Andrew Bruce has reprised his long-running study of road-kill, very literally nature morte photography with a stunning large c-print of a vixen lying dead at the side of a Surrey road. The picture is showing at the Copenhagen Place Gallery together with other work by Alexander Page and Jazmine Miles-Long.
Bruce records his essential social function in the role of an undertaker to the casualties of our highways. As a cyclist he gathers road-kill – as a cyclist he faces the same careless motorists – and notes their passing in these expressions of tenderness and equality. A dead rabbit, a robin, a badger are embraced or held in cupped hands and the moment recorded before burial. Bruce directs a performance here for the funeral, Bruce is naked but the image is cropped navel to adam’s apple and the animal is given the central part in the event – fur or feathers contrasting with blood on skin, the scarlet feathers of the robin affording a little colour to the scene. Bruce eschews the use of movements in his large-format photography and pulls the viewer’s gaze down to essentials: here the direct record of whisker, fur and feather, the dripping of blood staining his skin.
The full-size image of the vixen is found in the roadside fallen leaves, the tyre marks of traffic pass directly through the frame. The weather is dry, bright, crisp; the tread marks seem frozen perhaps, there is no breeze in the wintry air to stir her whiskers. The clarity of focus helps the development of the sense that these animals have died only very recently and that Bruce’s intervention delivers a moment of release.
Alexnader Page is showing large urban images shot from high vantage points. The images are fractured or scored disruptively; this violence apart, it seems difficult to join with Bruce in the title for the exhibition. Jazmine Miles-Long has built an installation with a very dead badger, trussed in purple ribbons lying in a green field with an ingenious take on meadow flowers built with minute lovehearts on nylon mono-filament stems to move easily with any disturbance. Here there is more convergence in an overall theme and title.
“Blood and Time, part 2” by Andrew Bruce, Jazmine Miles-Long & Alexander Page is at Copenhagen Place Gallery from 25th February until 5th March.
Copenhagen Place, 86 Copenhagen Place, Poplar, London E14 7DE +447977478982
I was unable to locate a href for Alexander Page.