Adventures in Photomontage from 9 November to 21 December 2019
David Ferry collects old-fashioned pictorial guidebooks that attempt to portray the uncomplicated rural life of Britain that was depicted by Constable. The British adore the simple pleasures of landscape, the desire for a beautiful unspoilt scene and the pastoral visions of the painter John Constable are the ideal. Like the Surrealists, Ferry employs the use of montage to disrupt the tranquillity of this representation. In the ‘Great British Historic Cake’ and ‘Cakewalking’ series, historic country mansions and mountains are covered with the sweet sugary icing of the confectioner. In our dreams desires are expressed, huge banquets fulfil gluttony and appetites are sated. This fantasy is made reality in the form of a wedding cake, a small mountain made of sugar with the figures of bride and groom on the summit. The invitation is to join their celebration of delights to be tasted.
The function of the picture guidebooks is to attract visitors to the delightful places. Many of these books were produced by oil companies, who were eager for their customers to buy petrol. The cars would drive through the desired idyll belching out odorous fumes. The automobiles in Ferry’s ‘Veteran and Vintage Cars’ series are covered in flowers, unsightly objects hidden from view. Perhaps the stink of burned oil is also masked by the perfume of floral bloom. Neither the art of Constable or Turner revealed the taste or odour of the British, like the Surreal unconscious these sensations were out of sight. Ferry’s vivid montages hint at this extra dimension suggesting an edible and fragrant encounter. Stephen Clarke 2019