“A Few Lines About Dora And Dale” Ink on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I have been somewhat remiss of late in updating this blog and it is some months since I have done so. This, then, is to address that failing with regard to some recent successes in open entry competitions.
I am especially pleased to be showing “A Few Lines About Dora And Dale” (above) in the Society of Scottish Artists Annual Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. I am told the competition is vigorous and the selection process is rigorous so I feel proud to have had work selected. I am sad that I have not been able to arrange a trip to see the show, especially as it looks a really impressive show from images I have seen and is beautifully curated with plenty of space rather than the too frequent “cram as many as we can get in” approach of many open shows. The work looks interesting too! Many open shows get clogged up because members get automatic selection. That doesn’t seem to be the case at the SSA: work is selected on its merit. As a member of the SSA (yes I know I am not Scottish nor do I live there, but any serious artist can apply to join) I also get to show some small works in the 30×30 selection. The show runs until 17 January 2019.
The other two prestigious open exhibitions I was selected for recently were the RWA Open, Bristol, and the Black Swan Arts Open, Frome, Somerset.
“Double Erasure: Winter Field” Multiply erased graphite on Canaletto paper 495mm x 695mm
I was delighted a couple of years back to have this piece, “Double Erasure: Winter Field”, shortlisted for the Wells Art Contemporary Awards. That was at the historic Bishop’s Palace at Wells in Somerset. I am doubly delighted that it is now selected for the inaugural show, “Connections” at the stunning new Wells Maltings cultural hub in Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk
It’s always great to be included in an exhibition but the reason I am especially pleased to be part of this show is my history with the North Norfolk Coast, particularly Holkham Bay which is just to the East of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Work about that beach and the landscape behind it sparked the idea of my Tidelines project (which I hope one day soon to fulfill) and was instrumental in me reconnecting to my art practice and subsequently committing to it as a full-time, professional engagement.
This piece is from my erasure and redaction work, rooted in the landscape and coastline, which explores how the traces of history and events are never completely obliterated but can still be read and forever influence the present. The marks are made and erased, made and erased, like the similar-yet-unique patterns in the sand are made and erased twice each day. This piece specifically relates to Holkham West Sands, the marshes behind and the Essex marshes where I grew up.
This Is Where The Party Ends Graphite, ink & Magic Tape on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm
I really like the energy of Bath’s FaB Festival and the Bath Open Art Prize that for me is at its heart, so I am hugely pleased to be included in a show which unashamedly includes work that is quirky and unusual. The show is on at 44AD from 25 May to 10 June 2018
“A Few Lines Where Once I Danced” Ink on Snowdon cartridge 59cm x 84cm
I am delighted that “A Few Lines Where Once I Danced” has been selected for the Bath Society of Artists show at the Victoria Art Gallery where it will be exhibited until 12 May 2018. It’s a particularly fine selection this year, well curated and hung, so worth a visit!
“For Musicians Who Like Art” Acrylic on concertina sketchbook A5 format approx 5m long
Last week I also finished this piece I spoke of a few of posts ago, “”For Musicians Who Like Art”. The title is a play on Andrew Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” and whilst it is not meant to be representative of the music it is inspired by it. I have a lot of ideas how I might progress this work – and other work related to music. I am aiming to start trying some of them out on canvas and in collage, today, and I am keen to try out some ideas as monoprints soon.
“For Musicians Who Like Art” Acrylic on concertina sketchbook A5 format approx 5m long
“Complicit l” Plant extract stains on Snowdon Cartridge 59cm x 84cm
I have been working on this series since the turn of the year. They are, perhaps, the most political works I have ever made. I have always tried to lead an ethically decent life: I’ve campaigned on ecological issues, been on marches, try to buy locally, gardened organically and yet I rarely openly touch on these issues in my work. In my collages and Tidelines work I have certainly hinted at my anger and despair at the way we dump things in the oceans and my titles for pictures give the game away, but this is the first time I have started to explore my conflicted feelings about our consumerism and it’s intertwining with a capitalist system which is clearly breaking society and our environment. At last, everyone seems to be talking about the scourge of plastics, a dream gone wrong, and what we can do to cut down on our use of it before it totally chokes life here on the planet. This has encouraged me to deeply look again at what I can do to use less of the things that damage our world and I find that it is almost impossible to be free of complicity.
