Category Archives: Exhibition Visits

Parallel Lines: Drawing and Sculpture, August 2019, The Lightbox, Woking.

This particular Exhibition explored the relationship between drawing and sculpture and how the two art forms work together.   It was curated by Caroline Worthington, Director of the Royal Society of Sculptors  and brought together ten modern British sculptures from The Ingram Collection, http://ingramcollection.com/about/   alongside nearly eighty drawings by members of the Society. Caroline Wright selected the sculptures and then asked members of the Royal Society of Sculptors (by their weekly e-newsletter) to submit work they had made in response. In an interview, Caroline Worthington explained that nearly all the sculptors she knew draw either for pleasure or to problem-solve in relation to their sculptural practice but these drawings are rarely shown.

There was also a twin exhibition Parallel Lines: Sculpture and Drawing     at Dora House in South Kensington, where Caroline Wright chose drawings by sculptors in The Ingram Collection and paired them with work drawings by contemporary sculptors. I’m sorry I missed that one because it would have been good to compare the two exhibitions in dialogue with each other as well as the dialogues within each exhibition.

I spent much longer at the Lightbox than I had anticipated because I was entranced to see how each artist had responded to one or more of the ten sculptures. I’m only going to write about responses to two of the sculptures in this post though, because these were the ones that particularly drew me towards them.

John Behan Ghost Boat (2003)

John Behan (b. 1938) is an Irish sculptor and painter from Dublin

My art is related to ancient culture as well as to modern technique. I feel that every artist, be they poet or writer or sculptor or painter, must have roots, roots that will tap into the ground. It’s not to say that you don’t live in the modern world – I use all the technology that I possibly can to express myself, I am very aware of what’s going on in terms of technical innovation – but in terms of Irish art, we have had a gap between the Middle Ages and the 20th Century when no visual art was produced. So I had to go back: the future was in the past, if you like.

 Some of his sculptures relate to the Irish famine of 1846 to 1849 while referencing the universality of life, death and their stages. There are also bulls and playful goats. He looks at dancing, music, how it travels with people as they journey.

(Web image search screengrab)

I don’t remember seeing Behan’s work before and I was really struck by the Ghost Boat. It looks fragile and yet ageless; reminding me of all those people who have travelled the seas exploring, searching for a safe home, new adventures or fleeing persecution.

 

(Ghost Boat, 2003)

 

Responses:

Clare Burnett 

 

On her website Clare Burnett describes how the greyish colour of the ghost ship made her feel like working in reds and pinks.  Her mixed-media installation creates both a dialogue between the shapes within and also with Behan’s sculpture. I can understand her use of red in her responses  Red can represent power, courage, blood, violence. It’s a colour full of energy, whereas grey is often associated with loss or depression and, of course a phantom or ghost.

 

Alexandra Harley  above (left top and bottom)

Behan’s Ghost I (2019) Rust on paper

Behan’s Ghost II (2019) Tippex and Graphite on paper

I was interested that Harley drew the same shape for both drawings, but also used the redness of rust as a contast with the graphite – almost like a positive and negative.

Pablo de Laborde Lascalis 

Sphalerite (2019) Collage on cardboard (upper right)

The collage is shown on his website but I couldn’t find any explanation of it. I can understand the pale green oars, perhaps reminiscent of seawood or algae stemming from the density of what looks to be chunks of ore arranged in a boat shpae.  Sphalerite is a zinc ore and its name pertains to the Greek word that means treacherous, which is strange because it’s used in crystal healing for grounding, energizing and harmonizing the male and female aspects of the personality.    The collage, to me, has the look of something organic that’s going to get up and walk somewhere on its six legs and I’m beginning to wonder if the ‘oar’ legs can support the heavy ‘boat’. The more I look, though, the more it starts to remind me of a jellyfish with tentacles – the venomous box jellyfish.

On another website  lascalis explains, ‘I look at primordial artifacts, games and toys, altering their mechanization and form to question their practicality or shift their purpose.  In doing so I have grown increasingly concerned with themes of impermanence and uncertainty in everyday life, which I address through performance.

Janne Malmros  

Shifts and Contrivances XV (2019) pencil on paper  (lower right)

Janne Malmros appears to have created several works under a collective title of Shifts and Contrivances . The title was taken from the book ‘The Art of Travel Shifts and Contrivances in Wild Countries’ by the English polymath Francis Galton FRS (1822-1911).  The book gives good advice on how to survive in the wild and it includes a diagram showing how to construct a simple boat – which shape is used in Malmros’s series.  I found that really interesting because it’s a simple shape (I’ve made paper boats too in the past) and yet so much can be done with it as can be seen from the page on her website. She has strong interests in botany, entomology, geometry, history, folklore and pattern and employs a range of media, techniques and materials in her work.

