Barry Cawston: Dreamstates
06.12.19 – 30.06.20
Dreamstates brings together a unique selection of Barry Cawston’s extraordinary photographs. Cawston takes us on a surreal trip across countries and continents; drawing us in with his mysterious storytelling until it becomes almost impossible to remember that the imagery is found by him and not somehow imagined by us.
We are led, primarily, into this eerie state by Cawston’s deft composition. Whether we find ourselves drifting aimlessly through North American States or looking through the menu of a Russian Diner we do so in the alone of dreams that is never quite fully alone. We are following someone. Or perhaps we are waiting for them. It is difficult to be sure. But their absence is always felt as a heavy presence in Cawston’s uncanny world.
And Cawston’s eye for intense colours and cinematic lighting leads us yet deeper into our dreamsate. He is meticulous with this rich detailing; no chink in the curtains allows reality to creep back in. Though we are hesitant we are compelled to walk down unsettling corridors and climb moonlit stairs – until we reach the Tibetan Cowboy who is no more plausible than the landscape he has grown out of but may at least know what we are to imagine next.
Cawston is an internationally renowned artist, who has won several prestigious awards including the Chairman’s Choice Award at the RWA Photographic Open in 2008, and British Open Art awards in 2012 and 2013. He has exhibited all over the world including solo shows in France, Russia, Sweden and Belgium, Toronto and New York.
Steve Best: Comedians Back To Front
01.11.19 – 30.04.20
Comedians: Back to Front gives us an exclusive and revealing peek behind the curtain of the British Comedy scene.
Steve Best’s own years on the comedy circuit have not only taken him to the four corners of the planet but helped him to gain the trust of some of the funniest people on it – and with it an open door to the four corners of their dressing rooms.
Being in the exact right place is only one thing, however. Being there at the right time is another matter entirely; and none more so than when it can be measured by the split-seconds of the camera’s shutter. We are very fortunate, therefore, that Best’s mastery of photographic timing is faultless because with it we get such a complete picture.
The look exchanged between Julian Clary and the compere Paul Thorne, at the Ealing Comedy Festival, was as fleeting as can be, but its depth does not escape Best’s eye. There is such camaraderie and affection between the two comedians. There is admiration. Well-wishing and gratefulness. And we sense the shared adrenalin rush.
We know that it is Joe Rowntree who must be about to go on because we can hardly breathe for him whilst Michael Fabbri must just have triumphed because Best captures his immortal smile for all eternity. In Best’s image of Barry Cryer we have a whole career in the mirror, and we can’t tell whether the name-call is about to happen or is as long gone as any of the nerves that used to go with it.
And who knew that Jack Whitehall might ever take anything seriously enough to show any nerves, or to feel the need to actually plan any of his material for that matter? But of course he does, and of course he has to – as Best reveals so perfectly to us. And so it is with Harry Hill. Everything is there in the moments of stillness that Best portrays – the meticulous and hard-working people behind the comic personas we know and love. Everything that goes from back to front.