So I am starting from the standpoint of a favourite quote from Beth Orton and am trying to “…learn the trick to turn|What’s not so pretty|Into something more beautiful”. I will be writing more about the series and the story behind these monoprints, but it needs a clearer mind before I do.
“Complicit l” (detail) Plant extract stains on Snowdon Cartridge 59cm x 84cm
“Art-as-art, Art-as-art, Yeah!” Pencil on Snowdon cartridge 59cm x 84cm
The title of this piece comes from Andrew Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” which I was listening to as I finished it off. The words of Hamilton’s piece are taken from Ad Reinhardt’s “25 Lines of Words on Art Statement” so my title is quoting a quote. I have been really caught by his music and I had already started work on an another piece (still in progress) inspired by though not trying to represent this composition, which I am calling “For Musicians Who Like Art”. Hamilton has a number of works titled, “For…” which echos some of the titles of another composer I admire, Morton Feldman. Notably, Feldman wrote “For Philip Guston” and “For Franz Kline” among other work about art or artists. So my title, “For Musicians Who Like Art”, is an echo of an echo. I will post more about this when i have finished it and have got some decent photographs. Andrew Hamilton kindly sent me the score of the piece and I am thinking about doing more work directly related to his music. (I also have it in mind to do some work responding to Meredith Monk’s work!)
If you want to hear my favourite recording of Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” by Crash Ensemble you can do so on SoundCloud
“X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet “ Erased graphite, Magic Tape and stickers on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm
After a period when I could not work on large drawings because of a bad back, I am now back on form and have been working on a strand of the erasure work I began during my 50 Collages Before Christmas project.
“X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet” – detail Erased graphite, Magic Tape and stickers on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm
“Making Up For Lost Time” Collage: paper and photographic elements on card
I have been merrily working away at this project in a measured kind of way. It has been interesting to work with collage in a much bigger way than I have ever done before with some at A1 and one almost A0, though most are around the 50cm x 50cm mark. I have found that some have taken much more time than I ever could have imagined – just physically gluing and trimming takes proportionately longer to ensure everything is just right.
The reason I chose to do the project was to give me a focus. Having been out of the studio for a while I was stacked up with ideas and didn’t want to be flip-flopping about. Well that didn’t work: the project is spawning more ideas than ever and it’s difficult to focus on any of it.
However, I am happy with the direction things are going and I have quite a few pieces on the go and working well (plus a few that don’t want to go the way I hoped!) I have been blogging about the process on a-n so you can read more about it there. Below are some of the collages to date. I’ll create a page with all of them when the project is complete.
“Keep an eye on Otto”
Paper, card, photograph and photographic elements 30.5cm x 41cm
“There’s Possibly No Way To Say This”
Collage of photographic elements on board 30.5cm x 41cm
“They Had No Right”
Collage and photograph on gessoed board 30.5cm x 40.7cm
“Abstract Drawings for Dummies III: The Ordering Machine”
Collage, pencil, ink, Inktense and photographic elements on Snowdon cartridge 59cm x 84cm
I’ll Find You In A Minute Or Two
Collage of photographic elements, paper and ink on textured gessoed board 50cm x 50cm
Inktense pencils on recycled Indian ledger paper with Polycolor pencil on gessoed board 30.5cm x 40.7cm
“Sometimes There’s Very Little Point”
Watercolour & handmade paper on textured gessoed card 50x50cm
Photographic elements, charcoal, graphite and acrylic on textured gessoed card 50cm x 50cm
“Nobody Knew The Cure”
Collage – paper, graphite, charcoal, and photographic elements on gessoed board 30.5cm x 40.7cm
“Two Blacks Don’t Make A White”
Collage: photograph and acrylic on paper on gessoed board 30cm x 30cm
“Gone The Days Of Rainbows”
Collage: acrylic on paper and photograph on gessoed board 30cm x 30cm