Her pencil drawing in response to Behan creates almost a 3D boat with layers of its grey shadow and then the ‘unfolded’ boat as a base.

Nicola Anthony

Nicola Anthony,    ‘… sees the world as a series of interconnected subject matters, fragile moments and stuff from which new things can be made’.  She uses glass, paper and found objects in her drawings and sculptures. Her response to Ghost Boat was a work entitled Saving our Souls (2019) – “about helping those in trouble, the journeys we make to get to a ‘New World’, and the dichotomy of becoming either caught or saved. Anthony used layers of incense burned paper to create a three-dimensional drawing, reminiscent of a fishing net, that which can catch or let through back into the sea– see the video which looks behind the scenes at its creation here 

Anthony also responded to the work of another sculptor, Michael Ayrton – see below

 

Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

                                                          Maze Music (1972)

 

Michael Ayrton   was an English artist and writer, renowned as a painter, printmaker, sculptor and designed and also as a critic, broadcaster and novelist.  His artistic output reveals an obsession with flight, myths, mirrors and mazes. The concept of the Maze, its maker and occupants preoccupied him for over ten years. Daedalus (mythic creator of the labyrinth on Crete in which the Minotaur was kept) was the starting point for the series called Maze Makers and Maze Figures and Maze Music evolved from an earlier sculpture, ‘Maze Player’ (1965) in which the maze is transformed into a musical instrument.

Nicola Anthony

 

                                                             Maze Fragment (2019)

 

An incense burned drawing on paper.  The use of the embroidery hoop as a frame is very effective, holding the flowing ‘fragment’ tightly; it pulled me in to see if I could see a pathway through the maze.

 

Thoughts

I was entranced by the Exhibition and the ‘dance’ between the sculptures and the drawings, firstly because I am still committed to learning to draw and then because I am interested in collaborative working alongside call and response. I’m hoping that, if I proceed on to Level 3, I’ll be able to incorporate some mixed-media work somehow; until then I’ll keep on practising.

 

 

References

http://ingramcollection.com/collection/the-ingram-collection/

http://www.alexandraharley.co.uk

http://www.arte-sur.org/artists/pablo-de-laborde-lascaris/

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/michael-ayrton-681

http://www.thekennygallery.ie/artists/behanjohn/

http://nicolaanthony.co.uk

https://nicolaanthony.co.uk/blog/art/save-our-souls-by-nicola-anthony/y

https://nicolaanthony.co.uk/the-human-archive/

https://sculptors.org.uk

 

“Moving the Image: Photography and its Actions” – April to June 2019

“Moving the Image: Photography and its Actions” – April to June 2019
Camberwell Space, Camberwell College of the Arts

 

I visited this Exhibition on 8thMay with fellow student, Sarah-Jane Field, and OCA graduate, John Umney, Camberwell Space is the public gallery of the College which was built in 1898 and formerly known as Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. Interesting that “Crafts” was dropped – perhaps that ‘Crafts’ are Arts too. It has a solid, imposing Victorian grandeur to it perhaps reflecting the membership of the Art movement in Camberwell that gave life to it.

Exhibitions at the Space are developed in response to the college curriculum, to provide an insight into, ”new ideas histories and future debates emerging in art, design and craft practices” and are accompanied by a publication and programme of events. The Curator of the Exhibition was Duncan Wooldridge, Camberwell BA Fine Art Photography Course Leader

and the curatorial statement was complex and multi-faceted.  For me it was best summed-up by its proposal of, (…..a photography beyond the romantic language of the photographer’s eye, or the doubtful neutrality of the document. In its place, photography emerges a complex contradictory and challenging object, acting with us and upon us”  see here for full statement and list of artists . The works exhibited were by contemporary artists experimenting with, “..the photograph’s forms and manifestations”.

The ground floor Exhibition space seemed large and airy as I walked in but it also struck me as being quite sparse and minimal in its layout, as if not much was on show and, to be truthful, this was the major reinforcement of learning for me on how much an Exhibition layout has an effect on the viewer.  I quickly realised that the effect was due to the fact that there were no captions or descriptions alongside the works, nothing to distract me from just ‘gazing’ and spending time attempting to work out the meaning of what I was seeing.  There was actually a printed brochure and printed Exhibition layout schemes available, but they were placed away from the entrance.  Even then I spent quite a while turning the layout page around and around to work out where I was in the room according to the layout!

