Tag Archives: Alexandra


As the summer months draw to a close, The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce its next exhibition: XXXIX by Croatian artist Maja Vrzina. This is her first solo exhibition, celebrating 39 years of life, existence, turmoil and triumph through an anthology of rich painting and sculpture.

“For me, life has always been about extremes. I have known great pain, fear and loss and also experienced joy, love and ecstasy. Life is a constant struggle between opposing forces.” M.V.

Having lived through Croatia’s civil war and political unrest, Maja comes to terms with vast trauma through her visual creativity. The dark subject matter is depicted through a powerful monochrome palette. This use of black ink and acrylic on white canvas achieves a sense of balance, that reflects the contrasting emotions of personal struggle.

All of Maja’s works are placed in hand-gilded frames that add a further theatricality. This delicate technique that dates back to ancient Egyptian craft, accentuates the powerful and moving sentiments of the work. Maja explains, “It has been an emotional and at times painful journey but it has brought me some sense of peace, understanding and acceptance.”

http://www.MajaVrzina.com // facebook.com/majavrzinaart

XXXIX Poster A2



As The Strand Gallery prepares for its next exhibition; XXXIX by Maja Vrzina, we are focusing on art that captures raw personal struggle and experience. Photographer and artist Binh Danh explores his Vietnamese-American heritage and the painful memories associated, through a hard-hitting yet delicate manner. In his own words, he explores a combination of “mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality” , culminating in some of the most unique creative works of recent times.

Binh Danh

Ancestral Altars, 2006

Utilising Danh’s own invention of chlorophyll printing, the artist places the positives of photographs upon leafs chosen from his mother’s garden. He then positions his work in the sun for several days, allowing for the action of photosynthesis to take place. The results are an array of stunning one-off images that appear imprinted on the fragile leafs. Danh then places the finished leafs into blocks of resin to preserve and frame his creations as if biological samples.

Such use of natural and fragile resources to depict scenes of turmoil and suffering creates a powerful juxtaposition that other artists often overlook. Danh focuses upon the notions of nature’s innocence with the atrocities of humanity; all of which are noted from his cultural perspectives and memories. He explains how the leaves embody the continuum of war; they hold the residue of debris, weapons, tears and blood. “The dead have been incorporated into the landscape of Vietnam during the cycles of birth, life, and death”. Thus through the creation and preservation of such artworks, the memories of struggle live on.

Untitled, 2006

Ambush in the leaf #4, 2007

For more information on artist Binh Danh, visit his website.

Stay tuned for upcoming news on our next exhibition XXXIX by Maja Vrzina.


As promised, here is our interview with our fashion designer in residence Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE, who’s SS14 collection Ophelia is  now on show here at The Strand Gallery until 15th September.

Ophelia SS14 by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Tell us a little about yourself; where did your interest in fashion stem from?

It began at home ,  I was brought up in an African culture. It introduced me to a diversity of rich textiles and colour, which I then translated into unique modern clothing. My need to learn about fashion and different textiles also sparked a passion for knitwear and other types of hand-weaving techniques such macramé and crocheting. However, I believe my general love for fashion, as well as my flair in creating fabrics, has allowed for me to begin challenging preconceived notions in fashion.

What were the prominent inspirations when designing your collection Ophelia?

I am very much inspired by the regal heritage of monarchs such as the Tsars, and the gothic illustrious work of Edmund Dulac, Harry Clarke and Arthur Rackham, to name a few. The colour palette and other intricacies are always referenced in my work. Through the continuous development of my brand, I have noticed that much of my style in designs do stem from a broad catalogue of inspirations from C14th- C19th paintings and buildings.

What is the story and ideas behind Ophelia?

