Frank Pictures Gallery proudly presents the photographs of Martin Usborne in his debut U.S. show MUTE: The Silence of Dogs in Cars. Usborne’s work deals with capturing the silence that we impose upon animals. Humans have drawn an invisible curtain between themselves and the rest of the animal kingdom, an artificial boundary that has caused very real suffering: animals are controlled, contained and MUTED by us. His work exposes this silent but painful divide. On another level, his images are about how we often cut off from our true animal nature: our angers, fears and hopes. He brilliantly captures the pain and silence and fear of animals.
I was once left in a car at a young age. I don't know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don't matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back: in a child's mind it is possible to be alone forever. Around the same age I developed a deep affinity with animals - in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I remember watching TV and seeing footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back. It's muteness terrified me. It is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard. The images in this series explore that feeling, both in relation to myself and to animals in general. The camera is the perfect tool for capturing silence and longing: the shutter preserves the subject like a creature pickled behind glass. In this instance two layers of glass are placed between the viewer and the viewed: the glass of the lens and the glass of the car window. The dog is truly alone. When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. What I didn't expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside. I hope that these pictures are engaging and perhaps a little amusing. I want to show that there is life in the dark places within us. I will stop writing now and you can stop reading. Words can only get us so far. After all, we are all animals
Martin Usborne, Sept 2010
This is Martin’s first show at Frank Pictures Gallery. He has previously shown at The Print Space Gallery, Royal Albert Hall, Candid Arts Centre, Hoxton Square Studios, Lauderdale House Gallery, AOP Gallery, and at East London Photo Month in London, and at Reginik Studio Gallery in Brazil. He was presented with the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize in 2009 for his photo Time For Tea. Much of Usborne’s work is concerned with animal welfare; 10% of profits from his print sales go to animal charities.
All prints available in two sizes: 24" x 36" and 40" x 60", all are archival giclee prints in editions of 10