Highlights for me were:-

Kensuke Koike’s ‘travel sculptures’

An interesting way to present the old photographs he finds at flea markets bringing them to life, cutting, rearranging and turning the pieces into optical illusions, notwithstanding the fact that they could be new photographs.  It’s just occurred to me that maybe he could have placed what was absent somewhere else and invited the viewer to guess their frame. There’s much more of his playful work here and  here   

Clare Strand – “Research in Motion (2014)

One of the series of three wooden and glass cabinets that contain a rotating spike of research material from her archive – a clever moving pun that reminded me of a rolodex drum

Research in Motion (A) from clare strand on Vimeo.

This is not the first time that Strand has utilised her research material as a physical pun. Her sculpture “The Happenstance Generator” (2015) was a large, Perspex dome on a metal plinth enclosing a selection of her research material over 30 years which was blown about by hidden fans – creating random ‘collections’.  Hidden fans blew the images around, creating random ‘collections’ that mirrored the way in which visual encounters ebb, flow, assume significance and disappear.

I find Strand’s work so engaging and varied, using found images and machines etc to create her own take on conceptualism in a way which amuses yet makes its point.

Dafna Talmour, “Constructed Landscapes”

Collaging medium format negatives in a way that creates a new landscape formed from the real and the imaginary and alluding to idealised and utopian spaces.  “With these new landscapes I’m also playing with the standard format of the photographic negative, stretching it, making it more elongated and vertical or panoramic, because I have the freedom of building it in whatever way I want”.

Anonymous silk print

There was a student exhibition in another room where this caught my attention straight away

 

I think it’s beautiful with its rich, flowing colours and what a shame there’s no name attached.  Seeing this really encouraged me to experiment with a silk print of one of my Silent Pool images for Assignment 3.

Brighton Photo Biennial Tour 27th October 2018

The eighth Brighton Photo Biennial drew on the UK’s current immersion in the geopolitics of the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have dominated the mass media and thus people’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings since the Referendum in June 2016.

Much of the photography in Brighton in Brighton Photo Biennial 2018 responds to this current uncertainy.  Visitors are invited to examine Britain’s geography as an island: simultaneously divided and connected. They can also reflect on the ongoing refugee crisis and photography’s role in the construction of national identity.       (Photoworks 2018)

We had a very busy itinerary for Day Two with a guided tour around the curated shows. Our group met tutors Jayne Taylor and Gina Lundy at the University Gallery in Edward Street, and were then introduced to Julia and Lisa from Photoworks who would be with us as guides for the rest of the day.  This was an excellent idea as it gave Jayne and Gina the time to interact with us as a group and discuss the various Exhibitions we visited across Brighton.

As previously, I’m focussing this blog post on Exhibitions which particularly struck me.

Émeric Lhuisset

L’Autre Rive

Émeric Lhuisset grew up in suburban Paris. He graduated in both Arts and Geopolitics and considers his work as “an artistic transcription of geopolitical analyses”.This project L’Autre Rive is a tribute to my friend, Foad, who disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe. The work is comprised a collection of cyanotype prints which are progressively disappearing as they are exposed to sunlight”.

In the video below he explains how shocked he has been by the way in which refugees are represented by populists such as the extreme right and he feels it is his responsibility to fight against this. Many of his friends are on the refugee route – some arriving in Europe, others vanishing.  He follows their journeys through selfies and messages but his friend, Foad, never arrived and this project is a tribute to him.

Lhuisset decided to meet his refuge friends in Europe and photography their everyday life – the banal pictures which “….can be your life; the life of anybody”. The pictures were then printed through the cyanotype process, an old method which creates images in blue monochrome.  For him this monochrome is a metaphor for the colours of Europe and the sea where some people disappear.  Usually cyanotypes are ‘fixed’ through a rinsing process but he left his cyanotypes ‘unfixed’ which means they are progressively disappearing as they are exposed to day/sunlight – just as many on the refugee routes disappear.

As Lhuisset talks in the video above (presumably filmed early in the Exhibition) you can see the cyanotype prints behind him  Usually, if cyanotypes are left ‘unfixed’ they gradually fade in the light – yet, by the time we saw them his cyanotype had darkened over the time they were exhibited in the gallery. (You can see some of them in the photograph I took when we were listening to the talk by Lisa, Photoworks). Some of us spent quite some time discussing how this could be and wondering whether he had introduced some other process. I carried out some experiments myself when I returned home and will write about these in a later post .