I am significantly inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art at the moment, in particular the painting ‘Ophelia’ by Millais. While it is a beautiful artwork, it has been a great way for my brand to realise colour in a gothic and romantic way. ‘Ophelia’, to me, represents the bittersweet of life- something of great influence to my designs and outlook. I try to find beauty in objects and notions people would not expect. ‘Ophelia’ is also a reflection of femininity; its fragility and power through seduction and beauty. Like a rose, it is delicate and bewitching but its thorns will make you bleed.

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1851/1952

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1852. The influence of the painting’s whimsical beauty is clear throughout Beatrice’s current collection.

How does this collection stand out from your previous others?

The SS14 collection is definitely a slight step away from the dark luxurious long knitted gowns that haunted the runway for AW13. It expresses another side of Korlekie that is softer, delicate and feminine. It stands out from the previous collection because it is more unique, yet ofcourse it is still part of the brand’s DNA. It simply signifies a change in direction in the way I am inspired and how I create.

You’ve had lots of success in your career, what has been your proudest moment?

I am grateful for the success but I believe the brand has still a way to go. I feel my success has been measured by goals. On my journey to achieving these goals, I’ve picked up “points/awards”, but ultimately the real success is still a way to go. I don’t really have a proudest moment, as I find  having the opportunity to wake up and design  is a proud moment to surpass all others.

What does the future hold for Korlekie?

As long as I have the grace to continue what I love doing, Korlekie will continue to strive, and hopefully one day conquer!

For more information about the show, contact info@kayflawless.com // 0207 205 2217


KORLEKIE presents SS14 Ophelia

KORLEKIE presents SS14 Ophelia

To coincide with September’s London Fashion Week, The Strand Gallery presents Ophelia by British designer Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE. Drawing inspiration from her Afro-European heritage, Korlekie’s style blends traditional craft techniques with contemporary elegance and glamour. Now,  the Ophelia 2014 Spring/Summer collection will be showcasing her delicate craft with a bittersweet new direction that is sure to stand out.

The signature of Korlekie’s aesthetic showcases stunning methods of textile manipulation. With heavy embellishments and intricate handwork, Beatrice utilises traditional techniques such as crochet, layering and weaving to create a luxury collection. Being a London College of Fashion graduate in Digital Fashion, Beatrice looks towards the future of textile design, yet the beauty of the past remains key in her work. Showcasing strong influence from Pre-Raphaelite art and the visual history of regal monarchs, her work culminates  into a new dimension of femininity through her signature ornate style.

Since the early days of the Korlekie label, success for the designer has been on a continuous rise. Newman’s designs have featured in editorial and online publications such as Vogue.com, Elle and Dazed Digital, to name a few. While her creations have graced the runway at London’s V&A Museum, other pieces have been worn by the likes of Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding. Now with the upcoming Ophelia collection, Newman branches out further into the fashion stratosphere, developing creative flair.

Stay tuned for this week’s upcoming interview with Beatrice ‘Korlekie’ Newman, as she explains the interests and approaches that led to Ophelia. 

Ophelia (SS14 Collection) by Korlekie will be open to the public at The Strand Gallery from 11th – 15th September.

For more information, please contact info@kayflawless.com  // 0207 205 2217

Written by Alexandra Hale

SPOTLIGHT: Akira Isogawa

With London Fashion Week only a few weeks away, our Fashion Designer in Residence, Korlekie, is getting ready for her SS14 ‘Ophelia‘ show, on display here at The Strand Gallery in September.

To coincide with the exhibition, as well as this weekend’s Notting Hill Carnival, this next spotlight looks at fashion inspired by the multi-cultural world.

Fashion designer Akira Isogawa achieved international success through a unique aesthetic that blends together his Japanese heritage with the influence of the modernity of Sydney,  Australia. Such fusion has allowed for Isogawa to create delicate yet powerful clothing, standing out on the contemporary international runways.

Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Australia, SS12/13

Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Australia, SS12/13

Akira Isogawa was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1965 and had an appreciation for fashion from a young age. Yet,  it wasn’t until he emigrated to Australia at the age of 21, that his interest manifested into an experimentation of textile manipluation. Travelling back and forth between his native country and his new home, Isogawa used Japanese fabrics, familiar to him as a youngster, and applied them onto his Western designs. This preceded the characteristic style he would later unleash onto the fashion world.

