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The Crack Magazine

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Island Life

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art have a couple of superb exhibitions running at the minute including ‘Island’, which brings together a dynamic selection of artists to explore the notion of island life in Britain since 1945.

I love Ian Macdonald’s ‘South Gare Teesmouth’, one of the key photographs of this exhibition. It shows two adults and two children standing on an expanse of concrete. They’re looking out to sea – their shadows elongated out behind them – towards a stretch of land that can be seen way off in the distance. It’s a photograph all about space, distance and demarcation, aspects, one might say, particular to “island life”. And Macdonald is just one of the renowned modern British photographers showing work at this exhibition alongside the likes of Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Ingrid Pollard, Tacita Dean and Tony Ray-Jones. It also features a major new commission by John Kippin and Nicola Neate. The show explores current debates central to the coastal experience including environmental change, unemployment, poverty, and our difficult relationship between land and sea. These concerns are presented side-by-side with romantic seascapes and documentary photography celebrating the heydays of the British seaside holiday. RM

Island, until 11 September, NGCA, Sunderland. 


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