I think his concept certainly complements his theme but felt concerned that the importance and tragedy of the situation he portrays can be dissipated somehow by too much wondering on how the technique works – style taking on too much importance over content.  However, I was struck by the thought of ‘Time’ – how it changes everything and nothing stays the same despite our desires to hold it fast, to fix it in a photograph, to stay in an unsafe place because it is “Home’.

Tereza Cervenova

June  

“…exploring how meanings of home and plans for the future are now shaken and in limbo”

Tereza Cervenova was born in Bratislava, Slovakia and moved to London. She  travelled around Europe to create this series which is an autobiographical response in 2011 to the June 2016 Brexit referendum.  She discusses the series here 

At first she had thought the series seemed disjointed but then she realised the connections with dates of various events and how they could affect people in her situation. The work was presented as unframed images on walls; loose booklets by different dates, on a plinth and available to be looked through; bound by rings and also in a glass-topped display case, alongside their enfolding slipcase, made from a deep-blue velvety textured cloth.

Her aim was to use the work as a voice, to give it a physicality, and to use the structure of the theme as a ground for a conversation. What,  I took from this series was this sense of people living their lives in infinite variety whilst events unfolded elsewhere which could have an enormous impact on their lives.

From the University Gallery we moved on to view several other Exhibitions around Brighton. – stopping off for a photoshoot on the beach along the way – and finally ended up at 23, Dukes Lane to see an Exhibition installation of the work of Hrair Sarkissian.

Hrair Sarkissian

As a young teenager in school, this Syrian photographer witnessed a public execution in Damascus – a common sight before the Civil War broke out. The memory of what he saw drove him as an adult to photograph squares where execution had taken place. He now lives in London.

In 2014 Hrair Sarkissian began to create his first two-channel video Homesick  .  He recreated and destroyed an architecturally accurate scale model of the apartment building in Damascus where his parents still lived, having refused to leave Syria. He asked his father to photograph the façade of the actual building and then worked with an architect to build the model over a period of a month. This building represents more than just a house – it acts as a representative for sense of belonging, container for memories and a place for the collective memory of his family.  In destroying its model he attempted to regain some control over what was happening, the destruction and fear for the future; asking the question “Can we fast-forward the present and acknowledge loss and begin reshaping a collapsed history before the event?”.

The first project of the video shows the demolition of the model, without sound, in various stages of damage leading up to a pile of rubble. The second projection, with sound, shows Sarkissian taking a sledgehammer to the model which sits off-screen.  You can see the emotion on his face as he wields the sledgehammer; the sweat pouring off him and his increasing exhaustion.

 

Watching the video installation had a powerful effect on me as I identified with the grief he expressed over the destruction overshadowing his homeland and circling around his parents. Will this conflict ever end so that people can re-build their lives?  An article here begins with a quote from Edward Saïd, Reflections on Exile(2002)which I think is so relevant:-

Exile is predicated on the existence of, love for, and bond with, one’s native place; what is true of all exile is not that home and love of home are lost, but that loss is inherent in the very existence of both.

Gathering up some of the threads

I was particularly struck by the way in which these artists acted as a ‘voice’ for themselves and others who have been affected by this “Brexit” fiasco which seems to be unending.  I’m imagining that even though it may not happen they may never feel the same about this Country that they might have seen as a safe haven. The cracks occurring on our democratic veneer have revealed what can lie underneath (as it has in some other EU member States).  On the one hand there’s the sense of people carrying on with their everyday lives whilst, on the other hand, there are others who are having to come to terms with the loss of a safe homeland and culture that is unable to sustain them.

 

 

References

http://hrairsarkissian.com

http://hrairsarkissian.com/work/homesick/

http://terezacervenova.com

https://photoworks.org.uk/watch-brighton-photo-biennial-artist-emeric-lhuisset

https://photoworks.org.uk/watch-brighton-photo-biennial-artist-tereza-cervenova/

https://universes.art/en/nafas/articles/2015/hrair-sarkissian/

https://www.emericlhuisset.com

 

 

 

 

“Over Hills and Seas”: Tim Andrews – 26th October 2018

Tim Andrews, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005, at the age of 54.  He was working as a solicitor at the time.