Inspired by Japanese Kimonos, Geisha clogs and traditional woodblock printing, Isogawa’s designs encompass intricate Asian beauty and elegance. The creative mix of embroidery, origami folds and vibrant colours define his style and show the hand-worked delicacy of his collections. The designs are classic, simple forms, that are manifested into modern shapes to create a contemporary look.

2009 Spring Collection

Spring 2009 Collection

Since the 1993 opening of the designer’s first boutique in Sydney, success and appreciation for Isogawa has been plentiful. In 1999, he won the  Designer of the Year award and has since undertaken numerous projects in fashion and the arts. With his currently Spring 2013 collections on display internationally, and as multi-culural fashion becomes increasingly popular, Isogawa continues to cement his position at the forefront of Australian and international creativity.

Stay tuned for our upcoming show ‘Ophelia‘ by Korlekie, who will showcase her Afro-Inspired designs in the SS14 collection, showing at The Strand Gallery from 11th – 15th September.

All images copyright © of Akira Isogawa.

Written by Alexandra Hale.

SPOTLIGHT: Ambroise Tézenas

As this summer brings several degree shows through the doors of The Strand Gallery, we focus on the work of emerging artists and photographers. In keeping with this theme, we will be releasing some special features over the next few weeks, on a few creatives that have caught our eye.

This week’s spotlight falls upon French photographer Ambroise Tézenas, whose mesmerising imagery has already brought praise from international audiences and critics alike.

Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Money Pit: Kowloon, Hong Kong

Born in Paris in 1972, Tézenas studied photography at the Applied Arts School of Vevey, Switzerland. Upon graduating, he began his career as a promising photojournalist, documenting complex cultural and political subjects from the start. Now Tézenas holds an extensive portfolio of successful exhibitions, showcasing his natural talents in documentary and travel photography.

His recent project Dark Tourism, investigates the rising trend of ‘macabre travel’- when holiday-makers visit sites of death and destruction out of pure morbid curiosity.  Tézenas’ own travel experiences to Sri Lanka during the 2004 tsunami planted the seed for this exploration. He explains; ‘Paradoxically, while the modern man denies the reality of his own death, he enjoys the virtual confrontation to it’.

Dark Tourism

Dark Tourism: Sichuan, China

Such topics are characteristic to Tézenas’ work, as he depicts distant locations in an atmospherically raw manner. His 2006 exhibition Beijing, Theatre of the People, juxtaposed traditional China with its modernising cityscape of the 2008 Olympics. This exhibition culminated in a book publication of the same title, earning Tézenas the Leica European Publishing Award for Photography 2006.

Beijing, Theatre of the People

Beijing, Theatre of the People:  Beijing, China

Mumbai, India

Mumbai: Mumbai, India

Other elusive locations documented in his work include Mumbai, Cuba and Turkmenistan. These capture the unique cultural realities of these places, whilst constantly maintaining their often over-looked beauty. Such work has led to a plethora of awards, as well as commissions from  publications such as The New York Times and TIME magazine.

While Tézenas ventures to more locations, he continues to capture single moments in time of our rapidly changing global landscape. Through this work and its recognition, Tézenas further cements his growing reputation as a notable modern photographer and visionary.

For more information on his work and news on up-coming exhibitions, visit Ambroise Tézenas.

All images copyright © of Ambroise Tézenas.

Written by Alexandra Hale


As we wrap up our final Graduate Show, let us present Oliver Prowse, our fourth and final photographer, in the series of Artist Profiles for ‘Brink’. We asked him some questions about his techniques and inspirations for his mesmerising and intriguing photographs.

The Body as Landscape

The Body as Landscape

Where did this project begin? Where were your ideas born?

