AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland (Street Level Photoworks) (4 stars)

AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland (Street Level Photoworks)

Iain Sarjeant

Diversity of technique and theme exhibited from five new artists at this two-part show

An exhibition in two parts, the other half of AMBIT can be seen at the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh, where works by six photographers are on display. Here, a range of five artists are showcasing their images, although Street Level seems somehow more spacious and able to accommodate larger samples of work from those involved. The show promises diversity of technique and theme from new artists, and in the works here, there is plenty to reflect on and enjoy.

From Highlands-based Iain Sarjeant, for example, comes a series built upon skilful documentary photography and a rich sense of bleak humour found in the mundane. He calls it 'Out of the Ordinary', a pedestrian but descriptive title for playful, everyday shots taken from Drumochter to Selkirk, showing pylons and service yards; a jumble of traffic cones before striking, snow-capped mountains; and a destroyed car abandoned on waste ground. It's akin to Martin Parr, but with landscapes over portraiture.

Katy Hundertmark, meanwhile, shows work with a particular sense of contrast, not just between the stark black and white of the images, but in different states of gravity, texture and aesthetic beauty; in one shot she has laid a clean white sheet over soil, in another her hand pulls a filthy, dark metal chain from the earth. In a triptych, she holds lumps of rough concrete and tree root while wearing a sheer black silk dress. Csilla Kozma's pieces also employ vivid contrast, using the Mordencage process to give her atmospheric still life and portrait pieces the air of an unsettling fantasy world.

AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland (Street Level Photoworks)

Matthew Arthur Williams

Matthew Arthur Williams' portraits are powerful in their own right, but even more so with a bit of context. Working with family and friends, he has shot one or more people from behind a piece of corrugated glass, so that their sex, age and race appear disguised and indistinct, while in another set, a black man has been photographed against a dark background. The commentary within this 'In Conflict' series, we come to understand, is upon British society, and appears to relate to the invisibility of those who feel 'other' within it – both a self-imposed invisibility, and one inflicted by society.

Finally, Edyta Majewska's work is possibly the richest within the entire Ambit project, for its humour, its technical detail and its depth of feeling. Majewska is a Polish artist who has lived in Britain for twenty years, and her display playfully expresses her emotions around questions of citizenship. She has made wallpaper, wall collages and dated flipbooks of significant family snapshots – a daughter's first day at school in Scotland, or the college where she studied art and worked as a cleaner – as well as striking, unearthly mirrored images which show Glasgow tower blocks floating in the sky. These small-scale, personal viewpoints open up a whole vista of belonging in Majewska's treatment of them.

AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland is at the Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 23 Jun.

Ambit: Photographies from Scotland

A partnership between Glasgow's Street Level and Edinburgh's Stills, this show showcases works by emerging Scottish photographers.

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