Home is the center-weight of England’s artistic practice, with memory and forgetting being the counterbalances. Her photographs are fragile, contemplative and temporal spaces.
‘The Outskirts’ is a re-presentation of the artist’s family album; original vintage snapshots enlarged and obscured by the original photo album pages from which they were excavated. The meaning of the photographs are thus transformed, with the focus being on the peripheral and the edge.
Likewise, with ‘Punched’, the viewer is left to fill in the blanks. With this work, England punches out the main subjects using a hole puncher—an act both playful and provocative. For the artist, this transitions the subject to one of process, and imposes a different kind of viewing.
“The circular shape of the punches become little clouds of thought, or speech bubbles in space. Black holes where information or knowledge continues to leak out. These spaces invite the imagination to fill them back up again.”—Odette England
The materiality of the photograph, the process of photographing and making, continues as key concept in the ‘Exposed’ series. England collects double dark slides—the essential tool for large-format film photography—and records the interiors, with their silver nitrate stains, and marks of constant use. Each one is unique, like a photograph, and each act as evidence of the photographic process. In photographing these stains, scratches, and scars of photographic labor, England brings to light surfaces that show how photography itself makes images.
"This is the story of the life of a camera and the life of a photographer who has taken countless pictures, who has been through this repetitive process of recording things that we don’t know anything about. All we see in the plates is the residue, and that’s the part I’m interested in, the ‘mucky’ residue that’s left behind.” —Odette England
England’s background as a painter, informs her assertion of photography’s materiality, with the photographic print often being the starting point, not the end point of her practice. The physical photograph intrigues the artist, especially for its connection to personal and collective memory.