“Having PD mean that I was able to retire and being able to retire meant that I could do all the things I wanted to do but never had the time i.e. watch cricket, go to the cinema and go out and have a coffee and do the crossword. As it happened, these things were not enough as they were all solitary experiences and I missed the daily, hourly contact with other human beings. So, when my photographic project came along, off I went into to the stratosphere.” (online blogpost 25thFebruary 2016)  

His self-instigated project  began in 2007 after he responded to an advertisement in “Time Out” magazine looking for 100 people to pose naked for a new book by photographer Graeme Montgomery .  Within the next two weeks there were further requests listed from two other photographers so he responded to those as well. In 2008, he discovered that Graeme Montgomery was advertising on Gumtree and whilst searching for photography he found a lot of people, mainly students, looking for people to photograph. Thus, his project really began.  In total, from 2007 to 2016, Tim was photographed by 425 photographers and he brought his project Over the Hill to an end in 2016 wanting it “…to be complete, to put it into a box, tie it with ribbon and place it on a shelf so that, every so often I could take it down and look inside and marvel at all the great times I had with these wonderful photographers”.

Tim took the box down this year however having decided to present another exhibition of 32 photographic works from both the project and subsequently, with the theme of Landscape (including Seascape) – the purpose being to examine how these photographers changed their approach to photograph Tim.  Here’s a view of it – be aware it’s marked “Mature” :-

 

 

Tutor Jayne Taylor had organised for us to meet with Tim Andrews, after the Exhibition at the Regency Town House closed for the day, for a guided introduction.  I experienced him as a very engaging speaker, full of anecdotes about his experiences with the various photographers and obviously immersed in his project and enjoying being in front of the camera and having attention.  I’ve always enjoyed watching Gareth Malone, the English choirmaster and broadcaster giving a singing voice to people who never thought they had one but gave it a try anyway. Gareth Malone describes himself as an “animateur” and I think that term perfectly describes Tim Andrews in the way he contacted his potential photographers; directing proceedings (often collaboratively); posed in all weathers; starred in the theatre of his performance and collected and curated this Exhibition which is all about himself. His enthusiasm and energy would be impressive in even a fit, young man.

The theme of nudity does crop up quite often so I was surprised to read In an interview with Vice.com magazine (pub. 4thAugust 2016)  that the percentage of nude photographs of Tim is less than 20 percent. Maybe he chose a higher proportion for this Exhibition; I was more aware of them just because he was nude or because he spent quite a while standing talking to us in front of a photograph of himself nude, painted blue all-over and wearing a turban  – the photographer being Karen Knorr.

What did I gain from the talk and the Exhibition?

I was reminded of Isabelle Mège (who I read about in a blog post by my student colleague Sarah-Jane Field  a medical secretary in Paris who, over two decades, persuaded many renowned photographers (mostly male) to take a photograph of her with an initial request of,  “I would like to see myself from your point of view”.  Mège amassed a large collection of photographs, in a large variety of styles, not all of which could be called portraits, but they all depicted her body. In 2016 Anna Heyward of The New Yorker interviewed one of the photographers, Fouad Elkoury who had photographed Mège in 2002. He told Anna Heyward that he had agreed to Mège’s request because, “I could tell this project came from an obsessive mind, this strange project of being photographed by photographers she liked—not those she thought were famous, but those she liked.” He was taken aback when they met. “She was veryordinary, a very normal-seeming person. I had thought, based on her letter, that she might be unusual.”

The philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy wrote in an email to Anne Heyward that the key to understanding Mege’s work was that it was an act that made her an artist of some sort; one whose medium is other artists He invented new words to describe this “It’s a selfothermade ….. not an auto-portrait…. But it’s not an alloportrait either”.  Somehow this takes it beyond notions of the male/female gaze into another realm – a work created through some kind of projective identification between subject (initiator) and artist. There is a video about her on YouTube but I won’t give the link here as it contains a fair amount of nude photography.

Returning to Tim Andrews and his Exhibition – I was very impressed to see so many different versions of Tim by so many photographers, although I would need to do much more research on them all to gain a sense of how much was their own way of working anyway and how much they were responding to Tim ‘in the moment’.  My favourite photograph overall was the one of Tim wearing his grandmother’s dress (also exhibited) from 1904 – shot by photographer Clare Park. There was something very poignant about it for me with his wistful, painted face as he holds the golden dress against him.

The series that attracted me was

A section of a larger piece by Tina Rowe Sixty Minutes (2015)

Tim wrote of being ‘hooked’ by Tina’s work after seeing it in a Photomonth brochure in 2014 and so he wrote her a message asking her to photograph him, “What she didn’t know was that it wasn’t purely portraiture I was after. I wanted to be in a photograph taken by her. I liked the way her mind worked.  In particular, I liked her series ‘My Mother’s House” as I very much identified with this having made a documentary about my own mother’s house a few years ago.”

