Invitational Photo Show

Free for All

  • 11 May - 8 Jun, 2010

We live in a media saturated world. We constantly breathe in and filter images from the Internet, T.V.  news, and advertising.
Ramp is offering students and others, the chance to exhale…to generate and reflect their own viewpoint, free from assessment.
*There is no theme to this exhibition
*No images will be rejected,
*There is no jury.

By offering the gallery as an open venue without imposing the usual exhibition selection criteria and standards, Ramp hopes to empower its audience, to challenge some gallery conventions and some of the implied roles of a gallery. Among these;

The censoring function of the institutional art gallery
The boundaries between art audience and art practitioner,
The assessment of quality (becomes personal not institutionalised)
The role of curator becomes facilitator and organizer, not an editor.
The status of the gallery as a pedestal for high art, (the rare, the formal, the international), is co-opted by popular impulses and casual and local image-making.

Exhibition Essay:

An Inclusive Mode of Looking

By: Edward Hanfling

 Like any other medium, photography has its amateur and its professional practitioners, its occasional ‘snap-shotters’ and its artists, its crack-handed subject-slicing button-pushers and its obsessive darkroom-lurking perfectionists. Normally, in art galleries, we see the work of ‘artists’. Normally that is because what we see in art galleries is determined by curators, who make their selections by deciding how good something is as art, and how well it fits a particular theme they happen to fancy. This exhibition is different because the works have not been selected or arranged into ‘thematic clusters’ by a curator. The curator’s role has been reduced to a fundamental activity – sticking pictures up on walls – and we can think again about the activity of making art.

An artwork, such as a photograph, is not exclusively artistic. There are simple things – the pressing of a button, for instance – that we might describe as primarily physical actions, however much the moment is which button is pressed is determined by judgements about ‘artistic’ things (composition and so forth). But the looking and the thinking behind a photograph must incorporate all manner of impulses and decisions that are not confined to the photographer’s knowledge of art (previous art photography, art history, aesthetics). There is the possibility, then, that works we consider to be art may have a good deal in common with works we might not normally recognise as artworks. (There is even the possibility that a compelling image can be made by chance as much as by design, because ‘design’ can become stale, the product of entrenched conversations of ‘good design’; the same kinds of images are made over and over again, by design.

It might also be the case that artworks should be looked art, interpreted, in ways that take account of experiences from everyday life as well as from that cultivated realm we section off as ‘art’. An exhibition open to entries from photographers who are not established or recognised artists, may therefore be instructive, insofar as it draws attention to wide-ranging rather than narrow modes of looking, incorporate levels of thought and feeling beyond those conventionally associated with looking at art (or beyond the experience we have when we are overtly conscious of looking at art).

It is not a question of whether or not art galleries are customarily elitist. The more interesting question is whether audiences for art are self-contained, easily defined – or whether art/photography is something that is confined to the artistic ‘taste’ of a specific interpretive community. As with the making of art, the ‘members’ of that interpretive community inevitably allow other non-art-related aspects of their lives to affect their appreciation and judgement of artworks.

We assume some sort of ‘art-world’, within which certain sorts of images – good photographs – are accepted and acceptable, and others not. Perhaps we assume there is some sort of continuum, from non-art photographs to art photographs, and that the art does not overlap with non-art. But it must.