Arches Studios – The Last Picture Show

October 27th, 2012

sarah filmer – the blue jumper

September 19th, 2012

Steve White – rapport

August 2nd, 2012

Laura Hennser – Flatlands

July 10th, 2012

Kimvi Nguyen – (INNATE MATTER)

June 14th, 2012

A Right Fine Mess

May 4th, 2012


Opening Friday 4th May 2012 18:00 – 20:00 at The Bargate Monument Gallery, Castle Vault and the Undercroft. Exhibitions continue until 20th May.

You are invited to experience the latest exhibition at the Bargate Monument Gallery: A RIGHT FINE MESS – presenting new works by emerging young artists from Southampton Solent University’s Fine Art course.

A RIGHT FINE MESS is a group exhibition that celebrates ‘new artists’ and their investigations into the creative process, learning about themselves as artists and acknowledging the fact that they are still in a ‘messy’ or experimental stage of their careers.

It is an exciting opportunity to discover this cohort of new artistic talent, explore their thought provoking and challenging world and observe what it is to be a young artist experimenting with visual language in 2012.  The exhibition is a declaration, a statement of where they are at! Their creative collection of video, paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations presented in this exhibition are a snapshot of our collective progression… and are quite rightly fine

A RIGHT FINE MESS is a group exhibition formed by the second year Fine Art students of Southampton Solent University, as the final outcome to their ‘professional development unit’.

This unit enables the undergraduates to actively learn from the process of creating an exhibition, allowing them to exhibit as artists and take a role in organising the exhibition, stepping out of the educational institution and transforming themselves into young emerging artists.”– Daniel Crow (Director of ‘a space’)

We encourage you to visit the Bargate Monument Gallery exhibition and enjoy the eclectic mix of themes and practices before delving into two of Southampton’s medieval Vaults to encounter an atmospheric collection of a more dark and mysterious nature.

Opening hours: 12:00 – 17:00 Monday – Sunday

Bargate Monument Gallery, High Street, Southampton, SO14 1HF

Castle Vault – Eastern Esplanade, Southampton

The Undercroft – Simmnel Street, Southampton

Maps available from the Bargate Monument Gallery of the other locations.

Stephen Brigdale – Landfalls

February 28th, 2012


by Stephen Brigdale

exhibition continues until 29/04/12

This exciting new work links its audiences to the centenary of the Titanic’s sinking, raising awareness of and creating a connection to the cities and places in the maritime story of the Titanic as they exist today.

The exhibition explores the cities, along with key sites and places linked with the Titanic’s construction and fated maiden voyage.  The work is informed by field research and delivered through a visual narrative exploring both their physical and cultural formation and significance to the Titanic story.

Brigdale’s commitment to fieldwork enables him to generate a visual language that explores linkages between place, manmade urban landscapes and our fragile human existence.

A diversity of locations has been visited in the production of ‘landfalls’ from the Harland & Wolfe Shipyards in Belfast, including interiors of the drawing office, through to rooftop footage of the construction of the new Titanic Quarter. From imagery of the telegraph lines, lighthouse and site of the Marconi radio station on the far flung Cape Race on the eastern shores; the closest landfall to the stricken Titanic and setting for an emotive night time sequence, to the Manhattan dock where Titanic would have arrived.

‘The use of long slow pans & fixed camera positions lead the audience to consider different geographic places at the same time.’ – Stephen Brigdale

Behind Brigdale’s beautiful images of lost places and urban landscapes is a powerful reminder of our own human fragility, fragility we share with the natural and manmade worlds around us. –  Daniel Crow

The installation consists of a large-screen video projection and incorporates amplified sound, photographs and textual works.

Mr Stephen Brigdale is a Senior Lecturer in Photography & Visual Arts at Southampton Solent University.  His ongoing visual research and documentation, using both still and moving images continues to progress ideas of narrative and place.  Through his work we are confronted with a sense of displacement and reminded of how the intentions of mans built environment can be transposed, eroded and transformed.