Tina writes about the session here .  She had intended to use a wide angle pinhole camera with camera flashes for a particular effect before she met him, “…but when he walked into my studio I realised that he isn’t the sort of person who should be summed up in a single shot …..I had looked at the work of other photographers in his project and there was a wealth of different interpretations of him as a human and as a canvas.  They didn’t really help because they are all so different. Just talking to him made me drop the one idea and pursue the other”.

So, there we have the two different types of personal alchemy resulting in the series created through joint authorship. The photographs were taken with a hasselblad camera and using a pack of fuji instant film.  The emulsion was then lifted from the instant film and placed on oak blocks. Reflecting on the whole process, Tim wrote in second blog post at that time “I love the fact that these are so delicate and are not digitised”.    I agree with him very much.  There’s something about those small vignettes, taken in the moment, catching him in various poses.  The wooden blocks look a bit battered now – perhaps grown into the metaphor of his life – but their oak remains stout.

 

References

Heyward, H.A. the Opposite of a Muse (2016) The New Yorker 17.9.2016 (accessed at https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-opposite-of-a-muse28.11.2018)
http://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com

https://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com/2015/05/ten-into-sixty-tina-rowe-part-one.html
https://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com/2015/09/60-minutes-by-tina-rowe-part-two.html
http://tinarowe.co.uk/portfolio/objects/60-minutes-with-tim-andrews/
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jmkmg7/parkinsons-over-the-hill-tim-andrews

 

Phoenix Brighton: 26th October 2018

 

Collaboration and collective working are the core aims of Brighton Photo Fringe   and, in all, they presented eight Collectives this year, selected from open submissions and showcasing new photography in all its forms.

 

___________________________________________________

  1. An afternoon at Phoenix, Brighton. 

I arrived slightly late for the meet-up at Phoenix, Brighton, due to having got lost and driving round in circles trying to find my hotel.  This meant that my attention was scattered once I did arrive – looking around to see who I recognised and for some familiar faces whilst trying to key in to the works that were being discussed, but my attention was caught by this

Zoe Sim

Friston Forest Glitch – Exhibited in the Artefactcollection which comprised work by artists from Metro Imaging’s Mentorship Programme in addition to Metro’s own team.

Zoe uses infrared photography to oversaturate landscapes into pink worlds, believing that “…the aesthetics of pink can trigger contradictory emotions because pink is associated with many politically charged stereotypes. Zoe’s use of pink connotes a futuristic environment where technology is beginning to seep into nature, whereas I used near-infrared in Assignment 1 to signify what we are unable to see in the world with our normal vision. Furthermore, Zoe also uses asymmetric and jagged shapes to add to the surreal and ‘uncanny’ effect of her sublime. There is an interesting article here about some earlier work where she used pink in a different way to create a more dream-like world and critique female objectification by mimicking classical poses from paintings – I was reminded here of the work of June Calypso and her use of pink.

Now feeling more ‘at home” I went off to explore the other rooms.

Glen Turner

Rose (2018)

Glen Turner, a mixed-media artist, was exhibiting with the Ontic Collective  – a collective of lens-based artists working in Brighton. who aimed to present “a wider joint narrative about artistic practice post digital revolution ”

His series information states

In this series I have merged 3 elements resulting as the 4thelement.  The 2 photographic layers were made by winding back an analogue film and retaking the next layer, creating random compositions. Roses from Preston park, layered with a familiar suburban and industrial walk, with a textured traced layer from a plastic Braille map of England leaving a gold/graphite layer upon the surface, make up the total form of the images.

 David Cundy

Also exhibiting as part of the Ontic Collective.

 

 

An installation of framed prints on the wall and small images on top of variously sized ‘blocks’ arranged on a plinth. The narrative behind the presentation of these pinhole photographs concerns the execution of Lady Jane Grey in 1554 (see also)  She was beheaded on Tower Green and the ground keepers at her home are said to have marked the occasion by pollarding the oak trees on the estate in a symbolic beheading.  A chilling event and a very effective presentation.

Although this work does not appear on David Cundy’s website it does on his Instagram feed .  Whilst looking at his website I also took note of his use of image and handwritten text.

 Creative Storm

Curate with us.

A collective pod comprising two different exhibitions where two artists each brought a developed body of work and, over an afternoon, attendees discussed and contributed to the decision making in curating and installing work.

This was the outcome of one of the events.  I liked the idea of such an interactive event and a way of involving viewers in the work. I think it was the work of Tom Heatley as I recognise the roof and chimney pots.

New Grounds Collective

This collective invited viewers to, “a space where we speculate and delve into the ‘conjectural’ facts regarding the fluctuation of the natural, urban and cultural environments.

