I am opening up my studio as part of Dorset Art Weeks. Everything is set up and looking good ready for the public opening at 11am on Saturday 28th May. I am delighted to be showing a good number of brand new pieces: work that I have produced this year! I am also showing some of the “Black Squares” work I exhibited at Black Swan Arts, Frome, last November which hasn’t been seen in Bridport before.
A mix of Black Squares and new erased field drawings ready for DAW 2016
The new work picks up where I left off last year before committing to the Black Squares theme for the Frome show, but clearly it has been developed with the experience of that focused process at play. There are new field drawings in colourful Inktense pencil, double and triple erasures and redactions, expressive ink drawings, new asemic text works and some sparse new pieces inspired by the coast which I have been wanting to do for almost a year!
There’s work to suit a range of space: from small to large
Because there is so much new work – mostly imperial size or larger – I have had to hang more like an art fair than a gallery, which is fine if you remember this is just an open studios event!
I am not open every day during Dorset Art Weeks so check the opening times before you come. I will be open between 11am and 6pm only on the following dates: 28, 29, 30 May, 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 June 2016. Other times strictly by appointment only.
I have been doing more erased drawings and feel there is plenty more that I want to explore in the area of partial deletion, redaction, becoming unseen. So I expect there will be a lot of eraser dust to deal with in the coming weeks. Featured below are a few pieces I have finished recently and am happy with. The first I have called “Double Erasure: Winter Field”. It continues the tidal theme of “Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart” but connects back to some of my earliest field drawings.
“Double Erasure: Winter Field” Multiply erased graphite on Canaletto paper 495mm x 695mm
The second is a reprise of a piece I did for the secret sale to support Bridport Arts Centre but in larger format. That earlier one was called “We two erased black squares together clinging” so this one is “We two erased black squares together clinging too”
“We two erased black squares together clinging too” Erased pencil on Canaletto paper 302mm x 216mm
I have also been exploring the use of colour with erased drawings, using ink, watercolour and or Inktense pencils over the erased graphite, as can be seen in this detail from “Ashes and embers”
“Ashes and embers” Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper
The whole thing looks like this:
“Ashes and embers” Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper 381mm x 559mm
And another similar exploration:
“Otherwise unseen” Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper 381mm x 559mm
“The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)” Watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I am pleased to say that “The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)” has been selected for the RWA 163rd Annual Open Exhibition in Bristol. It is difficult deciding which open competitions are of value, but the RWA attracts a large number of entries, has a professional process and good quality judges so I feel proud to have been chosen for inclusion and will be showing with some other excellent artists. The Varnishing Day Lunch and Private View are this Saturday, The show is open to the public from 4 October to the 29 November 2015
“An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” Acrylic on canvas 400mm x 400mm
I am delighted to report that I sold 15 pieces during Bridport Open Studios and generated a lot of good feedback and met some wonderful people. My new works on canvas were particularly well received and i sold “An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” pictured above. I also sold “The Bit They Know About You” (pictured below) which is one of my favourite pieces, so I am particularly pleased that someone has seen its merits. I hope it gives the buyers much pleasure for many years.
“The Bit They Know About You” Acrylic and Indian ink on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I suppose I am now going to have to change my Twitter header as the artwork I was using, “Mystery Evolves” (below) has also gone to a new home. I am fortunate too that quite a few smaller studies and collages sold, as well as the larger pieces mentioned in previous posts.
“Mystery Evolves” Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
Outfall 2 Ink & watercolour on paper 559mm × 762mm
I have been pleased with the quality of visitors to my Open Studios this weekend. Most people have displayed a keen interest in my work and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and talking about art. I’m also pleased that I have sold something each day – including today when I was technically not open! A visitor over the weekend called this morning to say they had decided to by “Outfall 2”, the piece pictured above. It’s quite a special piece for me and I am delighhted it has found an appreciative home.
I have also sold some of the small studies I framed up and another larger piece, “You Were Born And So You’re Free”
You Were Born And So You’re Free Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
I Forgot Who Said That Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I finally managed to finish this drawing a few days ago. It is the first of many that I hoped to do while working within my #Letter365 installation at Bridport Arts Centre. I am only managing to get there for a couple of hours a day and mostly I get involved with talking with visitors for some part of the time. I have started another piece but will finish that at the studio because the table I am working on is not wide enough to accommodate imperial size paper longways and there is a lip round the table edge that means the paper doesn’t lie flat. But I have another two weeks so may gat more done and I have gathered lots of ideas.
