Art: White Cloth Gallery Launch
The gallery has the funds to not only develop a cool, modern space, but to bring in artists that other local spaces can’t afford.
The White Cloth Gallery is the latest in a steady stream of independent galleries to open in Leeds this year. Committed exclusively to photography and film, the gallery claims to be ‘the first of its kind in the North of England’. By serving as an event space available for hire and having backing from wealthy private business, the gallery has the funds to not only develop a cool, modern space, but to bring in artists that other local spaces can’t afford. Creative directors Peter Dench and Sharon Price insist they opened White Cloth with a view to promoting socially progressive development of new and emerging artists, both in the local community and farther afield. Given that the first few exhibits lined up seem to be by already acclaimed artists, it will be interesting to see if and how Dench and Price live up to their intended ideology in the future.
White Cloth’s premier exhibit features work from internationally acclaimed photographer Jocelyn Bain Hogg’s new book ‘The Family’. It documents Joe Pyle Sr., a man at the centre of organized crime in London, as well as the gangster’s family. Hogg’s candid black and white shots are striking in their intimacy, and are remarkable enough without the back story adding dramatic weight. Any documentary art of this sort runs the risk of over-egging the obvious juxtapositions between the career and family life of such men, and whilst Hogg does tread a fine line, he seems to have gotten close enough to his subjects to avoid such cliché. Hogg uses film instead of digital, and as always this medium is more impressive when used expertly, but the galleries repeated insistence that he is unique and laudable for his medium is a little condescending and, frankly, untrue.
With exhibits coming up based on portraits of one man’s twitter followers (140 Characters) and a rather grim portrayal of Britain’s youth culture (Teenagers), the gallery’s future output looks very promising. Workshops, screenings, seminars and book signings are in the works, all of which add to the sense that White Cloth means serious business. Definitely worth a visit, two bars staffed by terrifyingly efficient staff making an evening trip a must.
White Cloth Gallery is located at Aireside House, Leeds, LS1 2BH next to Leeds City station.