4th October-18th November 2018
32 John Adam Street
Proud Galleries is delighted to announce ‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary multi-format release of The Kinks’ sixth studio album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. On display is a selection of rare collector’s items including specially commissioned artworks by members of the band and vintage memorabilia, together with a collection of photographs documenting this remarkable period in the band’s history. Each work is hand-signed by surviving band members Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory. ‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ explores the album’s defiantly British sensibilities and commemorates what is now considered to be the high point of The Kinks’ outstanding career.
The Village Green was originally released by The Kinks in November 1968 and became the final album from the original quartet: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory. Despite a positive critical reception upon its release, the album did not perform well commercially, perhaps due to the band’s deliberate step away from the musical trends of the era. In retrospect, audiences have come to value the album’s timeless quality, with Pete Townshend of The Who describing it as, ‘Ray [Davies]’s masterpiece… what makes him the definitive pop poet laureate’. Defying the 60’s typical approach to rock ‘n’ roll, The Village Green offers an affectionate and charming ode to the countryside through vignettes of English life. The album is adored by fans due to its ageless wit and multi-layered musical innovation and has become a definitive piece of British pop culture, created by a band that refused to follow fashion.
The exhibition features photography from the album artwork photoshoot in Hampstead Heath, captured by established music photojournalist Barrie Wentzell. The original quartet lounge on the grass against the historic backdrop of Kenwood House, which, according to Wentzell, was “Ray’s favourite location to film”. Presented alongside prints and memorabilia is a special edition, supersized artwork produced by Morgan Howell to commemorate the album’s box set release. The artist reinterprets the bonus track WONDERBOY as a three dimensional sculpture in his trademark style, using paint and canvas to mimic the creases and wear of a 50 year-old vinyl sleeve. Admirers of the band will be given the unique opportunity to view and acquire a variety of these rare pieces, each hand-signed by The Kinks.
‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ coincides with BMG’s 26th October 2018 multi-format reissues of The Village Green album, presenting an extensive collection of works relating to this iconic record. These include newly remastered CDs, LPs, digital albums and a beautifully produced Deluxe Box Set containing remastered versions of the original album on CD and LP, a wealth of previously unreleased bonus audio material, a hardback photobook with new band interviews and previously unseen photos, 7” singles and reproduced memorabilia. The exhibition aims to reintroduce the nostalgia of the Kinks’ most memorable album to a 21st Century audience and offers an insight into the enduring escapism the band created 50 years ago. When asked to describe the record, Ray Davies has said that; ‘everybody’s got their own Village Green, somewhere you go to, when the world gets too much’.
23rd November 2018- 13th January 2019
32 John Adam Street
Proud Galleries is pleased to announce Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff, an intimate collection of Seeff’s acclaimed photographic sessions featuring influential 20th Century musical icons. From Johnny Cash and Patti Smith to Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, Norman Seeff’s perceptive lens captures thought-provoking images of iconic artists session after session. The exhibition explores the sensitive collaboration between photographer and musician; whether photographed mid-smile or deep in contemplation, Seeff’s subjects are effortlessly captured in moments of spontaneity. Famed for emotionally engaging with his subjects, Seeff’s photographs in Sessions in Sound are intimate, lively and authentic.
Norman Seeff was born in South Africa, 1939. After working as an A&E doctor in Soweto, he moved to New York aged 29, eager to explore his creative passions. His break into the industry occurred when introduced to the renowned album cover designer, Bob Cato, who gave him his first major assignment – to photograph Robbie Robinson and The Band for the liner notes of their album ‘Stage Fright’. After getting lost on his way to Woodstock and arriving hours late, Seeff was disappointed with his own work. Embarrassed by the results, he simply pushed the only image he liked in an envelope under the door of Cato’s brownstone. When Seeff finally gathered the courage to contact him some weeks later, Cato exclaimed “where have you been? I don’t have your number! They love the photograph and they want to use it for the album cover.” This project and its immediate recognition catapulted Seeff into prominence.
In 1973, Seeff opened his own studio on Sunset Boulevard, constantly evolving his sessions through an exploration of the creative process. His distinctive method of focusing on an authentic connection allowed Seeff to break down barriers between himself and his subject. Throughout his career, Seeff developed creative alliances with an incredible range of musicians, revealing the intimacy and vulnerability of the artist in the act of creation.
In 1985, Seeff photographed musician Ray Charles and later recalled how “Ray was testy at the start of the session. Ultimately, he loved the process and ended up calling me ‘brother’. It was a seminal session.” The exhibition also features a selection of unpublished photographs, including a portrait of Patti Smith from Seeff’s 1969 acclaimed photoshoot with Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe. This session has arguably become one of Seeff’s most well known, with the photographer describing that “after Robert’s death, Patti told me these shots come closest to her remembrance of the profundity of the love between them.”
Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff aims to give an insight into the photographer’s process as he searches for spontaneous authenticity in his work. Remaining popular to a modern-day audience, Seeff’s images have a timeless quality, perhaps reflective of an uncanny ability to connect emotionally with each of his subjects. His distinctive stylised approach to session photography has certified his enduring legacy in both the music and photography industries. The work on display in Sessions in Sound demonstrates Seeff’s creative ethos; to constantly seek “a place with my subjects that defines pure presence, where we can stand and just look at each other without any filters.”
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