Idil Bozkurt

 

Deconstruction with Walter in Gallerio Umberto I(2018)

This is a representation of a shopping arcade in Naples, built between  1887-1891, designed by Emanuele Rocco and named for Umberto I, the then King of Italy.

It’s a one-off Installation piece – suspended transparent prints on a frame-based substrate I found it fascinating and had to keep going back to have a look at it.  Peering through the stacked translucent layers, trying to work out how it was done and admiring the 3D effect. Also for sale at £10,000 in Phoenix Brighton online shop I’ve just discovered.

I talked with fellow-student Karen Gregory about this installation and she said she’d created something like that which she has – see here

I think it’s a very effective and different way of representing depth in an urban landscape.

London Alternative Photography Collective

Their show brought together artists who ‘point’ their cameras at the sun and included alternative processes such as pinhole solargraphy, lunar photography, motor-controlled time-lapse and chemograms. It was good to see work displayed by many of the photographers I already follow on Instagram.

 

I was so busy discussing this installation with Karen and acquiring  very useful information on how to create pinhole images that I forgot to check the name of the photographer, which is really annoying. I think it’s from Pauline Woolley  Large versions of pinhole images on the wall and a display of the cans that held the photopaper. I am now collecting cans to use as containers!

MAP6 Collective

A group of nine photographers who work together to make new work about the complex relationship between people and place.

The Shetland Project

On this occasion they worked in the Shetland Islands for six days and I think the work produced is a wonderful example of the way in which collaborative projects can work – exploring the same place/location yet producing individual and distinctive interpretations of it.  It’s the kind of project I would very much like to be involved with one day.

_________________________________________

This was a full afternoon with so much to see and absorb and I took much away with me about the nature of collaborative work presentation/installation and alternative processes. Still a late afternoon/early evening  visit to come with a walk to The Regency Town House, Hove to see Tim Andrew’s Exhibition Over Hills and Seas, with a personal guided introduction by him.

 

 

References

https://glenturner.myportfolio.com/roses-1

https://newgroundsuk.wixsite.com/newgrounds

https://www.cundy.net/projects

https://www.instagram.com/creativestormbrighton/

https://www.instagram.com/map6collective/

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo4OHrCl8uo/

https://www.instagram.com/photofringe/

http://www.map6.co.uk

http://www.map6.co.uk/the-shetland-project

https://www.ontic.photography

http://www.pinkthingsmag.com/photo/infrared-venus

https://www.tomheatley.co.uk/there-we-have-it#7

 

 

5. OCA Showcase at Oxo Gallery, London: October 2018

 

SHOWCASE was an Exhibition of work by Foundation, Under- and postgraduate students to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the Open College of the Arts.  The Exhibition – held at the Oxo Gallery, London, from 24th to 28th October 2018 –  also marked the launch of JUICE (the journal of Useful Investigations in Creative Education) which is a collaboration between the University of the Creative Arts and OCA.  JUICE is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal which contains a multi-media collection of material and you can read more about it here 

I was determined to get there on the first day of the SHOWCASE Exhibition despite the chaos caused by the combination SW Rail strike and a signals failure – and was very pleased to be their second visitor.

Overall impression

The Oxo Gallery   is in a busy tourist area so has the prospect of inviting many visitors. However, at first I thought it was an empty shop, waiting to be set-up, and almost walked past as the front display space looked quite bare. A good idea to have the OCA Timeline around the walls but I think that would have been better placed in the area at the back of the building.  The concept of “Showcase” was the most important for me – to celebrate the multi-dimensional, creative work of so many distance learning students.

I had been expecting to see artwork and photographs spread around the walls and to see small sculptures as well as be able to handle sketch books, photobooks and textiles, read and listen to poetry and music. That’s what I was wanting to see and to feel proud of belonging to a group of so many creative people who inspire and support me.

High points

Being met by the three smiling invigilators, Stefan, Johnathan and Sarah-Jane and then talking with Eddie from OCA office.

I enjoyed having the opportunity to see work that, up to then, I’d only seen on-line; to be able to handle the small sketch books and photo-books which were on the shelves along one wall; peer through the glass display cabinets at small prints; see video work on a larger screen than just my computer or laptop and talk with some of my fellow students about their work.  Below is a small selection:

 

Stefan Schaffeld’s object-box was very inviting but it took me a while to accept his invitation to ‘unpack’ it. I was surprised what came up for me about making a mess of things and wanting to make sure that everything was put back in its proper place.

How can I use this experience?

