Archives for the month of: January, 2014

The main focus at school has been preparing for the Fine Art Work In Progress Show. There is a nice tension of activity in the studios and workshops with everyone busy for the deadlines.

I have been working on my ‘Paradise on Earth’ series.

Paradise Road SW4 test print

Paradise Road SW4 test print

I wasn’t happy with the screen prints I had done on paper using grayscale and then a strip of colour added by mono-printing. For this to be successful it will need a separate screen making for the strip, using paper to block off the strip means the lines aren’t that clean. Also the colours needed more attention.

However I was happy with the screen prints I did onto polyester. Using opaque matt grey textile ink through a fine mesh screen meant I had to wash the screen after every print and the image did disintegrate on the screen but I was able to get a few copies to work with.

Paradise Road SW4 ve 1

Screen print over sublimation on polyester

Printing the grey ink heavily over the high saturation colour on polyester blocked areas off leaving jewel like glimpses between the grey. I lost some detail with the heavy ink but ran another layer over with print room ink in a darker colour which brought it back a bit. The clash of the dot matrix pattern on the screen mesh and the fabric weave created a moire effect which gives the image a sort of 3D effect and also looks a bit like driving rain.

Paradise Road SW4 ve2

Screen print on polyester

I printed grey straight onto white polyester leaving a blank strip for the colour sublimation print. Working with the polyester spray-mounted onto thin card to keep the image square I used the heat-press to add the strip of colour.

Big relief once I had managed to mount these prints onto aluminium. I used 3M positionable adhesive on a roll. It was a tricky process to get it straight with no creases and took most of a weekend to get both done and the edges cut and sealed off.

Both pieces work with the idea of a glimpse of colour through the grey – a space for the imagination to flourish within even a grim urban landscape. The idea of the plastic palm trees as a symbol for paradise. How fulfilling is this idea of association.

I enjoyed the film Gravity at the IMAX and have tried to hold in my head the backdrop of space – drop upon drop of light. The effects were amazing, really vertiginous and the relentless tension was exhausting. I am planning a new piece of work where I aim to create the feeling of the universe, some vast space. I am going to try this with acquatint on a large steel plate. I spent a whole day sanding the plate which is almost a metre square. I was in so much pain at then end but hopefully it will be worth it if I can get a good range of tone and depth.

Gravity

Gravity

Floating in space will be an image derived from a photograph of Paradise Forum, Birmingham and added as a photo-etching.  I was inspired by the two girls sitting on the steps, they look like they are ready to leave this grey version of paradise. It’s easy to forget the magnitude of where we are.

Paradise Forum

Paradise Forum

Some time ago…

A series of 8 short films were screened at the BFI London film festival under the heading Bizarre Ride.
They came under the thrill section of the programme, a new way of labeling the films rather than by country that has been adopted by the London Film Festival in the last couple of years. Since the nice lady with the boots was replaced by someone who thought a trailer featuring pop corn consumption was appropriate.
I’m not sure any labels should be applied. Alphabetical would be fine and leave people to decide for themselves if the film was a thrill or a dare. The Spanish film ‘That wasn’t me’ was terrifying rather than thrilling in the knowledge that it reflected the reality of child soldiers and the horrors they are forced to commit and endure.

'That wasn't me' directed by Esteban Crespo

‘That wasn’t me’ directed by Esteban Crespo

The beautiful French entry ‘5 metres 80’ was an entrancing spectacle of gawky giraffes performing elegant acrobatic dives into a deserted swimming pool.

'5 Metres 80' directed by Nicolas Devereaux

‘5 Metres 80’ directed by Nicolas Devereaux

Maxine Peake gave a wonderful strong performance in ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ which swerved from comedy to gore while trying to reveal the undercurrent of repressed emotions.

'Keeping up with the Joneses' directed by Michael Pearce

‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ directed by Michael Pearce

‘The Slaughter’ saw a father and son bonding through a harsh lesson in how to kill and butcher a pig. Vegetarians look away now. Some people did walk out  -so was this more upsetting than the rape and bludgeoning we had seen in ‘It wasn’t me’ or was it just a coincidence they had to leave.

'The Slaughter' directed by Jason B. Kohl

‘The Slaughter’ directed by Jason B. Kohl

‘The Double’ Richard Ayoade’s second film turned out to be a decidedly grey comedy.

Set in an indeterminate period a sickly light pervaded the film, along with a musty stench of deprivation and humiliation.

The Double

The Double

It was I suppose a story of self discovery, facing your true self. The horror of subjugation went on so long and the final denouement was so brief that we were still left with the grey feeling at the end.

I am however glad I saw it, I might even watch it again.

