Downstairs, Flowers has gathered a curated show, "I know a place", featuring artists exploring landscape as a human need to possess and control the environment. Here my eye found resonances with Teh's work in David Hepher's paintings of Camberwell housing blocks. Incorporating cement in his paints Hepher has matched the gritty dust of the chinese landscapes and the domesticity of the curtains with the blocks of flats being built in Lin Feng for an aspiring middle class. Teh found a new Great Wall of China, in a quiet brick yard a stack of millions of bricks stretching hundreds of metres again echoes with Hepher's arrays of windows in the London block.
Hepher's paintings make much in the surface: a football driven into the wall has left marks in the drying surface; the jokey self-referentiality of a spray paint graffito in the context of the painting itself's surface. Painters necessarily construct a surface to further the conceit of the view beyond, with brush strokes or as here in textural devices. Photographers have the lens-made reality behind the surface and the presentation of a surface is thus optional. There are some who work in silver gelatine and constructed emulsions but I don't think that this is Teh's intention. His sense of colour and lighting have, to my mind been let down in the production values here. It seems that for pictures that set out to depict in great detail these pictures do not survive close inspection. It seems that the scanning, digitisation and rendering (as a lamda print) have resulted in repetitious digital artefacts which would have been easily avoided in a analogue reproduction, a direct enlargement. Clearly as a photographer, Teh has a direction here to render a gritty reality with high film speed and grainy finish but he might better choose to record the final result directly.Ian Teh is showing "Traces" until 2 July 2011
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