My ideas began when experimenting in the studio. I work with the human figure in various ways, yet I am particularly fascinated with how light can transform elements of the body. I’m interested in what makes the body recognisably human, how we can challenge this and make people reevaluate cemented stereotypes of beauty.

Some elements of surrealist photography can be traced in your style of work. Who inspired this style? Is there anyone you are particularly influenced by?

The style of my images was a result of a very free process of experimentation. However, a strong influence came from the sculptures of Henry Moore. Although I would be wary of directly associating my work with surrealism, it did have a significant impact on Moore. Therefore, I cannot entirely dismiss surrealist links. However, I focused more upon Moore’s visual correlation between the figure and landscapes. My interest in this link is what drove my work and saw me attempting to create a modern, yet timeless series of images that embody landscapes of the figure.

What photographic technique did you employ to achieve the desired effect?

With this series, I looked to make  a set-up as simple as possible. Working with only one light source, I stripped the process of photographing the body back to its rawest form. This enabled me to have  precise control over the way the light fell upon the body, allowing an exact view of the highlighted lines, shapes and contours of figure. The abstract nature of the images was largely achieved varying the camera’s viewpoint relative to the subject. I experimented with figure positioning in order to produce unique perspectives, not instantly  indicative of their original subject.

Is there any particular message you wish to convey in your work?

As opposed to my work conveying a defined message, it is simply a means of making audiences reevaluate their perceptions of the human body and traditional ideas of beauty. I’m also bringing to light what can be achieved in a studio to create new kind of figurative imagery and challenge audience’s visual beliefs.

Oliver’s photography can be seen as part of Brink, showing at The Strand Gallery between until August 10th.

For more of Oliver Prowse’s individual photography, visit his website here.


With our current graduate show Brink well underway, we focus on our third featured photographer Rosie Kliskey. Showcasing images reminiscent of Nan Goldin’s voyeuristic style, we ask Rosie about her inspirations and techniques that led to the creation of her final pieces on display.

We Don't Have To Act Like This

We Don’t Have To Act Like This

Are there any particular photographers who have influenced your project?

There are multiple influences in my work; one being photographer Paul Graham and his publication ‘End of An Age’, encompassing the visuals of youth culture . Further inspiration comes from Wolfgang Tillmans, William Eggleston and the ‘Lovers’ series by photographer Weegee. Collectively, these have had a significant impact on the way I think, create work and see the world through a camera.

What photographic techniques did you use to achieve your desired effects?

For this particular project, I used a compact camera with a harsh flash. I felt this simple method of photography would allow me to mingle in crowd, disguising my process of observing individuals. I thought if I were to use a digital SLR for example, it is more likely the subjects would play up to the camera. Instead, I was able to document the crowds while they were oblivious to my working.

Are there any messages you intended to convey in your work?

It is not so much as a specific message, but rather I am attempting to comment on contemporary youth and the changes in behaviour that occur once the lights go out- when alcohol is consumed. Although some of my images document activities that could be deemed as unbecoming, I look objectively. I am merely observing and recording, not passing  judgement. I attempt to ask questions on social behaviour through my work, intriguing people while making them see the ordinary through a fresh lens.

Do you have any pending photographic projects lined up?

I am currently working on a collaborative project with a fellow graduate Samantha Twitchett. I am also engaging in an investigation into my home town of Pezance, studying the underbelly of an acclaimed touristic destination.

Rosie’s collection ‘We Don’t Have To Act Like This’ can be seen as part of ‘Brink’, on show at The Strand Gallery from the 6th – 10th August.

For a more extensive view of Rosie Kliskey’s work, visit her website here.

ARTIST PROFILE: Laurie Crayston

Our second featured artist this week from the current exhibition ‘Brink’, is Plymouth Photography Graduate Laurie Crayston. We spoke to him about his image  ‘Mine, Landscape’ which is on display here at The Strand Gallery.

