No Matter of Indifference
Open View: Wednesday 27th September at 7:00pm
The title of the exhibition is taken from a quotation by Charles Baudelaire: “Nothing in a portrait is a matter of indifference”. The exhibition aims to explore the surface of the print, to make the physicality of older people more accessible and their experience more evident – an enquiry of skin, body and personna.
Early photographic contact-printing processes can exhibit an aesthetic and stylistic ‘richness’ of presence that is missing from some modern prints. Their characteristics, qualities and cultural connotations are distinctive. Platinum and photogravure prints, for example, exhibit and individual, each showing a quite particular ‘look’ and ‘feel’ in presentation. They offer markedly different opportunities for interpretative reading. Each process characteristically facilitates or inhibits possibilities for surface texture and relief, image density, tonal range, colour and brightness; they have, in short, their own specific presence when performed as works on paper. The cultural potentialities of the print rest on the twin significations of process and material: how the technologies are read for production and cultural values, and how the materialities of the print modulate, perhaps extend, meaning. In both regards, early processes contact-prints privilege the discursive over the evidential, eliding the particular into the general, loosening the ties of indexicality.
In Peter Moseley’s professional practice, he aims to articulate the resonant skin of older age. He makes the physicality of people more accessible, their variety more curious, their experience more evident, their skin and bodies sources of enquiry and sensuous interest. His aim, through the imprinted imago of presence, is to provide the opportunity to gaze – objectively, voyeuristically, elegiacally, scopophiliacally, wonderingly or pityingly – and to engage, albeit briefly, with another’s and hence one’s own condition. The works are both disclosive and evidential, testament as well as testimony.
Peter’s prints depict the humanity and scale of presence of his subjects who, with dignity, offer intimate and voyeuristic access to their embodied selves. He incorporates and foregrounds the agency and self-awareness of his sitters, acknowledging their participation in the construction of the images. At the same time, by denial of social placement and identity, he offers enhanced space for the emergence of the viewers’ engagement, unconstrained by ascriptions of identity, class, status or authority.
Dr Peter Moseley is a photographer/printmaker working in Chichester. In 2016, one of his gravure portraits was selected for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Taylor Wessing’ Prize and his prints have been shown at the Royal Academy in Bristol and the Royal Society of Printmakers Painters. He runs workshops in London at Lux Darkroom, Islington, and has taught at universities in the UK and in China and Moscow.