Reflections on my exhibition and the work of Jo Dennis

Jo Dennis’s work is of interest to me in a number of ways. She photographs well-used and deteriorating spaces, incorporates painting and creates installations. I also photograph man-made things, albeit on a much smaller scale, and create images and have just added an installation with my exhibition 17-24th August 2018. We both look at deterioration and erosion and ‘reframe’ what we see.

“The images of the walls become ‘found’ abstract paintings – in turn, the works become a record of the time that has eroded these surfaces and reveal the domestic, un-fantastic banality of everyday existence. For Dennis there is a poetic profundity to this erosion. Her composition and cropping of photographs, allied to her paintings and sculpture, together expand these ideas using a process of abstracting and reframing imagery.” (Sid Motion Gallery 2017)

Her multi-image multi-surfaces installation is brought together using painted lines that appear on some of the images thereby making a physical connection tying the collection to a singular theme.

Jo Dennis 2017, Matter out of Place Sid Motion Gallery

When I view her work I am struck immediately by her use of limited colour palettes and the consistency in the aspect ratios and sizing of individual and small group images which bring the subsets of the series together.

Jo Dennis 2017, Matter out of Place Sid Motion Gallery
Jo Dennis 2017, Matter out of Place Sid Motion Gallery
Jo Dennis 2018, Ladywell Gems

In contrast I feel my work is still at a messy experimental stage, each piece having its own life, contrasting and sometimes clashing colours and shape and size being determined by what most suits the subject matter rather than what might make looking at the images easier.

Sarah Newton 2018, Beauty and the Beach… Speculation Gallery
Sarah Newton 2018, Beauty and the Beach… Speculation Gallery










Although I divided my images into three types placing each on a separate wall of my exhibition there remained a certain higgledy piggledy feel about each one. Clearly I need to address these areas, not simply to feel I am ‘conforming’ to unwritten rules of consistency and continuity that date back to analogue times (e.g. Cotton 2018: 219-221) but because I want to find a way to maximise the receiving of the narrative I tell through my images.


Cotton, Charlotte. 2018. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. 3rd edn. London: Thames & Hudson.

JOBEY, Liz. Lost and found- the transformative art of Jo Dennis. Financial Times: Financial Times Photography. 18 May 2018. Available at: [accessed 23-08-18].

SID MOTION GALLERY. Jo Dennis Matter out of Place. 19 January – 24 February 2017. Available at: [accessed 23-08-18].

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