MMX Gallery presents Twilight’s Path by Jasper Goodall, an exhibition of evocative nocturnal landscapes taken after nightfall in the forests, and on the moors of the British Isles.
These dark atmospheric images convey a sense of solemnity that seems all the more poignant in light of the events that have taken place over the last year. During the Covid pandemic, green spaces took on renewed importance as the only areas still accessible to society, and many people experienced a reconnection with the natural world. And yet there is also a profound sense of loss, both of human life and of our ability to be carefree. These concurrent themes seem to resonate within Goodall’s photographs of dark, arboreal landscapes which convey a sense of haunting, portentous silence. The images reference notions of the Sublime in Romanticism; an experience that can invoke ‘delight’ in the disquiet of being outside ones’ comfort zone.
Over a three-year period, Goodall has visited areas of British forest and moorland to make images that he refers to as being ‘more akin to fairytale than documentary’. There is indeed an unreal quality to the images, and this is perhaps a result of using artificial lighting. In the absence of any natural illumination (save for a few that include the moon), scenes are lit as if they are in a studio setting. This results in imagery that feels eerily unfamiliar; transporting the viewer from the recognisable landscape into a kind of liminal netherworld – it’s the landscape, but not as we are used to seeing it.
Goodall responds to this observation by speaking about the possibility of the darkness being seen as a metaphor for the unconscious mind; the ‘light’ of consciousness illuminates the known forms of tree and rock, but beyond these certainties lies the unknown.
Alongside the nightscapes is a set of images entitled ‘Dark Flora’. These are still life arrangements of natural flora foraged from local woodlands. Atmospherically lit, they are reminiscent of old museum exhibits. Indeed, the curated compositions were inspired by the Victorian taxidermy dioramas in the Booth Museum of Natural History in the artist’s home town of Brighton.
Each arrangement was collected from within approximately one square kilometre of land and are season-specific: May foxgloves; verdant midsummer mares tail; poisonous autumnal fungi; and dried, skeletal winter remnants. Goodall stresses the importance of using everyday flora like bramble, and other hedgerow natives, encouraging us to appreciate the natural beauty of plants so often overlooked in the everyday. They are a seasonal celebration of British wild flora.
Jasper Goodall – (born in 1973 in Birmingham) is a British photographer and former illustrator. Widely published and much referenced, he was best known for his editorials in The Face Magazine, Dazed & Confused and his creation of ethereal imagery for the English rock band Muse. He has had joint and solo shows in Tokyo, Hamburg and London.
In 2014 he left the world of commercial image making and spent several years training as a counsellor at the Psychosynthesis Trust in London. This hiatus provided the opportunity to take stock and re-imagine his creative output in a new form; photographically exploring the landscape at night.
In addition to his photographic practice Goodall teaches creativity and visual communication. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton where he has taught generations of visual communicators for almost 20 years.
Jasper Goodall: Twilight’s Path
June 4 – July 17, 2021
448 New Cross Road
London SE14 6TY