Three From Britain: Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Graham Smith

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Helen with Hula-Hoop, Seacoal Beach, Lynemouth, Northumberland, 1983 Silver Gelatin Print 20 X 24 In © Chris Killip, Courtesy of Rose Gallery, Los Angeles
Three From Britain: Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Graham Smith

Bergamot Station Art Center
2525 Michigan Avenue G-5
Santa Monica, CA 90404
March 8th, 2008 - May 30th, 2008

santa monica/venice
Tue-Sat 10-6 / artist receptions Saturdays 6-8 pm


RoseGallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Chris Killip, Martin Parr and Graham Smith taken in Great Britain from the late 1970s through the 1980s. This is the first presentation of works by documentary mavericks Chris Killip and Graham Smith to be shown in a commercial gallery within the United States. This exhibition will also mark the first time that the work of all three artists will be shown together since the landmark 1990 exhibition British Photography From The Thatcher Years at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Britain saw a colossal transformation. The confluence of de-industrialization and the socially conservative policies of Prime Minister Thatcher further polarized an already stratified British society. This social terrain called for a new kind of document. A generation of photographers was ready to document these complex political and economic realities. Recognizing the need for a new kind of record, Chris Killip, Martin Parr and Graham Smith focused their perspectives on life in England, each providing a unique way to comprehend this era. The works produced during this period of upheaval offered a way of understanding the irony, pain, hopelessness and humor of a nation in flux.

Chris Killip is best known for his uncompromising black and white portraits. Killip began photographing in the late 1960s on the Isle of Man, his place of birth. Through the late 1970s and 1980s Killip focused his attention on the North of England, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and several smaller towns, documenting the tenacity, endurance and strife of these places. Through his insightful similes Killip reveals some part of a life that would have been otherwise invisible. In 1988 his images of northern England culminated in the seminal book In Flagrante, and in 1989 he received the Henri Cartier-Bresson photography award. Killip has published four books, and his work is represented in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris. He is currently a Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

Graham Smith was born and raised in Middlesbrough, England, a town his family had lived in for generations, and a place that is often used to illustrate the crushing affects of de-industrialization in the North. Smith's beginnings in photography came at Middlesbrough College of Art and later the Royal College of Art. From the start his subject has been close to home. Smith spent more than a decade making photographs of his friends and relatives and the pubs they frequented. Though he stopped making photographs in 1990 Smith has continued a life-long investigation of his working class roots through his research and writing. Most recently his work can be seen in Granta 95: Loved Ones, published last year. Smith's work is held by several major collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

While Smith's work focused solely on a town that had seen better times, Martin Parr took aim at the other end of the spectrum. Parr's pictures looked at the seeming prosperity of the era, the burgeoning middle class and it's new found buying power. In his saturated color images from this period, garden parties and shopping trips become pageants of class anxiety and entitlement. Parr has been a member of Magnum photo agency since 1994 and has published over thirty books as well as numerous artist's books. His work is held by collections internationally including the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Tate Modern in London, and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.