Exhibition Visit 21st July 2017 Cathedral of the Pines by Gregory Crewdson, The Photographers Gallery, London

Cathedral of the Pines by Gregory Crewdson

Cathedral of the Pines by Gregory Crewdson

Today I made another visit to The Photographers Gallery in London, this time to see the Gregory Crewdson exhibition ‘Cathedral of the Pines’. As ever its a long journey/day up to London from where I live, followed by a decent walk when I get there but its good to stretch the legs after the bus journey. Having enjoyed the other work I had seen by Crewdson in the ‘Twilight’ series and others I had viewed on-line I was excited to see more of his work.

By the time I got to the gallery I was knackered. It was good to get off the street and into the quiet of the exhibition space. Far too many people.

The exhibition is spread over 3 floors and the gallery are also doing a special edition of their magazine to accompany the exhibition, so I picked up a copy. I found the work to be of an exceptional standard, stunning, captivating, dramatic and tense.

I found ‘Cathedral of the Pines’ to be fascinating because you are not presented with definitive answers or solutions, just clues and hints at a narrative. I spent a lot of time at the exhibition trying to draw out a story from the images and trying to link them together into a theme. Some of the images feel like they could be grouped into sub stories or narratives with this overarching idea of nature linking them altogether.

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There is a definite stylistic approach to all of the images that links them, the colours, tones and lighting, along with the pairing of inside and outside spaces in a number of the images. I think the work is very subjective to your own interpretation. Having viewed a number of interviews (after my visit) with Crewdson about this particular piece of work I think that was his intention. I went to the exhibition not knowing a lot about it, I was drawn to it because a) I love the outdoors and nature, I feel a deep connection with it and b) I liked Crewdson’s other work.

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Some of the images like the one below (sorry about the bad snapshot) seemed to suggest to me a murder mystery or a thriller, like frames from a movie – I have noticed this in other photography by Crewdson as well which is part of his whole style and the staged photography genre . I think this is all part of the psychological tension and atmosphere that Crewdson creates so well in his imagery. Love it.

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I noticed all of the images have a big depth of field with lots of detail, everything within the frame is considered; lighting, props, location, subject and composition. A story is suggested but not forced.  I like the idea of a suggested, rather than forced narrative.

Although the images suggest another time, like the older cars and props I can’t pinpoint the images in any exact period. They feel like they could be 1980’s or late 1970’s if I had to pin it down. Although it could also suggest a remote community. There is no sense of modern (current) technology within the images i.e. computers, smart-phones, etc.  Having watched interviews with Crewdson this would seem to be intentional to not pin the images down t any particular period, it feels familiar but off. I also noticed in the interview how Crewdson said how this work was more a reflection on painting than film and I can really see that in the final images.

After the exhibition visit I went and sat in a park in London, I had to take the time to process everything I had just viewed, get some head-space, I often find this with work that means something to me. This one was pretty special.

As I sit here a little over a week later typing up this exhibition visit I am still amazed and most importantly I am still thinking about it. I feel a connection (I actually feel something) with Crewdson’s photography and some of the ideas rattling around in my own brain artistically. I sometimes come away from exhibitions feeling disconnected and deflated but for once, its nice to have a connection and feel motivated.

I had noticed during some of my research on-line someone had said if you like Crewdson’s work to check out the photography of Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Phil Fisk. I did have a quick look, I can see the similarities, in particular the way they are lit. So, I am off to find out some more. 

Reference:

Interview with Gregory Crewdson on The Photographers Gallery website

Gregory Crewdson’s “Cathedral of the Pines” New Yorker

GREGORY CREWDSON, Cathedral of the Pines, Galerie Templon

Interview with Gregory Crewdson SCI-Arc Channel

The Gregory Crewdson Effect: #1 BBC Creative

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One thought on “Exhibition Visit 21st July 2017 Cathedral of the Pines by Gregory Crewdson, The Photographers Gallery, London

  1. Pingback: Research point – Gregory Crewdson | CRAIG SINCLAIR

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