Hidden underground, the CNB Gallery lies beneath the Tramshed on Rivington Street, Shoreditch. The gallery space itself has no windows and therefore no natural light, making it the perfect match for Peter Newman’s latest exhibition. Subterranean Blues is comprised of eight large scale photographic works hung on deep blue walls, against which each chromogenic print appear to glow in the ambient, dimly lit environment.
Chicago River, 2010 (left), Hong Kong, Cotton Tree Drive, 2008 (middle), New York, Park Avenue & 53rd St., 2008 (right), Peter Newman
Each photograph depicts a different city from the ground looking up, enabling the viewer to see the cities’ skylines and architecture from a new angle. Newman’s images have a sheen to their surface that accentuates the dramatic cityscapes and intensifies the colours. In addition, the circular, almost fish-eye style of Newman’s photography surrounded by deep black borders exaggerates the natural light of the sky and its shimmering reflections on the buildings below.
Paris, La Defense, 2015, Peter Newman
Newman’s eye-catching cityscapes provide the only source of natural light in the exhibition – this adds to the vibrancy and drama in his work, and really draws the viewer into the photographs. Newman also creates an account of the character of each city through his practice; he captures the essence of the city and how people navigate it through photography and film, and this documentation of place reveals how our cities are evolving.
Subterranean Blues forms part of Metropoly, a long-term project in which Newman aims to systematically record and examine the changing architecture of cities from around the world. This exhibition also includes two photographs that do not conform to the otherwise exclusively urban subjects, juxtaposing natural environments, such as the Eden Project, Cornwall and Redwood Forest, California, against contrastingly more developed, city locations.
Eden Project, Cornwall, 2015 (left) & Redwood Forest, California, 2008 (right), Peter Newman
Peter Newman is also the creator of Skystation, a sculptural device that encourages you to rest, recline and appreciate your environment from an alternative perspective. These low-lying installations offer the chance to understand the city as if looking through the lens of Newman’s camera, looking up at the ever-changing modern architecture that occupies the interminable sky.