Laurie Crayston

Mine, Landscape

Where did this project begin? How did your ideas develop over time?

Growing up in the Lake District, I have always had a fascination with landscapes. In the final year of my degree, I began to create photography that illustrated my close relationship with place, space and nature. As the project developed, it became apparent that by putting myself into the images and placing physical interventions into the landscape, the photographs would begin to represent my autobiographical connections to the places that are meaningful to me.

Do you have any particular photographic inspirations?

Photographically, my work draws from several of Elina Brotherus’ self portraits, which I found particularly stimulating. However, my main inspiration came from the paintings of Casper David Friedrich and JMW Turner. I wanted the photographs to question the nature of the sublime and the relationship between contemporary masculinity and histories of dominance over landscape.

What inspired the image’s atmoshpheric and sombre setting?

I had been waiting some time for the opportunity to shoot in such thick mist. There is something in the connection between mist and water that I find visually perfect and incredibly satisfying. It captures the simplicity of the space when balancing between clarity and obscurity. The serenity of the setting, disrupted only by my presence, creates an intensity that I could not have achieved in any other location.

What photographic techniques did you use to achieve the desired effect?

To create my final outcome, I used the camera’s self-timer. I set it to take several images at a time whilst I attempted a variety of poses and positions that demonstrated my interaction with the landscape. From this performance, a single image was selected. I wanted the photograph to represent the intensity of when I place myself in these landscapes; the significant power I feel when immersed in nature.

Laurie’s work  is part of Brink, on show at the The Strand Gallery from the 6th – 10th August.

Further examples of Laurie Crayston’s work can be viewed here.

ARTIST PROFILE: Rosie Grace Hill

This week we open our doors to the final graduate show of the Summer; Brink, Plymouth University’s Photography Degree Show.

To kick start our series of Artist Profiles this week, we have artist Rosie Grace Hill who we spoke to about the inspirations and techniques used in her final piece, ‘Traces’.



Where did this project begin?

The china clay quarries of Devon and Cornwall are innately beautiful, made so by a strange mesh of nature and man-made intervention. Yet in the past decades, the production of china clay has been in decline. Likewise, the photographic film industry is withering as it gives rise to the digital age. The number of rolls of film sold globally each year, with the amounts of china clay produced, is declining in an almost identical geographic pattern. As a result of research into these industry’s correlating abandonment  I decided to photograph the china clay industries with analogue photographic techniques.

What photographic techniques did you use to achieve the desired effect?

In the early stages of the project, I found my photographic outcomes did nothing to visually portray my concept. I started to alter the development process of the film with substances native to the sites; clay, water from the reservoirs, burnt out machinery etc. I began experimenting by soaking  films in these solutions for 3 days, drying them out for 5, and then shooting directly onto the altered film roll. This abstracted the image at varying levels, portraying traces of industry through traces of the former image.

Are there any particular photographers who have influenced this project? Who did you look up to artistically?

A strong influence for my work has been that of William Arnold, an MA student at Plymouth University. His experiments using ‘primitive and antiquarian’ analogue photographic methods, with digital scanning techniques create something really quite unique. It utilises the best of both processes; beauty of analogue chance with beauty of digital control. It is this that makes his work’s uniqueness  so remarkable in shape, form, colour, technique and process- all emphasising their unique ephemeral quality.

Is there a particular message you wish to convey in your work?

In using different processes to create images of tactility and materiality, the resulting work I produced depicts the traces of industry through traces of photography. Such techniques abstracted the image in various forms, leaving only a trace of the image’s original context,  reflecting back to declining china clay industry spoken of earlier. I’ve found my ideas quite fluid and circular, yet often difficult to explain concisely. Therefore, I would love to continue this project in the future, to push the processes to their extreme and explore new industries and places.

Rosie’s work will be shown alongside her fellow graduates from 6th – 10th August, here at The Strand Gallery.

For more of Rosie Grace Hill’s work, visit her website.