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Thursday 30th September 2010Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize - Short List Announced

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is a major international photography award that is held at London's National Portrait Gallery every year. The prize, which sees the winner walk away with £12,000, is a great mark of the quality of photographers that we have around the globe today. 
The prize starts out as an open competition where anybody from established professionals to students and talented amateurs, can put their photographic achievements forward to be judged. This year the competition received around 6,000 submissions, with a solid mix of approaches to the genre of portraiture. Of those 6,000 submissions, 60 portraits have been chosen, by a panel of judges, which will now appear in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. 
The exhibition begins on the 11th November, and runs right through to 20th February next year.  
As well as the main awards for the Photographic Portrait Prize, which is sponsored by the Taylor Wessing international law firm, there will also be an award made by ELLE magazine. Known as the ELLE Commission, the prize is awarded to one outstanding photographer who will then be commissioned to shoot a feature story for ELLE magazine.
With a lot going on, this exhibition is always definitely worth a visit. For anyone interested in photography it is a great chance to get up close and personal with a range of works from professional and amateur photographers who are devoted to the genre of portraiture.

Posted on September 30th 2010 on 05:44pm

Tuesday 28th September 2010Where is Gallereo this Week? The NewcastleGateshead Art Fair!

It is almost impossible to believe that it has been a year since the last NewcastleGateshead Art Fair. Gallereo attended last year to spectate and take in all of the great galleries and artists that the Fair had attracted.
This years art fair is on from Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd October at the The Sage Gateshead; a landmark building for what has become a landmark art event in the North East of England. The art fair is a great place for collectors and art lovers, whether they are looking to make their very first investment or are well seasoned art connoisseurs. 
Last year the show had around 9,000 visitors, and hopefully they can beat that this year. The art fair now attracts galleries from all across the world, and this year Gallereo are particularly excited about The Emerging Artist Showcase which will be returning with 15 unrepresented artists, offering people a chance to see some brand new talent.
Head honcho at the fair, Andy Balman certainly deservers some recognition for the work that he has put in to get the fair to where it is today. Starting of setting up The Biscuit Factory, Europe's largest commercial gallery, Andy has put a great deal of effort into making the NewcastleGateshead Art Fair a huge success and an internationally recognised event for leading artists and galleries. 
We'er going to be these this weekend to see what pleasant surprises the fair has this year, hope to see you there!

Posted on September 28th 2010 on 10:13pm
Labels: art fairs

Monday 27th September 2010The Turner Prize Heads North

In 2011 the Tuner Prize will be held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, hosted by the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art! This is very exciting news for the North East of England, and particularly the Baltic who will be looking to make a big impression on followers of one of the most talked about prizes in the art world.
The Turner Prize, which is typically held at Tate Britain, has only been hosted outside of London once since it was established in 1984, and that was in 2007 when Tate Liverpool took charge of proceedings. This move to the Baltic however represents a new era for the prize wherein it will be hosted by Tate Britain every other year, with other art establishments filling in the gaps. 
The prize, which is awarded every year to "a British artist under fifty, for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding", is always a big event in the UK arts calendar and receives attention from around the world. The prize was originally founded in order to draw more public attention to contemporary art and there is the hope that it will be very successful in doing that in the North East. 

Posted on September 27th 2010 on 01:28pm
Labels: exhibitions

Sunday 26th September 2010Tate Modern Gets to Grips with its Foundations

The Tate Modern, on the banks of the river Thames in London is already an iconic building. Making use of a decommissioned powerstation, Tate has managed to both embrace contemporary culture and artistic practice in its role as a museum, gallery and events space, as well as holding onto the history and heritage of its home. 
Currently underway is the building of a brand new branch of the Tate Modern. Sitting to the South of the existing building, the new addition to the Tate was designed by Herzog and de Meuron and will stand at 64.5 metres above ground, with 11 levels of space for the Tate's curators to play with.
The most recent post on the Tate Blog gives us a bit of an insight into the building works and what is going on as part of the project. Under the ground where the new building is to be situated are the large oil tanks that used to hold millions of gallons of oil for the power station. These 8 metre high constructions have been at the root of some debate recently in regards to whether the Tate should keep them or flatten the lot to give the new building a fresh start. Thankfully the decision was taken to include them in the architecture and retain them as creative spaces for the new building. After all, the Turbine Hall in the main part of Tate Modern is one if its most recognised features, and remains as a lasting part of the original internal architecture of the building.
At this point in the process, the oil tanks have been unearthed and are undergoing the necessary rennovations to make them fit to be part of the new construction. Around the tanks there is also the delicate task of creating the foundations for the building.
With massive funding cuts upon us, and with the fact that it isn't every day that a country's major museum pulls together an entirely new branch into which is can extend its collection and develop its role in the artistic community, offering spaces for education and areas for socialising, its great to be able to follow the development of the new Tate building. 
Visit the Tate Blog to find out more about the new buliding and get the inside scoop on new exhibitions and events. 