I visited Daniel Silver’s ‘Dig’ on Halloween. It was suitably other worldly.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

Set in the Old Odeon Site just off Tottenham Court Road was quite extraordinary to move between two such different locations in such a short journey.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

Visiting at dusk seemed to be a good time to go.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

Unearthly shadows added to the aura of mystery.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

The raw bones of the building above revealed a brutal concrete structure which seemed fitting with the atmosphere created below.

It was the sort of building we associate with hot dusty countries where it is uncertain whether the building is in a state of construction or destruction and history is ancient and full of mythology.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

At the entrance to the site multiples of artefacts were displayed.

Mass produced and slightly alien in appearance.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

These collections in the brightly lit arena do not possess the magic of the lower excavations. Like any object removed from its archeological source something is lost.

Like mass produced souvenirs.

Daniel Silver 'Dig'

Daniel Silver ‘Dig’

It was interesting to hear what Mark Leckey had to say about his exhibition The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things during his talk at the RCA.

The exhibition promised a kind of ‘techno-animism’, where the inanimate comes to life, returning us to ‘an archaic state of being, to aboriginal landscapes of fabulous hybrid creatures, where images are endowed with divine powers, and even rocks and trees have names’

In his lecture, In the Long Tail (2008), Leckey describes the ways in which the ‘entire vastness’ of the internet caters for the desires of an infinitely long tail of consumers with minority interests.  As modern technology becomes ever more pervasive and sophisticated, objects begin to communicate with us: phones speak back, refrigerators suggest recipes, and websites seem to predict what we want.  While this takes us into the realms of science fiction, it also boomerangs us back into the past and a more animistic relationship to the things around us.

Mark Leckey The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things

Mark Leckey The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things

‘The status of objects’, Leckey argues, ‘is changing, and we are once again in thrall to an enchanted world full of transformations and correspondences, a wonderful instability between things animate and inanimate, animal and human, mental and material’.  Our hyper-rationalism of modern technology has paradoxically produced its opposite, an ‘irrational’ magical realm – or as Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist, described “a resonating world akin to the old tribal echo chamber where magic will live again”.

For the exhibition he was able to request all sorts of objects that he had only previously seen on his computer screen. He chose items that possessed some quality or aura that made them in some way magical. Once the objects were delivered to the gallery though he seemed a bit disappointed when he finally came face to face with them. He seemed to be saying that he preferred them as images on his computer screen where he had the possibility to transform them though software wizardry. To make them vibrate with digital life.

He was fascinated by the digital animation Viral Vacuum.

Viral Vacuum

Viral Vacuum

Particularly the ability of the cat to pass through glass. The rules of the solid world do not entirely apply.

Viral Vacuum cat

Viral Vacuum cat

He should check out Dynamo magician impossible.

Dynamo Magician Impossible

Dynamo Magician Impossible

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‘For everyone who has philosophized, now or in the past, has been motivated only by wonder. Now, wonder is defined as a constriction and suspension of the heart caused by amazement at the sensible appearance of something so portentous, great, and unusual, that the heart suffers a systole. Hence wonder is something like fear in its effect on the heart. This effect of wonder, then, this constriction and systole of the heart, springs from an unfulfilled but felt desire to know the cause of that which appears portentous and unusual…’ Albertus Magnus (1200-1280) Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle.

This quote is from ‘The Artificial Kingdom’ by Celeste Olalquiaga a book recommended to me by artist Bridgette Ashton who I met when she led a walking tour of Hackney all about the Loddiges’ Nursery 1785 – 1852.

Bridget Ashton  Leading the walk

Bridget Ashton leading Loddiges’ Miscellanea Walk

We looked out for clues left behind from the Loddiges hothouses and exotic gardens that once were here.

Hackney

History in Hackney

Trees like this have been in the area for 200 years yet still they remain other.

Hackney

Hackney Town Hall

Bridget has a fascination with the Monkey Puzzle Tree.

Bridget Ashton Monkey Puzzle

Bridget Ashton Monkey Puzzle
papier mache, glitter, soap, found object

Bridget Ashton  Monkey Puzzle Tree Presentation Case

Bridget Ashton
Monkey Puzzle Tree Presentation Case

The Loddiges’ Miscellanea walk was part of  ‘Wintergarden’ a collaboration between Sutton House and Transition Gallery.

Sutton House

Sutton House

Sutton house was an elegant backdrop to work that references the public pleasure houses of the mid 19th Century where tropical flora and fauna were displayed often for the first time in Europe.

