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After Hours on Thursday 16 May – Stockport College

May 11, 2013

Over the past three years, the Arts, Design and Media department at Stockport College has forged a reciprocal relationship with Manchester Museum, taking creative inspiration from its rich resources and producing visual material for display in the museum and beyond. The work included in After Hours: Nature’s Library (part of Museums at Night: Lost & Found)on Thursday 16 May 5-9pm by students, an alumnus and a member of staff from the BA Honours Contemporary Photography course – was originally a response to the theme of biodiversity, but has since evolved along a variety of related themes.

Below is a brief account of each artist’s project.

Alex Keep
The mechanics of nature so often goes unnoticed. Photo Synthesis explores the secret life of a plant, its cyclical forms evoking the proliferation of life on many levels, as well as its inevitable decay. The work acts as a living image, a visual metaphor for the continual redistribution and degradation of bio-matter.
Breed is a different kind of living image, based on bacteria. Bacteria are truly omnipresent organisms, inhabiting every corner of human existence, thriving under all kinds of conditions. This piece is an active sampling exercise, exploring growth, change and metamorphosis.

Alex Lawler
In a city, nature is often forgotten and neglected, pushed into sanctioned spaces such as parks and gardens. We forget about the persistence of nature, overlooking or destroying the plants that encroach upon our urban environment. This project celebrates these plants, recording them temporarily using the pre-photographic process of anthotypes and using the conventions of the museum to catalogue and display them.

Eleanor Mulhearn
Eleanor Mulhearn has an ongoing interest in drawing and memory. For this piece she has collected people’s memories of plants, birds and insects, producing interpretative drawings of these life forms in a way that reflects their absence. The project forms part of a wider body of work called The Cabinet of Conversations.

Michele Selway
A bridge can be more than just a link between two physical points. Castlefield viaduct has a rich history, representing both Manchester’s industrial heritage and, in its state of dilapidation, the uncertainty about the city’s post-industrial future. The structure has many echoes, posing many questions and stimulating debate. It can be represented from numerous perspectives – artistic, botanical, architectural and historical amongst them. It leads to unknown places, occupying a liminal space between what it was and what it might become.

Jana Smoca
Jana Smoca’s project explores the biodiversity of one particular tree and the area around it. It reflects the artist’s connection with forest environments, based on her personal experiences and cultural heritage. Alternative photographic processes have been used to create a poetic record of her findings and observations.

Jen Dimelow
Jen’s project, entitled Hidden, explores the metaphoric properties of natural forms. Focusing on moth cocoons, she uses innovative photographic techniques to take the viewer inside these capsules, creating images that evoke the transformational processes that they conceal and protect. She also considers this in relation to human psychology – how facets of individual personality can develop over time.

Adam Swindells
Adam’s work draws on Zen Buddhist ideas of interdependency and equivalence. Through photographing cosmic scenes and microscopic natural forms, he encourages us to reflect on the relationship between the two, and on the common origins of all matter.

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