October 18th, 2011

a collaborative installation by sarah filmer, helen marland, and steve white

mestopolojenie has emerged from a collaborative process, locating parallels within three practices. it has, ironically, provided a departure from the familiarity of  individual methodology. the work juxtaposes here and now with there and then, distorting and combining  geographical, structural and sonic elements to keep and examine a fraction of a continuum, exploring perceptions of public and private space.

the same journey, undertaken by different individuals, even under the guise of collaboration or friendship, yields responses as various as the journey takers. the work becomes a close and detailed exploration of our place whilst revealing a relationship to our wider positions – retaining near links physically, sensorily and perceptively, we see alternative perspectives: passing through places with global and suburban concerns which differ so greatly, yet relate so closely – one unsustainable without the other.

a collaborative mix ll: that originates from one beginning one starting point giving many different views through three separate  responses coming together to be interwoven with no fixed start and no fixed end incorporating pinpricks of time in an endless spiral of everyday events positions places held after all in one collaborative situation alluding to elsewhere built through collective imaginations into a collaborative mix :ll

(this to be written on a music staff with ‘repeat from here lines’ and recited to the rhythm of a train)


July 7th, 2011



This group show of work by new graduates highlights the wealth of artistic talent educated at Southampton Solent University; each passing year offering something new and unique.

This selection of talent draws together four artists from two creative courses, photography and fine art; the use of light to display their work providing a common thread.

In their own individual way each of these artists has investigated and questioned ways in which we as humans affect and are effected by the physical world.

Robinson’s work presents ideas that consider a rural landscape, following its natural decay and rebirth over time, the tree seemingly unaffected by man and moving through its natural cycle.  While Snaith’s visions of tomorrow show a world man has tortured, one we can recognise only fragments of and will have to learn how to survive in.

In contradiction Sulca’s examination of today’s urban, modern environment and disposable culture finds a beauty and rhythm in the waste and detritus of man.  This is balanced by the wild landscapes shown in the work of Bullas as they remind us of how it is mother nature who will survive, overcoming the affects of man as felled forests seemingly replenish themselves endless.

Jenny Bullas – Stand and Stare

‘People have become oblivious and desensitized to the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes, this project was an exploration into my personal affection and determination to reawaken the views into the wonders and beauty that surrounds us every day’ |

Keith Robinson – Topophilia

‘The relationship and manipulation of the landscapes by man is as old as civilization itself, shaping the history of the British landscape.  Our control of the natural landscape has made it imaginary; it is worked, formed, melded, exploited and artificially formed.  This obsessive custom in trying to control nature is at times exploitive and brutal; although required for his survival, it is not without consequence’.

Emilie Snaith

‘My practice involves creating futuristic worlds in the form of digital art.  The work is a leap into an apocalyptic vision of the future.  It also urges the viewer to delve into their imagination in order to try and understand the work.  A narrative underlines the fundamental issues – seemingly quite tragic a obscure vision of hope remains to reveal human ability to cope and thrive in worlds that are physically and mentally challenging’

Ieva Sulca

‘I consider myself an opportunistic filmmaker who responds to situations and objects for their rhythmic and aesthetic qualities.  Parallel to this artistic process I am deeply interested in and concerned about people and their relationship with technology.  It is very exciting when people feel that they have something in common with my filmed objects, which I feel directly alludes to my philosophy.


May 6th, 2011



Opens 05/05/11

“In our studios and before artworks we still experience moments of authentic serenity, passion, and meaningfulness–places on the edge of language that the market can’t strip away. In this imperfect realm we can intuit the elemental feeling that sometimes, just by making or looking at art, we might glimpse the full range of human possibilities.”    – Jerry Saltz

“In these conservative times, it’s easy for art to become hollowed out from any progressive or radical energy and exist only as a bourgeois decoration.”    – Jason Fox


The Armory Show is America’s leading fine art fair and claims to show the most important art of the 20th and 21st centuries.  In March this year as a Southampton Solent University staff member , I waited with 30 excited Photography and Fine Art students to see the Armory show for the first time.  Like them, I wore my camera around my neck looking forward to capture the best of the art on show.

Very quickly however I became aware that art as I understood it, an art of ideas, of aesthetic exploration, of political and personal engagement  was nowhere to be seen.  The artist’s voice had been silenced, artworks decontextualised , no information was provided other than price.  The galleries were devoid of conversations discussing the roles and responsibilities of art in the world.   Instead, all I could hear was the tap, tap, tapping of mobile phones, Ipads and calculators in the hands of black-suited art dealers.