Alison Stolwood Dark Green Fritillary on Wildlife Attracting Mix

Alison Stolwood
Dark Green Fritillary on Wildlife Attracting Mix
photomontage, digital c-type print

Focussing on contemporary artificiality and fake environments, the artists embrace the notion of a self conscious spectacle in the remaking of nature.

Rachael Adams

Rachael Adams

 

Mimei Thompson Rhododendron Screen

Mimei Thompson
Rhododendron Screen

Jo Wilmot Neon Lights

Jo Wilmot
Neon Lights

Jackie Chettur Ivor's Chrysanthemums'

Jackie Chettur
Ivor’s Chrysanthemums’

Jackie Chettur 'I set out to pick a yellow bunch to place as a lamp on my table'

Jackie Chettur
I set out to pick a yellow bunch to place as a lamp on my table
white modelling wax, wax colour pigment, silk, wire, copper jug

International Lawns with Rebecca Eastland  Joppatowne (The Gunpowder Falls)

International Lawns with Rebecca Eastland
Joppatowne (The Gunpowder Falls)
water clear casting resin

Darius Lambert

Darius Lambert

Cathy Lomax Aloha from Hawaii

Cathy Lomax
Aloha from Hawaii
oil on card, mirrors on rotating mirror turntable

Cathy Lomax Aloha from Hawaii

Cathy Lomax
Aloha from Hawaii

Annabel Dover Holy Mountain

Annabel Dover
Holy Mountain
cut paper, glass dome, papier mache

Annabel Dover Phantasm

Annabel Dover
Phantasm
cut paper, orchid cloche , peat

Annabel Dover Lux

Annabel Dover
Lux
dressing table mirrors, cocktail glasses, cut out hothouse flowers

Went to two very interesting talks at the RCA , Peter Kennard whose photo-collage work has a political agenda and David Rayson who dreams of escaping suburbia aboard a galleon bound for some exotic island of the imagination.

Peter Kennard is concerned with getting a message across so admits his work may sometimes appear unsubtle, but then he has created some iconic images that are globally recognisable.

Peter Kennard

Peter Kennard

David Rayson makes drawings that originate in his own back yard but often offer a way out to sail to distant shores.

There were so many of his ideas that I relate to.

David Rayson

David Rayson

Listening to these speakers helped me think about ideas for my dissertation – to clarify the difference between utopia (Peter Kennard –  social ideology) and paradise (David Rayson – fantasy landscape).

I thought these painting by Caleb Taylor look interesting. Showing in NYC though – only saw this via the re-title.com newsletter.

I like what they have to say about the idea of access open/denied. Looking through.

Caleb Taylor  Space Gate I - Pull 2012 Oil and acrylic on canvas

Caleb Taylor
Space Gate I – Pull
2012
Oil and acrylic on canvas

Bands of dark grey and black paint, like bars of a gate, sweep across the surface in broad gestures – vertically, horizontally, or crisscrossing – blocking or revealing the more luminous bright colors underneath. Gates serve a dual purpose: they deny entry, but they also allow it. This tension and duality carries on in Taylor’s work with investigations into what is near/far, foreground/background, concealed/revealed. According to Taylor, his paintings “create non-specific places where modes of looking are as much the content as material, subject or presentation strategy”.

Fascinating to read about how Gina Soden creates her atmospheric photographs on Rise Art website

Mine:Changing Room Gina Soden

Mine:Changing Room Gina Soden

‘I like to shoot at the best time of day if possible, the ‘Golden Hour’. The light is thick and takes over the scene, picking up a lot of texture. In high contrast scenes such as these, many cameras find it hard to depict all of the tonal range in one single exposure, so I blend around 5-9 shots, painting in different layers of exposures, (depending on the scene) to gain the best possible dynamic range in one shot. This is otherwise known as HDR. The process brings out the shadow detail and gives a painterly feel to the image. I chose this aesthetic as I like to breathe life into the scenes, in certain light the colours can look dull and flat in camera and I like to be able to depict what my eyes can see, with a bit of extra pop. I also like to shoot the ceiling, middle and floor of the image (5 shots each sometimes with the HDR process, so the image can made out of 15-18 images) If it is a wide angle scene with lots of verticals, this tilt shift lens gives me little to no distortion, and I have a HUGE file at the end of the process which can be printed at a very large size.’

‘Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden’

1401 Dad's garden

So it’s been a while since I last made a post on this blog.

It’s hard to keep up a diary sometimes when so much is happening.

I am going to try and keep it more current so that when I write about something it is still fairly fresh in my mind. I often feel I don’t have time to reflect on things so this space is a good discipline for that purpose.

Back to school after the Christmas break. It’s been a surreal time as my Father, a passionate gardener while he was able, passed away just before Christmas and this has meant my thoughts have been scattered in all sorts of directions.

