography, film and installation these artists explore the imagery of the uncertainty of our ever changing and fast moving modern world. From its histories, to the newness we try to create within it and the flaws that then appear or the hidden complexities of a casual family portrait; the hopes and fears, desires and distastes blend together to open us up to a new, unseen world and what it means to exist, to find our place, or lack thereof in this modern landscape.
The artists themselves are on a journey and take us along with them. Patrick Hough’s photograph of the world’s flags, slumped together yet side by side explores a world pulled together and borders blurred, questioning what is fact and what is fiction, asking where one starts and the other ends.
For Beth Atkinson it is fiction that inspired her work and her own personal history that comes out the other side, exploring the relationship between folklore, madness, landscape and the narrative of the land. Her work is grounded in the ghoulish imagery of Epping Forest as both threat and refuge to those who passed through, specifically the escape and journey home of poet John Clare from an asylum in high beach and her grandmother’s similar escape 130 years later and how in this way they are tied together.
Further exploring the family unexpected is Joanna Piotrowska in her unfamiliar and exposed series of portraits in which she examines what lies beneath a constructed pose and the tension and sincerity which emanates out from these complex relationships which are experienced by so many.
Taken from larger bodies of work, these pieces may not always sit comfortably alongside each other but rather find themselves breaking down the barriers of the natural and domestic world as these artists look to photographic practices of the future.
*Beth Atkinson is education co-ordinator at the October Gallery where she developed the youth programme and works to get students of all ages and all walks of life interested and involved in art.
WORDS AND IMAGES: Marissa Baxter