Cast

This major commission about Soho, London, uniquely combines drawing and photography to explore the changing nature of our contact with people in public space and issues of surveillance.

This exhibition ran between 26th September – 16th November 2008

Photoworks and The Photographers’ Gallery, London co-commissioned British artist, Dryden Goodwin, to produce a new body of work in and around Soho, London, resulting in an exhibition and a substantial publication in autumn 2008.

Goodwin’s title, Cast, has multiple meanings within his practice; from casting a glance, a line or a spell to solidifying or encasing an object or defining the actors in a drama. Over the last ten years he has consistently focused on the human figure and the portrait form. Often grounded in an experience of the city, Goodwin wrestles with the continually changing nature of our contact with the people around us, both the well known – family and friends – and the anonymous, the strangers we pass on the street.His work marks an intense curiosity, a desire to know, and yet is always alive with ambiguities about what the act of making work might reveal or obscure. Similarly, his work suggests the tensions of a society where fear, suspicion and the ever-present technologies of surveillance increasingly infect the atmosphere of public space, and yet it might also be understood as optimistic, aspiring to forms of empathy and connectedness.

The exhibition featured a number of new series that explore the intersection of photography and drawing, and the relationship between artist and subject. Shape Shifter features 1000 tiny portrait sketches produced while travelling on trains. The series Caul presents colour diptych photographs of travellers on night buses, where the intricacies of the subjects’ facial features are further defined by the spidery lines of a digital pen. Large-scale black and white images in the series Cradle show striking portraits with lines scratched into their surface, both defining and obliterating their subjects identities, whilst Casting brings together night-time images of bustling streets accompanied by miniature studies of faces picked out of the crowd.