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Ebb-Tide: Mudlarking Finds from River Thames Michael Thomas


    An Exhibition of Colour Photograms By Artist Michael Thomas.
    Ebb-Tide is a new body of work from artist Michael Thomas in collaboration with
    mudlark Monika Buttling-Smith.
    It is an abridged record of ten years of finds from the Thames foreshore by Monika,
    that comprises over 100 individual photographic works.
    Photographic prints are shown with accompanying objects from Monika’s collection
    dating from Roman Britain up to the present day.
    The works show mostly ordinary objects, common in their time, discarded by their
    owners, washed by the tidal Thames.
    The photographs are emotional responses to the objects rather than forensic
    They are photo-grams rather than photo-graphs, using transparency and silhouette
    to transform the familiar.
    Michael’s technique gives an unusual outline and vibrancy to the objects, their
    strange rendering causing the viewer to re-evaluate the objects.
    Each object suggests its own narrative and emotional resonance. Collectively the
    works can be read as a symbolic shorthand. They tell the story of two millennia of
    Thames history, showing the surfaces, shapes and energy brought to bear upon the
    objects by the river; The distortions of time and tide, the patination, delamination,
    oxidisation and transfiguration that the river imparts.
    Like the medium of photography, the objects are tokens of a fixed time and place –
    They allude to a past life and a possible narrative, whilst being before us in the
    present – showing fixity, permanence, and evidence of their journey in time.

    Runs: 19-22 June 2024
    Private View: Thursday 20 June 6pm – 8:30pm
    Open: 11am – 6pm (Closed Sunday and Monday)
    Gallery: Four Corners Gallery, Bethnal Green, London E2.

    Monika Buttling-Smith is a London Mudlark, scouring the banks of the River
    Thames for historic artefacts. She is a member of the Society of Thames Mudlarks
    and is a leading figure in the Mudlark community, managing an online forum with
    over 120 thousand members. Her finds have been featured in numerous illustrated
    books and academic papers, and her mudlarking experiences have been
    documented on podcast, television and film.
    Monika regularly exhibits her collection of historic finds, with accompanying
    lectures. A founding member of Hands on History, she recently co-curated a series
    of exhibitions at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, the
    Guildhall, the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of London Docklands.

    Michael Thomas was born in Birmingham, England. He is the first of his family to go
    to university. Michael attended Bournville School of Art followed by the London
    College of Printing and The London College of Communication.
    After early success as a fashion photographer in the 1990s he returned to education
    completing his MA in 2010.
    Michael’s work has appeared in books and magazines in the UK, USA, Japan and
    Europe for over two decades. He lives and works in London, England.
    Instagram: @michaelthomasstudio