The image of the new Tate building is courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron.

Posted on September 26th 2010 on 11:11pm

Saturday 25th September 2010Lehman Brothers Still Selling Art to Cover Loses

While many of us look to sell art in order to make a living or because we enjoy being creative and being able to share that with others, some are forced to sell art to pay back their creditors.
It was big news when the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed in September 2008. It turned out to be the largest bankruptcy filing in the history of the U.S. and is seen as one of the key moments in the events leading to the world wide financial crisis that we are still struggling with. 
This month millions of pounds worth of items, including paintings and furniture will be sold off at Christie's London in order to help pay off Lehman's debts. 
Amongst the artwork to be sold this coming Wednesday include works by Robert Rauschenberg, Gary Hume and Lucian Freud. Interestingly, there will also be a work by photographer Andreas Gursky sold in a further sale next month. The image of the New York Mercantile Exchange is thought to be valued around £100,000 - 150,000, making it the most expensive artwork to be sold off for the cause.
Further works are to be sold at Sotheby's in New York in a serious effort to pay back the $613 billion that was owed in debt following the collapse. With the sale at Christie's looking to bring in around £2,000,000 ($3.1 million) and the sale at Sotheby's looking at $10,000,000 there's still a long way to go.
Figures courtesy of The Associated Press, 2010

Posted on September 25th 2010 on 02:50pm

Friday 24th September 2010Has Monet Messed with Your Mind?

Earlier this week a much talked about and anticipated retrospective of Claude Monet's work opened at the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition brings together works from every phase of his career as an artist, and has masterpieces-a-plenty, making it an unmissable show, especially if you haven't had the pleasure of allowing Monet to play tricks on your brain and mess with your emotions.
Yes, this week Gallereo has taken to a path of scientific enlightenment by reading New Scientist. Beyond quantum physics and discussions of time and space however, there was an interesting article on the arts and the way that artists have been messing with our brains for centuries. 
Our understanding of the way the brain works is still relatively limited, and it is only recently that we have started to understand they way that the brain deconstructs images. In the scientific field of neuroaesthetics, scientists have been looking at the way certain images and methods of painting or drawing help artists to plug into our subconscious mind, trigger neural conflicts and trick our minds into believing the impossible. 
In light of the blockbuster Monet exhibition, and the flocks of Impressionist fans who will make the trip to pay homage, the branch of the article, by Jessica Griggs, that asked "Why is Impressionist painting so popular?" struck a bit of a chord with us. 
The answer? Firstly, it would seem that we are drawn to Monets rough, and broken painterly style because it forces the brain to conjure up a more personal interpretation the work. If the work had been painted more like a photographic representation of the scene, the brain wouldn't have to fill in the gaps. By causing us to fill in the gaps, our experience becomes more visceral, with our brain applying memories and deep emotions to the work.
It is also thought that this particular style of painting speaks directly to the amygdala; the part of the brain that processes emotions. This part of the brain acts like "an early warning system, on the lookout for unfocused threats lurking in our peripheral vision, and tends to react more strongly to things we haven't yet picked up consciously." Research has shown that the amygdala reacts far more enthusiastically to things that it can't quite make out, giving the Impressionist style of painting a privileged level of access in the brain.
So there you have it, Impressionist works are so popular because our brains are a little bit wary of what they can't quite understand, and therefore we pay a lot more attention them, even if it is on a subconscious level.
You can read the full article by Jessica Griggs, and find out more about the neuroscientist in charge of the findings, Patrick Cavanagh, in the article "Six Ways that Artists Hack Your Brain"

Posted on September 24th 2010 on 09:30am
Labels: painting

Saturday 18th September 2010Save the Arts - Sign the Petition!

No doubt if you are involved in the arts in the UK you have been following the recent discussions and legislative changes relating to the funding that will be available for the arts. If you come from an arts organisation that receives public funding of any kind you are also likely to be greatly concerned about the way things are heading. 
Save the Arts is a campaign headed by the London branch of Turning Point Network, a national consortium of over 2,000 arts organisations and artists dedicated to working together to find new ways to support the arts in the UK. 
The consortium is putting together a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in opposition to the proposed 25% government funding cuts. The opposition is based on the fact that "it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the Government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying the long-term achievements and the social and economic benefits it brings to all."
The petition has already been signed by the likes of David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Richard Hamilton. At the moment, there are around 36,000 signatures on the petition, with the aim being to reach 100,000. (Here is where you can sign the petition.)
The campaign against the cuts, which will severely affect smaller scale arts organisations, as well as national and regional museums and galleries, will also produce a new artwork each week in support of the cause. The first stage of the campaign presented a video animation by David Shrigley (shown below) which highlights the effects that the funding cuts will have, and above you can see a new work by Jeremy Deller with Scott King and William Morris.
For more information on the Save the Arts campaign, and to sign the petition please visit

Posted on September 18th 2010 on 12:59pm

Sunday 12th September 2010What Makes Good Photography Website Design?

