Head On at 107: AbstrActual

Francis Minien
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Entry Fee: Free

Francis Minien, with the artwork presented in AbstrActual, attempts to look at his environment in an as straightforward and unprejudiced manner as possible. 

Curious about the nature of photographic representation itself, I employ photography to pose questions about the ways in which my chosen medium works, specifically in its relationship with external reality. By extension, my photography often makes more general inquiries into the nature of that reality, considering whether the actuality of human existence is directly accessible through subjective experience.

But “the real” is where we live. Of course is a given that both camera and photographer conspire to skew this reality. Yet these are known entities, and their effects are largely understood. Consequently, when confronted with a photographic image, many viewers have learned to compensate for the influence of both author and apparatus. Post-production tools, however, are of an entirely different nature; unlike the camera and its operator, Photoshop’s sleight of hand is more easily concealed.

Everyday we see things – a curtain, a wall, a vase – and pay them no mind. This is the actual; unenhanced and of significance to us only in so much as it serves some useful purpose in our daily lives. But by the time such objects make it into photographic form, they have become signposts, symbolically charged morphemes pointing the viewer in the direction of a restricted pool of culturally-determined meanings. With this project I instead attempt to look at my environment in as straightforward and unprejudiced a manner as possible. My hope being that I might wriggle free from the cultural connotations that weigh upon our every interaction with the world and its contents. Photographs not as signposts, but as windows, views to respond to rather than directions to follow.

And yet, while I’ve tried to avoid artifice, the imposition of contrived themes, or the use of stylistic tropes, I would equally reject the suggestion that these are “documentary” photographs. Produced by means of a technological apparatus, photographs are inherently mediated impressions of external reality. But how direct and authentic are our lived experiences of that reality in the first place?

Head On at 107 draws together 8 photographic artists. The series have been selected to sit together yet stand apart, representing different approaches. The curatorial process gives equal weight to each artist’s work and unifies the exhibition space. The artists collaborate on installation, promotion and social media, supporting each other through the process of exhibition.

Artists: Allan Coker, Christine Ansorge, Fiona Ruck, Francis Minien, Kate Ballis, Kelly Slater, Natalia Mroz, Suzan Pektas.
Curator: Sandy Edwards

I am a British artist and photographer based in New York City. An Associate of Britain’s Royal Photographic Society (ARPS), I hold an MA in Photography (2005) and a BA in History and Media Studies (1999), both from De Montfort University in the UK. And it is primarily these disciplines that inform my artistic practice today.

My work is held in numerous private and corporate collections and I have published and exhibited widely, resulting in several prestigious awards.

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Entry Fee: Free
© Rob Johnston

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