Normality mostly, then tears. So my work is about ideas of paradise, still it is an abstract thought for me.

I have been working with a photograph taken in Paradise Road in Stockwell. The children’s playground there has plastic palm trees. The palm trees look like oversized Playmobil with added bolts.

Somehow I want to convey that even with a scene so far removed from an idyllic idea of paradise there is a space for imagination, for a glimpse to something else. There must always be an escape route.

I made some images for sublimation prints using greyscale but leaving a thin strip of  highly saturated colour and put these onto polyester.

1401 Paradise Road Stockwell sublimation print

I also screen printed the image in dark grey onto paper and then used monoprint directly onto the screen to add a thin strip of bright colours.

1401 Paradise Road Stockwell screen print

Art Lacuna Gallery near Clapham Junction are running a series of FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY exhibitions.  The first of which was paintings by Ralph Anderson.

I found these really interesting in the use of colour and how he works with greyscale and then adds the colour afterwards in a swirling spectrum of refracted light.

ralph-anderson_retrobate_art-lacuna_flyer

Now a catch up from November – a quick run through of  some of the exhibits I visited in The Giardini at the Venice Biennale.

The Giardini

The Giardini

Still lush in November.

Switzerland Pavilion

Switzerland Pavilion

We were blessed with amazing sunshine to add an extra dimension to the Swiss Pavilion.

1311 Russian Pavillion 3

The pile of husks in the Russian Pavilion had accumulated over the summer

Russian Pavilion

Russian Pavilion

The need for umbrellas was not quite so crucial this visit  as there was no longer a torrential downpour of gold coins from above but a stuttering trickle.

1311 Russian Pavillion

The coins have been circulated across the globe as each participant kept their souvenir

Russian Pavilion

Russian Pavilion

Only a few coins remain in the system.

Korean Pavilion

Korean Pavilion

The Korean Pavilion looks enticing with its kaleidoscopic lights and ritual shoe removal. Maybe it would better to only suppose what was inside

Somehow missed the Canadian Pavilion last visit

Canadian Pavlion

Shary Boyle ‘Ophiodea’

Using projections onto a stage set in a very dark setting the mood shifted

1311 Canada (5)

Shary Boyle

between dreamscapes

1311 Canada (4)

Shary Boyle

and stark illumination

1311 Canada (6)

Shary Boyle

As intended the elements had been at work in the Australian Pavilion spattering mud, releasing paper and rusting metal.

1311 Australian Pavilion (7) 1311 Australian Pavilion (6)

I was invited to look in the books stacked in the corner- the ageing pages had been cut into, hurrying their disintegration while creating new readings.

Australian Pavilion

Simryn Gill – Australian Pavilion

Enjoyed another blast of Sarah Sze in the American Pavilion.

1311 Sarah Sze 3

Sarah Sze

Fresh green moss.

1311 Sarah Sze 2

Sarah Sze

American Pavilion

American Pavilion – Sarah Sze

I was interested to look at the Shaker Gift Drawings. These drawings were believed to be created by sixteen shakers possessed by heavenly beings who offered a portal to view heaven itself.

Shaker Gift Drawing

Shaker Gift Drawing

Superfluous decoration was forbidden in the sect but these depictions inspired from heaven were exceptions and used to reflect life on earth in the shaker community.

The idea of The Encyclopaedic Palace which was the thinking behind the Central Pavilion this year was as a repository for all knowledge. With this all encompassing idea in mind the curator has included lots of outsider art.

There were many collections shown here which were never intended for such a setting, some quite private images on public display, all these manifestations of endeavour showing what a curious bunch we are.

The collection of houses made by an insurance clerk from Vienna are exhibited under the names of the artist and architect who found them in a junk shop.

They create a kind of suburbia to the destruction of Manhattan.

Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten ‘9-11-01’
The Houses of Peter Fritz

Jack Whitten’s huge memorial to 9/11 has a heavily textured surface.

It looks like it could be made of the very debris from the site.

JackWhitten

Jack Whitten ’09-11-01′

The Netherlands – ‘Room with Broken Sentence’ shows a series of work by Mark Manders.

Mark Manders

Mark Manders

The windows are covered with newspaper giving an under construction look to the pavilion and inside too the theme of under construction continues with a casual studio in progress setting, polythene wrappings pushed aside, work propped or submissively sited which somehow emphasizes the power and scale of the big work

Mark Manders

Mark Manders

Couldn’t resist another trip into the undulating wombworld of Joana Vasconcelas

Portugese Pavilion

Portuguese Pavilion

Joana Vasconcelas

Joana Vasconcelas