The Urban Angel Gallery in London hosts an exhibition of erotic photography by the celebrated Alva Bernadine in collaboration with Tamara Seabrook at its Shoreditch gallery in August. This promises to be an exciting show that should keep the summer sizzling with Bernadine’s hyper-real highly coloured images contrasting Seabrook’s classic black and whites. The show aptly titled ‘The Sentiment of Love’ will open on August 13th until August 31st.
Alva Bernadine has an incomparable photographic signature. The worlds he creates are astounding, provocative and compelling but can also be filled with a twisted sense of humour. Their compositional strength and colour intensity always constitutes a visual happening, or as Alva Bernadine himself puts it: “I take the theatricality of surrealism, the elegance of classical haute couture photography, the narrative of reportage and the refinements of advertising photography and mix them all into a ‘Bernadinian cocktail’ — a radical photographic synthesis.” Bernadine’s photographs can be read on two levels: the surface is this feast for the eyes, but below that hover a wealth of sublime, ironic, and stimulating allusions. After the initial shock (accompanied by an uncontrollable chuckle) the spectator discovers the photographs’ narrative quality, unfolding between careful mise-en-scène and distorted alienation. Latex-clad women in their fitted-kitchens, manipulated female bodies with two lower or upper torsos — these are stories from the subculture of male fantasy, defused somewhat by self-mocking exaggeration and surreal form, but provocative and pugnacious.
While Bernadine’s work reminds of the excess, fun, and outrage of the fairground spiced up with Catholic kitsch icons, Seabrook’s photography is more in the tradition of early Surrealist photography of Andre Breton and his mad love for Jacqueline Lamba but these images are definitely 21st Century. Her black and white photography and highly staged poses are very aware of their audience. Seabrook is not just the photographer but also often the figure in the picture. Where Bernadine’s images are from a male dream world plunged into an orgy of colour, Seabrook twists this constellation. The figures in her photographs are submissive and objectified but it is really the woman who is in control. She is aware of the titillation and effect. She chooses how to stimulate. ‘I want to bring together the thought of the end of days with the beauty of sexual freedom,’ said Seabrook. ‘I am so happy to be showing together with Alva, I have always admired his photography.’
Alva was born in Grenada, West Indies and brought to London at the age of six. He is self-taught and never trained as an assistant. In the past 25 years he has worked, among other things, for the magazine sector, taking pictures for prestigious publications such as Vogue, GQ, Elle or the Sunday Times. In 1987 he won the Vogue/Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award for new talent with his photographic series “The Fetish”. In 2001 Bernadine was recognized as “Erotic Photographer of the Year”. More information on the Alva Bernadine’s work: www.bernadinism.com
Tamara was born in the United Kingdom and lived in Italy, France, Germany and New York. She studied art at Leeds College of Art and Design and is currently undertaking her PhD in Curating and Fine Art under Peter Lewis of Goldsmiths and St Martins College in London. She is a published writer and social activist and has worked together with artists and photographers worldwide among which are the photographers James Graham, Paolo Frunzio and Alva Bernadine. Most notable has been the collaboration with Gary Breckheimer. Their work was recognized with an international fine art award in Los Angeles. She is currently showing together with Part2ism in the Channel Four Contemporary Art Gallery, Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. More information on the Tamara Seabrook’s work: www.myspace.com/miscellanyuk
For more information please contact:
Urban Angel, The Art Lounge, 41-43 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Tel – 08700 111652
info [@] urbanangel.com
Further contact numbers : 07706226002 and 020 7326 4377
Opening Hours Wednesday to Saturday –11.00 am to 4.30pm
August 13th until August 31st