“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.
“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
Installation shot of my show with Björk Haraldsdóttir at Portmanteau Gallery, Bridport
The exhibition at the Portmanteau Gallery in Bridport opens today and i am delighted to say it looks beautiful. Björk’s work and mine work together really well and I am really inspired by how, together, we have created a cool, calm and classy atmosphere.
The Portmanteau Gallery will be open between 10am and 4pm only on the following dates: 20, 21, 24 to 29 August 2016. I won’t be at the gallery every day so if you want to catch up with me your best bet will be to visit on Wednesday 24 or Friday 26 through Sunday 28 or call me to arrange a time, or come to the Private View tonight between 5.30 and 7pm
Another installation shot of my show with Björk Haraldsdóttir at Portmanteau Gallery, Bridport
The Portmanteau Gallery is at 10 North Street, Bridport DT6 3JQ on the corner with Rax Lane where there is limited on-road parking as well as the car park. Look out for the yellow ART signs marked “21”, our Bridport Open Studios venue number.
Some people reading this may be surprised to learn I am taking part in Bridport Open Studios. I have had conversations with many people about my decision not to participate in open studio events again! Then Björk Haraldsdóttir invited me to share the Portmanteau Gallery with her for BOS – an offer I could not refuse. Björk’s work is stunning and we share a similar aesthetic so I’m delighted to be exhibiting with her in what some people have already kindly predicted will be one of the highlights of Bridport Open Studios 2016
Björk creates wonderfully tactile, seductively patterned, stoneware forms that are haunted by her Icelandic heritage and architectural training. If you have not seen her work before I can thoroughly recommend you come and experience it. I believe our work complements each other’s superbly and would look great together in any home. I will be showing a selection of recent field drawings and erasures with a nod to my black squares work. I hope you will find it an exciting mix.
To celebrate me going back on my word I hope you will join Björk and me at the gallery on SATURDAY 20th AUGUST 2016 from 17.30-19.00 for a drink and private view. If you have spent the day at West Bay or touring BOS coming to see our work would make a fine end to the day and it’s still early enough set you up for an evening in Bridport.
The Portmanteau Gallery will be open between 10am and 4pm only on the following dates: 20, 21, 24 to 29 August 2016. I won’t be at the gallery every day so if you want to catch up with me and can’t make it to the PV your best bet will be to visit on Wednesday 24 or Friday 26 through Sunday 28 or call me to arrange a time.
For those who don’t know it, the Portmanteau Gallery is at 10 North Street, Bridport DT6 3JQ on the corner with Rax Lane where there is limited on-road parking as well as the car park. Look out for the yellow ART signs marked “21”, our Bridport Open Studios venue number.
Tissue paper lain over the almost completed double erasure drawing (detail)
I am increasingly interested in the idea of veiling work so the viewer has to work harder to see what they are looking at and have used semi-opaque papers in collages to mute and soften images below. I am considering using etched and frosted glass in front of some pieces, in particular some black square ideas that are 3D or relief pieces. The image above was totally by chance when I covered the erasure drawing I was doing with tissue to protect it till I returned to make any final adjustments. I am certainly tempted to experiment with more veiling, maybe with silk voile or cotton muslin. Perhaps I should go the whole hog and use black perspex or something totally opaque like black-sprayed metal to cover work?
Last year the show I had in Ramsgate was called “The Seen and the Unseen”. That refered partly to #Letter365 being sold unseen but also to the fact that my work is designed to make the eye unsure of what it is actually seeing (amongst other invisible aspects). During the #Letter365 process I had a number of conversations with people who liked the idea of never opening the letters and Schrödinger’s Cat was mentioned on a number of the envelopes and in many conversations.
So much of my work has been inspired by the sea’s marks on the shore and the transient and uncontrollable nature of our existence. It could be said that much of my work is an attempt to freeze a record of those unseen forces at play in the littoral landscape and my mind and emotions. Perhaps my work should move towards even more conceptual and ephemeral work?
For now, I have this piece to finish off. I have not seen it for a few days and other issues may arise when I do, but the biggest question I had when I left it was “how much do I clean up the edges and how big a border”? Of course it still needs a signature, which will, of course, be erased!
How much cleaning up at the edges of this erased drawing should I do?
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:
After Each Time Collage, tape & watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm
I have been struggling to take half-decent photographs of my work. With works on paper – especially where a lot of white is showing – it is important to get the light falling evenly across the surface and the white balance right. So now I have invested in some lighting that has gone a long way to making the situation better, I just need to improve my camera skills and make sense of Photoshop to get me nearer to perfection. This piece is one I did couple of days ago and the colours are pretty true but it is still not quite there!
I really got caught by the colour of the Khadi paper and the photo of rotting plywood and it has been hanging on the studio wall for a while to see what it causes in me over time. It might need to go back up for a while longer – I’m just to busy with Dorset Art Weeks to give it time right now. It was today’s #arteachday post on Twitter.
The Blessed and the Meek Ink drawing on handmade watercolour paper 559mm x 381mm
I promised to put up some #arteachday pieces today that were different to the #Letter365 work I did today. The one above I have been playing around with for ages: I just needed the time and space to let it settle into what it needed to be. I realised that I couldn’t let it fall into any casual or habitual solutions and that although it fits in to my “field” drawings and also has echoes in my Tidelines work it actually has some deep roots into some personal atavistic issues and, I am realising, my old interest in alchemy and alchemical drawings. Anyway, I am now very happy with it after its long gestation. I just need to get some better photographs of it!
Nulla in mundo pax sincera Photographic elements on Kadhi paper 300mm x213mm
The second #arteachday piece is a collage made out of my photographs and an altered image from the newspapers of Russian warplanes amaased near to the border with Ukraine. There is a slight whiff of mushroom clouds and shockwaves.