Another spam blast from the pay-to-play vanity gallery hire art pimps at Brick Lane Gallery in London’s filthy, run down and therefore arty East End (I have redacted several exhibition e-fliers that were primitive, aesthetically offensive and apparently designed using an MS Word 97 brochure wizard– The talking paperclip popped up and said IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO DESIGN A FLIER FOR AN ART EXHIBITION BUT YOU HAVE NO DESIGN SKILLS OR VISUAL SENSE. DO YOU NEED HELP? but they ignored it):
“FEATURED ARTIST Jennie Nannette. Nannette’s photography captures moments perceivable only through a camera’s distortion. Inspired by ephemeral light, blazing colours and its effect on nature, the artist sought to portray a semi whimsical world partly reliant on the viewers’ imagination. Nannette’s non-digitally retouched works display contrasting elements of eeriness, serenity and make-belief through use of an intense and fluctuating palette of colours and effects connected by scenery as seen through the woods.”
… or she was slightly drunk, she got lost at the picnic site and the lens on her iPhone is really greasy because she can’t help putting her thumb on it whenever she takes a picture. And, ooh, the photos are non-digitally retouched! Take that you cheating bloody plebs who use 21st century technology. This lens blur is done with Jennie’s own shaky hand and poor photography skills and IT’S FO REAL, BEEATCH. Anything that’s unmediated is automatically better than anything that involves learning a craft, because it’s RAW and anyway stop judging Jennie’s feelings and abilities and whatnot because everyone’s an artist, don’t you understand that? Jennie grinds her camera lenses in the woods using faerie crystals and sand from a magic grotto. Her papers and emulsions are rendered in a copper cauldron from hedgehogs and other passing mammals she strangles with the treacherous orchard of wire snares that hang in the vicinity of her sylvan bivouac. She’s like the Unabomber, she sends emails by typing them out in triplicate on carbon paper and posting them secretly at dawn. Jennie boils twigs for breakfast.
How the hell can something be “semi whimsical”, anyway? Whimsy is like being pregnant, there are degrees and stages of it but ultimately you either are or you aren’t pregnant or whimsical. Or, worst of all, pregnant and whimsical. Also, the idiom is “make believe”, not “make-belief.”
They have this brilliantly Pollyanna-ish usage of a press clipping from Time Out on their site. They seem to think a bald statement that they show “a mixed bag of new and established international and UK artists” is a compliment. I don’t think it’s even potentially a compliment; it’s just a 75% convincing attempt at editorial neutrality. Compare the description of Black Rat’s programme as “eclectic and engaging”; these are active, positive words. If I was feeling really optimistic I’d say “mixed bag” was very faint praise… at best. The mixed bag is a way of passing off broken biscuits, factory misshapes and old or otherwise unsaleable stock as suitable merchandise. “Yeah, it was so great, I loved it, it was a real mixed bag!” NOBODY ACTUALLY EVER SAYS SOMETHING WAS A MIXED BAG AS A COMPLIMENT. It means the experience was random. Anything of any quality that slipped in seemed accidental, and even that was possibly slightly diminished by being in such bad company.
And this, of course, is bound to be the case when your main artistic criterion for exhibiting an artist’s work is how much money they can spend.