Pin-hole photographer Mary Foulkes presents a series of work which highlights Oxford Castle’s most secret and unexplored corners.
Mary Foulkes studied art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, from 1998 to 2001. Foulkes uses experimental photography to explore the distinctive atmospheres of deserted places during the transition from day to night.
“I am interested in places that seem unremarkable by day but take on a different character as the sun fades, slowly being transformed by a combination of obscure darkness and the distorting effects of artiﬁcial light.
My long exposure photographs, mostly taken with homemade pinhole cameras, capture a wide spectrum of light that the naked eye can’t detect. The result is not a representation of what was seen but an experiment in exploring the possibility of recording the essence of a place.
I either make my own cameras or adapt basic cameras to simplify the process of capturing on ﬁlm the shifting spectrum of light over time. Even though I use long exposures I avoid using a tripod, so the view of the place is dictated by the existing surfaces that are suitable for resting my camera on. This often leads to images that show the place from an unusual angle, confusing the scale of and relationships between objects.
The crudeness of the cameras and the lack of technical wizardry in my approach to photography (I am not a trained photographer and rely heavily on trial and error) result in images that seem quite random - almost accidental. It is this element of chance that excites me and drives me to continue creeping around at twilight, putting out perforated biscuit tins and gathering them up after dark to see what they’ve caught.”
Working in collaboration with the Turrill Sculpture Garden at Summertown Library, the O3 Gallery presents a series of large scale metal sculptures by Christopher Townsend and Andrew Thompson. Townsend’s ten foot flowers stand magnificently above the foliage just outside the gallery’s lower entrance, while Thompson’s striking metal figures stride boldly towards the O3 Gallery’s upper entrance.
As part of her project Parallel Worlds, supported by an Art Plus Award from Arts Council England and SEEDA, Oxford-based artist Katy Beinart created artwork ‘View Finder’.
While appearing to be part of the familiar tourist vernacular, this artwork gives the viewer unexpected views on the City of Oxford and the different ‘worlds’ within it. Katy has also created a unique map which explores some of the untold history of how Oxfords’ built environment has changed, as well as charting hidden places, making “non-places” into sites of importance.
‘View Finder’ can be found just outside the O3 Gallery’s upper entrance.
Neil Butterfield is showing a selection of artwork in La Tasca, in association with the O3 Gallery.
Neil Butterfield has done various things, mainly in education and publishing, but has always painted. However, it is only during the last five years that he has been able to give it a significant amount of time and study for a fine art degree. “This “, he says, “has given me the opportunity to think about what I am doing and why I am doing it. This internal debate means that my work often changes direction. If there is any consistency, it may be in two things: the frequent use of literature as a starting point (which goes back to my roots as a literature student and later a teacher) and, more obviously, ‘a thing’ about colour.”
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