Black Box Festival


Surface Gallery will soon showcase the final-year work of photography students Alexandra Dowlen, Samantha Lomas, Jonathan Stallard, and Nicholas Willis. The BlackBox Festival, the 18th NTU photography festival, will see work that explores the ways artists react to their environment.


Themes such as ‘notions of home’, ‘isolation, liminality and the non-place’, of ‘the poetic and visual engagement with the world’, and how one views ‘the world in a state of heightened awareness where each image has its own individual importance’ are foregrounded.


Alexandra Dowlen will be exhibiting images that portray ‘unintentional archives.’ Dowlen also considers vacant buildings around the country, the remnants, and whether the ‘property becomes nothing more than an empty shell.’ This will enable us to ‘consider a sense of our own mortality in terms of what will be left behind when we leave our homes.’
Samantha Lomas’ work, ‘Out of the Forest,’ focuses on nature, but also uses her work as ‘a method of self-revitalisation and understanding.’ She aims to bring her art to life, by creating a ‘living quality of light.’ Her work encourages the viewer to ‘slow down and look into the photograph, not just at it; this allows them to get lost within the forests just as I had done.’
Jonathan Stallard uses techniques such as an ‘unwavering frame’ in order to ‘dictate what is to be included and excluded, and compress the three-dimensionality of the subject matter.’ He realises that his subjects are everyday, however he creates ‘a precise study of form and colour that just so happens to reside in the most unassuming of places.’


Nicholas Willis captures the ‘poetic nature of the everyday and encountered moments.’ He is a prolific photographer, and captures the ‘the serene moments interacted with and passed by.’ He re-contextualises these events by ‘stopping and confining their essence to the camera.’ Willis’ work aims to ‘adapt to the eyes of those viewing, and they ‘can be witnessed to have a sense of rhythm and varying levels of subjective intensity.’


The artists are not just concerned with the image itself. For them, the production and creation of the photograph is just as important as the finished product. As a group, they also make an effort to hand-print their work in traditional darkrooms, as well as using ‘the layout of our images on the gallery wall to guide the viewer to interpret our work.’

The exhibition encompasses notions of the everyday that most of us fail to acknowledge. It is a culmination of the students’ photographic work from the year, creating images that challenge the viewer, as well as demonstrate their visually stimulating and complex ideas.
The opening of the BlackBox Festival will be at 5pm to 7pm on Monday 26th May, and the exhibition will run from then until 6th June. As always, there will be a donations bar tended by Ellie and Kieran from our local brewery sponsor, Springhead.

May 26
Occupied