Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Joanna Gore at Canvas and Cream had the hard task of curating a joint show of very different work.

Ashley Hanson and I were voted winners of the Canvas and Cream art prize last February at the inaugural exhibition of this new concept gallery in Forest Hill.

Susan Eyre ‘Entrance’

I was showing ‘Entrance’ in February and Ashley was showing two paintings from his City of Glass series.

For our joint show Ashley had completed his series of 8 paintings inspired by Paul Auster’s novel City of Glass from his ‘New York Trilogy’.

These are large colourful canvasses mapping the land mass and streets of New York through clues and narratives relating to the novel and Ashley’s own memories of New York.

Ashley Hanson ‘City of Glass’ series

Ashley’s interest in the relationship between fact and fiction, natural and man-made landscapes and layering techniques in his work meant we shared some common ground to build a coherent show from.
 
Joanna was drawn to my StrataGem series as she felt these pieces, considering man’s geological interference in the landscape, worked well with Ashley’s take on the geographical changes imposed by the city.

StrataGem series

The StrataGem series imagines the possibility of the formation of geological strata and beautiful gemstones created from the waste of plastic food packaging trays.

From this point we considered what other work of mine would be strong enough to hold its own against Ashley’s vibrant paintings.

I was very happy that we chose the new piece ‘Incidence’ as a complete contrast visually but still relating to the passage of time within the landscape.

Incidence

‘Incidence’ explores both a spiritual and scientific response to nature.

Reflecting on the loss of childhood it exploits a nostalgia for youthful abandon when nature was full of wonders to be discovered.

At the final hanging stage Joanna decided to include two more small pieces of mine and this really balanced the show.

Graft I and Graft II are very much about the changing landscape, the urban and the cultivated space, the hybrid landscapes and the empty in-between spaces where imagination can flourish if nothing else.

Graft II Graft I

Back in the studio I am still working on the idea of the Graft, as a process of cutting and joining using some of the other collagraphs I made as starting points for new pieces.

I am cutting and combining two prints as the background for one image – not a purist approach at all.

I have taken some images of bonsai trees and blown the scale up against the background so they become full-sized fantasy trees.

work in progress

I want to give these trees big shadows but as yet am not sure what medium will work best for this, maybe another collograph printed on top if that is possible once I have joined the background together.

Also I am thinking hard about my practise and its core values while I struggle with my statement for my MA application.

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One of those precious autumn days of mist and damp when the sun still has a bit of warmth was spent in Camley Park before the close of Wild New Territories.

Camley Park is small, overgrown and on the canal which lends an even greater air of dankness to its earthy decay on such a day. The bright plastic coated artworks contrast strongly in the undergrowth. Outside video screens and large format prints are placed amongst the trees. The artwork explores the interplay between the urban and the wild, some of the work using a sledgehammer approach and others making beautiful and enigmatic interventions.

A favourite was ‘Howe Street meets Camley Park’ video by Kathy Kenny and Ron den Daas

Video footage of passers by is set against an urban background that morphs from reality into a painted depiction of a landscape, from fact to fiction.

Like suddenly entering a dream, stepping back in time or forward into the future, the same place in another time. Very beautifully done it was mesmerizing.

Also I was keen to see if the bull skull Gordon Cheung had installed in a bee hive had in fact been turned into a skull shaped honeycomb.

Not quite but there was lots of honeycomb around and it gave a whole new aura to a bee hive.

The last in the Odds Against Tomorrow series of exhibitions opened at Bearspace  and I went along for the private view.

Exhibit D draws together work with a dark side. I found David Lupton’s abattoir series of drawings the most disturbing.

 Detail from Abattoir 3 by David Lupton

It brings back memories of the abattoir in my childhood village that we would visit peering in through the bars to see the whites of the cattle’s eyes as they waited their turn, but it is mainly the character in the drawing.

He has a clown like face with eyes that touch something even deeper in my memory that is uncanny and unsettling.

Lupton says he is exploring horrors of reality and the innate violence of man through his work.

It is an uneasy relationship between us and our meat. Distanced from the horrors of the abattoir, the raw flesh and such evidence of death it’s almost like a parallel reality going on somewhere else.

Another pause for thought about the horrors of violence was the satire ‘The White House Murder Case’ by Jules Feiffer. When it comes down to survival, mortal or political what are we prepared to do? Where are our sensibilities?

This tension between physical and emtional disconnection and facing up to violent realities were also something that came across listening to Andrew Salgado talk about his paintings in the show The Misanthrope at Beers Lambert.

Salgado set himself the tricky task of building a show around the premise of the misanthrope – someone who hates people – and took the gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as a starting point to consider his emotional response in painting such a reprehensible figure. The outcome has been an arresting set of paintings bursting with emotion built up with thick gestural blocks, drips and splashes of paint.

It was also interesting to see how his painting has evolved since the first Surface show at The Crypt in 2011.

So my thoughts have been directed around facing up to those darker sensibilities of violence which emanate from something close to nature but also to the new relationships that evolve within our urban environment.

I was delighted to hear the founder of The Roundabout Appreciation Society talk on radio 4 about his love of the roundabout which he described as ‘an Oasis in a sea of asphalt’.

In my directory of folders sits one called Roundabout with lots of images like this

all waiting to be incorporated into a series of work called Oasis. I should maybe get in touch with the association – he said they lacked women members.

In the meantime I have finished the second Graft piece looking at ideas of transplanting, cutting and inserting something appealing onto a base or unappealing substrate.

A hybrid plant in a hybrid landscape. The rhododendron image is revealed by cutting into the background image with a soldering iron incising the polyester to reveal layers underneath.

I was interested to read in the local paper that the rhododendron ponticum a non-native variety introduced by the Victorians to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park is being removed as it is causing a risk of disease.

And so the landscape changes.