If the absence of people from McConnell's meeting rooms suggests perhaps their users' apotheosis, a different sort of absence is in play in his series Meditations (2004-5). Here, the artist shoots empty beds, their crumpled sheets resembling icebergs, mountains and stormy waters in what might be described as an exercise in the domestic sublime. Looking at these works, we get to thinking about bad dreams and hastily abandoned sex, of ailing bodies being rushed from bed to ambulance. It's possible that such despair-inducing imaginings are the 'Meditations' of which McConnell's title speaks, but there's something about the shots' calm blue light that makes me think that's not so. Rather, the artist asks the viewer to let their thoughts wash over them in the manner of a sea, or a landscape, and accept that however negative they are, they will pass, as all things do. Beds, like bodies, or lives, are constantly made, unmade then made again. They are places of birth and death, passion and rest, sickness and recovery. As an emblem of McConnell's work, the abandoned bed is perfect. His photographs are concerned with life, yes, but also a sort of after-life, the place where unrecoverable moments go once they've been separated from us by a shutter's click, a sound as decisive as the ticking of a clock.
©Tom Morton, To be continued …, British Council 2005
- Accession Number P7961
- Media C-TYPE PHOTOGRAPH
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
An image in which colours and shades of an inage are reversed: the light areas of the object appear dark and the dark areas appear light. Also refers to a film, plate, or other photographic material containing such an image.