So instead of taking photographs of the art, I turned my camera on the dealers.

The Armory show has sales of approximately $30,000,000* a year while the average American Fine Artist with 20+years of experience earns between $20-$55,000.**

You’ll see no prices on these works.  With two fingers firmly thrust in the direction of the corporate art world, all of these images are available for free download together with a scanned signature of my name from  Feel free to use them as you wish.

Alan Schechner – May 2011



Hunting Art World Predators: Kant’s ‘Disinterestedness’ versus Financial Interests at the Armory Show, NY, 2011

Alessandro Imperato, April, 2011, Atlanta, USA.

Alan Schechner’s recent series ‘New York City Art World Scum’ (April, 2011) asks questions concerning the art world, commodity trading and the cynical condition of art as a luxury item to be bought and sold with little regard for the work in-itself.[i] It is well know that art has always been entangled in financial concerns since the Feudal period of aristocratic patronage and the development of the art market in which artists had to sell their work to survive in the capitalist economy. The art market has increasingly dictated the cultural landscape of what is considered art for over two centuries. Although there is no room in this article for a sustained analysis of the art world and it’s economic foibles, it is safe to say that this tendency of art commodity exchange has intensified to a greater degree with sale prices reaching record highs in recent years.[ii] Artists have engaged with this issue since Warhol’s embrace of the market in the sixties, the ‘Post-Modernist’ Jeff Koons’ commodity broker art in the eighties and more leftists critiques in the form of Capitalist Realism in the work of Sigmar Polke during the nineties.  What differentiates the art world today from the last few decades is it’s metamorphosis into a quasi ‘fashion world’ due to the increasing influence of major fashion moguls such as Francois Pinault (Gucci).  Sarah Thornton’s sociological study in Seven Days in the Art World (2008) unwittingly revealed the similarities that contemporary art has to fashion via the dealerships and mainstream art magazines like Artforum and events such as the Armory Show & Art Basel.[iii] Who happens to be the flavor of the month is very short lived and contingent on financial patronage and superficial evaluative and collecting criteria as the street artist/s known as ‘Banksy’ recently exposed in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010).  In the film Thierry Guetta or ‘Mr. Brainwash’ hosted a blockbuster and sell-out show with little talent or aptitude for art.   Indeed, what now constitutes art is down to who or what is promoted in the galleries and institutions of the hip centers of London, New York, LA, Geneva and Miami.

New York City Art World Scum is a digital photographic series consisting of candid shots taken at the New York Armory Show in early March this year.  The audience of art in this sense is a far cry from the shock and awe created by Duchamp in his art world hijack with Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912) at the Armory Show in 1913. In the photographs, art world dealers, agents and gallery staff are captured, either as aware of being photographed and therefore project a constructed self-image or they are unknowingly caught on camera.   Schechner’s approach has traits of the aggressive intrusion of a big game hunter, in which his victims are ensnared and the ‘slice of time’ arrests their complicity in a crime against art.  This has the qualities of an anthropological excursion. The ‘hunted’ are those who are usually the ‘hunters’ of art deals, and are guilty of total disinterestedness in the art they are supposed to be involved with.  Laptops and smart phones abound as the uni-sex uniformed black-clothed custodians of the art market are caught ‘red-handed’ in acts of disregard and obliviousness to the work on show.  Here the issue is not art’s otherness, but its use-value as a commodity.  This spectacle is revealed through new social media and instant communication technologies.  What would once have been private and hidden back-stage is now paraded publicly in the ‘hallowed space’ of the art temple.  The sanctity of art blasphemously abused by crass philistine commercialism. Schechner’s work has always been difficult for the art world to digest due to his focus on political issues regarding the Holocaust and the social injustices that are involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, work that I have also written on.[iv] This series follows in a similar vain to his socially aware artwork.

