[( 6 )] Oxford Re-union

Posted on August 1, 2016


I made a short visit (2 hours) to Oxford yesterday to visit George Street. My idea was to do a site recce to test out my idea for a project as per my previous post.

I got there at 7.30 am and the streets were already busy! Tourists everywhere in Oxford. The light was also really problematic. Hard low sunlight raking across the street. However, I had a good look around and this has modified my thinking somewhat.

The most feature of the street is the sheer variety of the architecture. There are many striking buildings. I began to feel that my work should be more oriented towards the architecture itself. With this in mind I have come up with a  working artist’s statement for the work, as follows:

George Street is a series of photographs of building facades along this historic thoroughfare in Oxford. The intention is to present the architecture of the street in a way that encourages conscious objective scrutiny and invites consideration of the cultural and social influences on the place.   The photographs are flat, frontal views with limited expressive effects. They have the appearance of elevation plans from sets of architectural drawings. In keeping with this analogy a legend/caption is inscribed on each print. This provides details of the address, the current street level occupants and the nature of the businesses trading there in Victorian times (extracted from the 1896/7 Kelly’s Directory).

I confess that I have been influenced by Ed Ruscha  when coming up with the idea of showing properties along a street. Also I have borrowed a high key form of presentation from the Bechers as a means of offering up the properties for forensic, objective scrutiny.

It’s not clear at the moment how the photographs will be displayed at at what size. It seems most likely that Tanya, Rob and the gallery owner who will be in Canada will take on the role of curation. My working assumption is that photographs from all the photographers will be ‘mixed in’ and so I need to produce my image/texts in a form that will stand alone. I have decided therefore to include text on the prints which will be quite small 10×8 inches or A4. This will give details of location, current property occupants and the nature of trades which occupied the site in Victorian times (ex. 1896 Kelly’s Directory). I hope also to have a hand-out which will contain a brief statement – this will probably be a group catalogue.

Below are two images from my ‘walk’ on Sunday morning and a sample of how the final image/text print will look.

50-64 George Street - book binders, coal merchants, beer retailers and wood turners

#50-64 George Street, Job Centre Plus, formerly book binders, coal merchants, beer retailers and wood turners

9-13 George Street - tailors, saddlers, bootmakers

#9-13 George Street, Wig & Pen restaurant, formerly tailors, saddlers and boot makers

South North cropped images-2

Lots to do but some progress. Am visiting Oxford again early on 14th August and hopefully meeting up with John Umney for a chat and a coffee.