Capturing the Narrative at L A Noble Gallery

by Nicoletta Barbata

2 Jul 2014
  • Exhibition

The Photocaptionist caught up with London-based L A Noble Gallery on their recent intriguing exhibition Capturing the Narrative: A Visual Exploration of Fact and Fictionwhere artists Lottie Davies, Brittain Bright and Johanna Ward explore fables and truths drawing on personal histories, folklore, mith and literature.

Lottie Davies‘s Love Stories is an ongoing project on collected accounts of the circumstances in which couples met and their love begun. Davies re-constructs the atmosphere and ambience of these amorous encounters, celebrating their memories with irresistible theatrical staging.

copyright Lottie Davies, ‘The Library – Philip and Valerie’ from the series Love Stories. Courtesy L A Noble Gallery

Johanna Ward’s series I shall say goodbye with my strengthening love for you, forever and ever explores her own childhood and family moments through intimate vernacular photographs of domestic life, personal memorabilia and love letters from the late seventies.

copyright Johanna Ward, ‘Untitled’ from the series I shall say goodbye with my strengthening love for you, forever and ever. Courtesy L A Noble Gallery

In her Opening Lines Brittain Bright challenges the very act of reading. With her photographs we visually enter the realm of fiction and enjoy the mystery and suspense inherent in each narrative fragment.

In addition to the exhibition, L A Noble Gallery, in collaboration with Goldsmiths Writer’s Centre, has been running a fascinating programme of photo-literary events, inviting authors Corrine Barber, Charlotte Heather, Elly Parsons, Charlotte Barrow, Nick Burbidge and Winnie M Li to respond to the imagery of the photo-artists with spoken word performances.

We are extremely delighted to publish an excerpt of Charlotte Heather’s short story written in response to Brittain Bright‘s image, inspired by the opening lines of Russell H. Greenan It Happened in Boston?: “I have come to the conclusion that the pigeons are spying on me. What other explanation can there be?”

copyright Brittain Bright from the series Opening Lines. Courtesy L A Noble Gallery


 by Charlotte Heather

“I lay in my bed and watch. Below my window is a busy road, punctuated by takeaways and cafs, corner shops and pub, pub, pub. I can wrap myself up in the duvet, sit in my bed and watch. It’s the perfect set up. I don’t own a TV. A pigeon is sat on the windowsill. He watches the world with me. He has hardly any toes. I don’t know which is true: that pigeons lose their toes because of that wiry business that protects buildings, or, if it is because their shit is so acidic that it rots them off. I hope it is the first one. The pigeon pays me no heed. We are kindred spirits. He does have toes. They’re just not much. They look like a maggot cluster. Or like flaccid and deformed penises huddling together for warmth. In the caf below there is a big window with a table at it so that patrons can slurp coffee and people watch. They do not often see me watching them watching. When they do we both get quite a shock. Who watched who first. There’s a man and a woman sat at the window table. She is little and wearing a black top, or dress, I can’t see below her torso, and a red cardigan. She sips at the wide and shallow mug. They only have one type of mug there. The man has his arm around her and she looks like she has been superimposed on the picture in miniature. Or is it the other way round? I’m not sure but he is very big and she is very little. I could never take him. Though I’ve never been much of a fighter anyway, not since the taekwondo incident of ’99 when Teddy Fulton kicked me right in the nadgers and I threw up in front of everyone. The large man has a large beard and his arm looks both protective and threatening around the woman. I imagine his hands are rough and calloused, they’d feel like sandpaper against my skin, my arm hair would catch perhaps in the deep grooves of his hard palms. The oversized mug fits perfectly in his hand. His lips move kind of clumsily, like Duplo bricks falling down, hers are tight as a cat’s arse. The pigeon shifts its weight from one foot to the other. Why doesn’t my building have that anti-pigeon wiry business?

A bus obscures my view of the caf and waits at the stop. A blonde, mutton dressed as lamb type is running a little way behind it, waving her arms like a lunatic, her handbag threatening to smack every other pedestrian. The bus driver seems to notice the flailing in his mirror. Something flies out of her bag. She has made it on to the bus, inside it I can just make her out, resting her hand on the back of a seat and breathing very hard. It was a packet of cigarettes that fell out of her bag. The homeless man that sleeps almost every night on the corner kicks the packet. It is not empty. He smiles to himself and starts to walk in the direction of the pubs.”

To read the full story please contact the author via L A Noble Gallery. If you missed the previous performances you can find them here.

Capturing the Narrative: A Visual Exploration of Fact and Fiction
featuring: Brittain Bright, Lottie Davies, Johanna Ward
Until 5 July – L A Noble Gallery