It can be argued that Immanuel Kant’s theories of art’s separation from the world is an accepted ideological aesthetic principal in the art world, for bourgeois scholars and unreconstructed Modernists.  One of the main discourses within aesthetic theory is that of Kant’s notion of ‘disinterestedness’ or ‘aesthetic attitude’ as argued in Critique of Aesthetic Judgment (1892). Here, the significance of a particular aspect of art appreciation is part of the consciousness of the viewer.  To the aesthetic idealist, aesthetic value is mainly a question involving the primacy of aesthetic responses to a work, and this is via sensation and individual pleasure.  The focus on a direct experience of the work and the sensation received adopts highly entrenched ideals of spiritual experience and subjectivism.  The left cultural theorist Raymond Williams rejected the notion of the aesthetic ‘as a special province of a certain kind of response.’[v] Williams questioned how the purely visual could be pleasing and successful.  Aesthetic gratification is considered a belief that is ideological in practice by theorists like Williams and Terry Eagleton.[vi] This belief in aesthetic value is not a property or quality inherent in things themselves but in human society, it is created by the social existence of humans as creative beings.  To answer what aesthetic value is in these terms is to explain why certain works or groups of artifacts are considered appropriate for aesthetic attention.  Aesthetic judgment then becomes contingent due to the social nature of the experiencing of art objects in contexts of meaning and evaluation.  Is aesthetic experience a historically relative mode of perception because perception is a product of history, which legitimises particular forms of art and not others?  Do ‘aesthetic’ evaluations reside in form or in a discourse and belief in cultic objects where society sets the standards of behaviour and the criteria of judgment?

Kant argued that for art to be called beautiful it had to be: “…the object of an entirely disinterested [ohne alles Interesse] satisfaction or dissatisfaction.”[vii] There are no interests at stake and can only be: “a disinterested and free satisfaction; for no interest, either of sense or reason, here forces our assent.”[viii] Qualitative judgments that are defined in terms of aesthetic valuations such as disinterestedness are rooted in Platonic philosophical discourse.  As Richard Shusterman claims: ‘This tradition of intellectual formalism…can be traced back past Kant to Plato.’[ix] According to Kant, the senses and bodily pleasure was facile and inferior to the taste attained through mental reflection.  Kant derived his binary from Rene Descartes’ body/mind dualism; therefore the cerebral capacities of the rational viewer were accorded a greater value, even ethically, as a superior distinction over the body.

What is revealed to be ironic in Schechner’s photo series is that a ‘double-disinterestedness’ exists, not only is art to be approached as if it is autonomous, de-contextualized and without social origin; it is then treated to a complete lack of interest by the very people who are supposedly it’s custodians.  Thus the interest in art is not for art in-itself but is due to an interest in the financial aspects of a work’s worth. By capturing this state of money interests and disinterestedness in art and by being interested in this state of affairs in the gallery environment, Schechner has produced a photo series that highlights the political and social issues involved in the current take-over of the art world by the fashion industry, the fickle cycles of styles, ‘creative’ recipes and the status of ‘art for money’s sake’.

Alessandro Imperato is an artist and theorist who lives and teaches in Atlanta, USA.

[i] The use of the word ‘scum’ in the title has several connotations, the first is the obvious slang insult use of despicable people, though further definitions of the word also involve the ‘rising to the top of impure residue in liquids’ as well as ‘refuse’ or ‘worthless matter’. I was also reminded of the individualistic Feminist Manifesto of S.C.U.M (Society for Cutting up Men) coined by the insane and eccentric artist Valarie Solanas who shot Andy Warhol in 1968. To see more of Alan Schechner’s work see: The works in this series can be downloaded for free from this website at

[ii] For a good treatment of these issues see: Mattick, Paul, Art in Its Time: Theories and Practices of Modern Aesthetics, Routledge: London, 2003 and Mattick, Paul and Siegel, Katy, Art Works: Money, Thames and Hudson: London, 2004.

[iii] Thornton, Sarah, Seven Days in the Art World, Norton and Co.: New York, 2008.

[iv] ‘Boundaries of Representation: Holocaust Manipulation, Digital Imaging and the Real’,

On-line Journal: Drain Magazine, ‘Lost in Translation’ Edition, Issue 4. 12/04,

[v] Williams, Raymond, Politics and Letters: Interview with New Left Review, London: 1979, p. 325.

[vi] Eagleton, Terry, The Ideology of the Aesthetic, Blackwell Pub: London, 199

[vii] Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Judgment, (trans. Bernard, J. W.) Haffner: New York, 1951, p. 1.

[viii] Ibid., p. 2.

[ix] Shusterman, Richard, ‘Form and Funk: The Aesthetic Challenge of Popular Art’, The British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol.31. No.3. July, 1991, p. 213.