I’m asking myself this due to being co-curator of the Exhibition being held by some of the members of the Thames Valley Group in February 2019.  I enjoyed being able to handle and look at small sketch books and photo books and interact with Stefan’s object-box. It was also good to see video/film work projected on the walls at a larger size than on a computer.  However, it felt odd not to see photographs, paintings, sketches, drawings on the walls.  It could be that I’m just pre-conditioned to expect that in a gallery and sometimes the size of a gallery dictates what can be exhibited and how. A large gallery with separate spaces can offer more scope than just one room (which is what we will have in what is a fairly large gallery and well-known gallery in a busy Town). I certainly hope that Thames Valley Group will expand exponentially to include even more members from the other Art disciplines as I’m increasingly attracted by the idea of having larger multi-media Exhibitions.

I hope that the OCA Student Site will show some videos and/or photographs of the Exhibition and the Private View.  If you’ve been and read my review here please do leave a note of your own blog post on the visit.

I subscribe to JUICE  now as well and one of the earliest articles is by OCA tutor Doug Burton who writes about ‘the benefits of time and distance in the delivery of HE at the Open College of the Arts’ and I really identified with his description of ‘slow creativity’

 

About JUICE
https://www.oxotower.co.uk/venue/galleryoxo/

 

 

Performer and Participant: Tate Modern 8th October 2018

This Display space invites viewers to discover how artists working between the 1960s and the 1990s opened up new spaces for participation. At its core is individual and collective action – artist directed or as political activism – and in different forms – a proposal for action, recording an event or artwork being activated by the use of viewers’ bodies. I walked around  with fellow students Gesa and Sarah-Jane and the Exhibition below particularly interested me:-

Ana Lupas

The Solemn Process  1964 -2008 . . A long term Project that began as a traditional ritual involving communal craft work in rural Romania and ended with the ‘relics’ of the work being sealed in metal ‘tins’ as a form of presentation.

My understanding is that Lupas utilised an already existing activity – the weaving of wreaths for harvest festivals, and transformed this into a performative, artistic activity whose main purpose was the making of the structures themselves rather than for a celebrative ritual based on long tradtion. Lupas defined her role as ‘a bridge between the ancestral and the future’ in that although the original structures might gradually decay, the artwork itself would remain as the process continued and new participants were drawn in. the work continued in phases but economic and social changes in Romania eventually made it difficult for participants to continue so the straw structures became relics. Lupas tried to preserve the structures by restoring then drawing them but in the early 2000s she developed a practical technique of sealing them in metal ‘tins’ and a way of combining the natural and ‘traditional’ wreaths with modern/industrial techniques.

 

I found a link here that provides more information on this and another project which ran alongside (although beginning later).  I don’t know why but, for some reason I began to wonder about finance – was this a commission, did the local people also receive payment for their artistic efforts?

There were two other aspects of interest for me which linked with other artistic projects based in the landscape and/or natural processes.

So far as the wreaths were/are concerned their only purpose lies in being ‘art’ products – unlike sheaves of wheat which are dried then threshed to separate the grain from the stems which then become straw and used for other purposes such as animal bedding or providing an energy source. On the other hand an artistic project such as Phytology (which I wrote about here )  provides herbs for people to use; has an educational aspect; a space for other artists to create new work and enables the continuation of the site as a community garden. The use of wheat also reminded me of the artist Faye Claridge and her Fern Baby (2015) which I wrote about here   a huge corn doll created as part of Claridge’s response to some of the photographs in the  Benjamin Stone Collection, held in the Library of Birmingham, and her collaboration with young people to re-interpret customs using artefacts from the Marton Museum of Country Bygones.

This led me on to further questions around the nature of art. Why is it that I would see sheaves of wheat in a field and think, “Oh, it’s harvest time again”, yet go to a museum or art gallery and it becomes ‘Art’? Similarly, in respect of a garden. A garden produces vegetables, herbs, flowers etc and might be beautiful to look at but how often do I consider it as the ‘art’ of the gardener; yet it can become an artistic project.  I also read an interesting piece here on the opening of the Switch House in the Tate Modern  in 2016 and the opening of the New “Performer and Participant” Gallery. Bryony White comments on this work of Ana Lupas as a metaphor for the relationship between performance and the museum:

Lupas’s process seemed to ask the same questions that performance historians, curators  and artists have been asking for many years: ‘how do we preserve this’? How do we put a frame around these potentially (and not necessarily de facto) unstable objects’? How do we continue to resuscitate or give life to actions’?

The question, “Why should we and if so by what criteria” isn’t asked.