This piece, I Forgot Who Said That, is one of my field drawings but using a more colourful palette than my usual black and white. Although firmly based in the repetitive, compartmentalised grid structure of pieces such as Aleph’s Flux or The Dream’s Malfunction – and I have done some small-scale test pieces in this style – the more rounded marks are influenced by the stains of fresh-sawn logs on the Allsop Gallery floorboards left from the show What Remains – an installation by And Now back in September-October 2014
Composite image of some stains on the Allsop Gallery floor caused by fresh cut logs in a previous installation
I am aiming to do some more work related to these stains and the lines between the boards, but I’ll have to get a move on. Below is a detail of I Forgot Who Said That to compare and see how it may have been influenced more than I may have thought:
Envoy Watercolour and ink on Indian hand-made, recycled-cotton paper 559mm × 762mm
I have had this knocking around the studio for months and have finally resolved it. The paper is quite interesting to work with. It is Jackson’s own-brand “eco-friendly” 100% cotton, handmade paper from India. It is made from recycled cotton, each sheet being individually set into the moulds and then dried in the Indian sun. I like that these papers made in small moulds which means each sheet has 4 deckle edges in 1/4, 1/2 and Imperial sizes, so each sheet is unique and individual. Most sheets have got thumb or finger prints on. It doesn’t cut or tear cleanly because it has threads of cotton in and the surface is really fragile so no scrubbing and rubbing! Show it low-tack masking tape and it falls apart and sticking it on the wall with white tack is likely to tear a hole out of it. The surface absorbancy is completely random, the texture is variable and the colour is different from batch to batch. In many ways it is rubbish paper: so for me it is brilliant! I have to be either 100% certain what I want and hope it works or give myself over totally to its whims
The Prophesy Restated Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559m × 762m
I am pleased to announce that my ink and watercolour drawing The Prophesy Restated has been selected for the RWA Drawn 2015 exhibition. It is the largest of a series I was doing at the end of last year. I am still interested in investigating the theme further now that I am a little freer to work on more complex and larger field drawings. This small success means that I will be exhibiting in Bristol for the first time and will have two shows running at the same time with my solo installation #Letter365 running at Bridport Arts Centre until 11 April.
I know I never finished the piece on my last trip to London and I’ve got loads of my own work to catch up on, but I’ve been to London for the day and have a long train journey so I may as well scribble a few notes about the day while it’s fresh in my mind
Of the two places I visited today there is of course no contest the Marlene Dumas at Tate Modern is streets ahead of the Works On Paper fair. Having spent much less time at WOP I want sure how to make good use of my time. I nearly just stayed at the Science Museum. There’s always interesting stuff on there. I didn’t even know if the Dumas show had started; moreover I was unsure if I wanted to see it. I was not familiar with her work and hasn’t really read the publicity or reviews.
I was almost immediately moved and disturbed by the work. Whatever you might say about her, Dumas knows how to compose a painting to give it power and to convey strong emotions. Ugly, crude, rude, angry, exquisite, composed, uneasy – nearly every painting commands attention. You can see that she can draw and that she sees so much more than just the physical form, so Dumas distorts and simplifies at will to deliver images that assault the emotions. There’s no escape: every blow is a low punch. Sometimes you are confused in what you feel, but there’s no doubt that you feel it!
But she is exploring far more than creating strong shapes to cause reactions. There’s a wealth of cultural, political and artistic explorations and allusions that I cannot begin to write about now.
I’m not really competent to judge her work technically, but I suspect some would criticise her thin paint and scrappy presentation. Yet her choice of medium seems perfect for each piece, for example the louche and sordid use of watercolour when exploring the pornographic and erotic. For me it worked perfectly and the freedom with which she uses her materials holds many lessons for me. That’s not to say I liked her work. I don’t think I’d be able to live with any of it, but I think it is very strong work and highly recommend it. I recommend it to all, men and women. In the limited things I have read there seems to be a sense this is being touted as a women’s exhibition and the vast majority of visitors when I was there were women.
So what about the Works On Paper fair. Frankly it was mostly a pretty scrappy affair. So much of it seemed to be the dog ends of artists with a bit of a name. I was shocked that it was so traditional! When there is so much exciting work being done now on paper there was little to be seen. What little there was didn’t exactly push boundaries, being mostly representational and easy on the eye. The rest was stuff salvaged from artists’ dustbins and junk shops and apart from a couple of half-decent Bawden’s (not all were that good) and a few of the many Terry Frost cards I wouldn’t give house room to most of it. I suspect that is unfair of me. I’m sure there were gems I missed, I passed by because I was finding it a little sad that money gravitates to the familiar. I’m also sad that bad work from artists with a name sells for more than good work by the unknown.
Still Protecting Mixed media on handmade paper 279mm x 381mm
This piece from last year was my #arteachday post on Twitter today and created some possible buying interest! If not sold before it willl be available during Dorset Art Weeks at venue 121. it has been framed in my usual style of matt white hand-painted frame float-mounted over polar white card. The piece itself is on Saunders Waterford paper with collaged black paper, scotch tape, watercolour and ink.