Photography has really boomed over the past decade or so. With cameras becoming more affordable and ubiquitous, and technology for printing and editing digital photography becoming more mainstream, there are a greater numbers of people involved in the world of photography. 
It goes without saying that many people take to photography for the enjoyment of capturing a great moment, or the lasting pleasure of making a great picture, but there are also many people who make a living from being a good photographer. The market for photographers is a tough one, with lots of competition, so it's important that you make every effort to stand out and showcase your work in the best way possible. 
As many consumers of photography look online to find existing images that they like, or for photographers that they can commission to document an event or create a family portrait and so on, it's important not only for photographers to have their own photography website, but to be aware of, and make use of good photography website design. 
We thought it would be useful to have a quick run down of what makes or breaks a photography website, and how subtle design points can be the difference between a winning photography website and one that gains little attention.
1) Strong, clean design is key. The website design should be solid and not too fussy. People visiting the website are interested in the merits of the photographs shown, not how fancy the logo on the website is or how many different image transitions there are. Keep it simple and keep people interested in what matters - the photographs themselves.
2) The site should be bold. Don't be afraid to make a statement. Have a bold typeface for your menu so that people can navigate to areas of interest easily and work with strong colours. Depending on your photographs you may be able to identify a strong colour that really works for you. Otherwise, it's well documented that a solid black background works very well for photographs, making bright colours pop and allowing the visitors eye to be drawn directly to the images. 
3) Have a structured layout. There's nothing worse that looking at a seriously disorganised portfolio of images. Aim to keep your images the same size when visitors are looking at them in a catalogue or list view. You can always go all out when the photograph is viewed in more detail, but for the sake of having a polished and professional look - keep your portfolio page design structured and cohesive. 
4) High quality, focused images. Regardless of the overall photography website design, you have to make sure that your images are as clear as they can be, and a good size for anybody viewing the site. Your images are the central focus of the site, and will be integral to your success. People expect high quality, and will move on to other websites if they don't find it on yours.
5) Be organised. It's a well known fact that people can only absorb a certain amount of information in one go and online that amount is very very small. People tend to browse and skim pages, rather than taking a really in-depth look. Only when they come across something that stands out or interests them will they investigate further. Make things easier for site visitors by keeping your photography website well organised. If you specialise in a few different areas - maybe you do portraits and wedding photography  - have these categorised and separated so that anyone browsing the site can quickly filter down to just the things that they are interested in. 
No matter what the subject of the photography, it pays to take notice of photography website design and consider the impact that it has on the viewer. If you want your website to do well and perform the function of helping you to sell your work then it is definitely worth spending that little extra time to get it right. 

Posted on September 12th 2010 on 12:19pm
Labels: photography

Saturday 04th September 2010Waist Deep in Oil....and No Mention of BP

Apart from that one in the title....
What we are in fact referring too is the work of Richard Wilson R.A. Born in the UK, Wilson is a renowned sculptor who has been internationally recognised for his work in intervening in architectural space, drawing heavily on theory and practice in engineering and construction. 
Wilson's work was recently brought up on the It's Nice That blog, giving blogger Alex a bit of a flash back to a childhood visit to the Saatchi gallery when it was in St. John's Wood. A little more research and it was revealed that Richard Wilson's 20:50, the work cited by Alex, has a permenant home wherever the Saatchi gallery goes.
With oil and oil companies being such a hot topic in the news at the moment, it seemed a particularly timely post that brings to light an interesting, creative use of a substance that is so controversial in contemporary society. 
Having been with the Saatchi Gallery, since 1991, 20:50 allows visitors to take a walk out into the oil field via a walkway that brings the viewer into the space with the oil at waist height. Offering a perfect reflection of the upper part of the room on it's surface, the oil acts as a perfect mirror of the surrounding gallery architecture.
Very entertaining to see if you get the chance, although it comes with a strict warning that the oil is indelible so don't wear your Sunday best and as tempting as it is, try not to touch it. You can also see photographs of the work on the artists website and on the Saatchi Gallery website.   
Image courtesy of The Saatchi Gallery, London

Posted on September 04th 2010 on 01:40pm
Labels: exhibitions
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