Event Report: 'Traces' - MA Photography at the University of Sunderland

The Traces exhibition showcases the work of MA Photography students from the University of Sunderland and contains a thematic similarity whilst showing a diverse set of approaches. Held at the Priestman Gallery in Sunderland with the Private Viewing held on Thursday 13th of October, each artist produced work with aspects of loss, memory and relationships, examining the traces we leave. 

Above; Traces installation images

In The Entropy Garden, Mara Acoma examines the idea of a relationship with a place forming the embodiment of memories and future dreams in an external locus for consciousness.  Considering the garden itself as a collaborator from the act of creating the initial images through post-production into objects by the submersion of the prints into the garden pond. The exhibition installation focused on the emotional response aspects of the project and incorporated video featuring birdsong from the garden.

Image from the series The Entropy Garden by Mara Acoma

Image from the series The Entropy Garden by Mara Acoma

Geoffrey Bradford considers the place of work itself along with objects and the traces of human presence. Rather than viewing his work as having a specific end point of resolution he focuses instead on how each piece of work sets up new questions and further opportunities; ‘what if’ or ‘supposing’ and ‘how would that work’? An approach reflected by his project title of ‘building works’, which shares a variety of objects, created from 3 dimensional constructs, to imaginary machines and transparencies for the visitor to create their own images.

Image by Geoffrey Bradford

Image by Geoffrey Bradford

Lauren Sadie Marsden explores the possibility of what might have been in her project Ginny.  After the passing of her father left a partially finished roll of film in his camera, she explores what might have been by stepping into his shoes to complete the 24 exposures.  Exploring the idea of a life journey interrupted through the conventions of the family album and the role of the photograph in the making of memories from the fragments of daily life.

Image from the series Ginny by Lauren Sadie Marsden

Image from the series Ginny by Lauren Sadie Marsden

Maria Ferrie expresses the discomfort and psychological implications involved in experiencing derealisation and depersonalisation in The Island With No Sunshine. Photographs are used as a diaristic tool through which the author investigated her own perception. Alongside therapy, this allowed her to discover repressed emotions to slowly get back in touch with herself and her pain. She explored her Spanish/English hybrid identity and family history while investigating the relationship between loss, memory and identity.

Image from the series The Island With No Sunshine by Maria Ferrie

Image from the series The Island With No Sunshine by Maria Ferrie

In A Day That Transcends Tomorrow, Vikki Scott reflects the fleeting motion of life, and the melancholy of seeing things in their current state for the last time. The Polaroid photograph serves as a fossilisation of a present moment in time, it is the impression of that moment embedded and preserved in petrified form. The fossilised state of the polaroid photograph shares a painful paradox with the evanescence of memory and time, and that one day these photographic objects will represent nothing but a fragment of a moment – achingly familiar, yet deeply alienating. 

Image from the series A Day That Transcends Tomorrow by Vikki Scott 

Image from the series A Day That Transcends Tomorrow by Vikki Scott 

Emma Jane Biggins considers the emotional and psychological aspects of alcoholism in Beneath The Surface.  Examining sufferers’ internal anguish and feelings of low self-worth through the use of familiar domestic iconography to reveal the turmoil and trauma. The work considers the loneliness and isolation pushing towards a numbing of emotions with alcohol rather than simply a lack of self-control. 

Image from the series Beneath The Surface by Emma Jane Biggins 

Image from the series Beneath The Surface by Emma Jane Biggins