Archives for posts with tag: Lizzie Cannon

I have a new blank slate – a studio with Second Floor Studios at Thames Barrier in the same complex as Thames Barrier Print Studio. 1602 New Studio

I also discovered there are wood and metal workshops here, a gallery and lots of opportunities to take classes so I am very excited to be joining the complex and enjoy the amazing views across the Thames

1602 Thames Barrier

It was great to be back screen printing after quite a break.

1602 Induction Day Prints 1.jpgI had been working on an image I was thinking of using for an idea about the multiverse theory but wasn’t really happy with it so I cropped off a portion to use for my screen printing induction day. I saw these ancient fish in an aquarium in Shanghai, they look so prehistoric and are very alarming, hanging motionless in the water until they are offered a live snack then they move like lightning, leaping from the water to snap the victim in their jaws.

1602 test screen print

The 56th Venice Biennale theme All The World’s Futures was a cue for a lot of artists to excavate the past.

The multi channel video Fire Talks To Me by Almagul Menlibayeva cuts into the past and layers time. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (13)Grand Palaces, industrialization and dystopian landscapes give an epic scale to a turbulent narrative. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (12)

This work has huge scope. The history of Azerbajan, the Persian Empire and Venice are intermingled.1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (15)

At the centre of the tale is the Mukhtarov couple’s rise in fortune on the riches of oil and their downfall at the soviet takeover. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (14)

Their palace, built with oil money and inspired by love has been reassigned from private to public love temple and is now the ‘Palace of Happiness’ in its new guise as Baku’s marriage bureau.

1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (9)

The Union of Fire and Water  continues throughout the 14th C Gothic building with sculptural interventions by Rashad Alakbarov interacting with the environment and our journey through it.1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (10)

The journey can be circuitous.

1601 Venice Union of Fire and Water

Armando Lulaj deals with spectres of history. In his series of films ‘The Albanian Trilogy: A series of devious stratagems’ he looks at how political symbols can appear in one context then reappear in another changing their meaning. over time. He aims to uncover  processes which govern social memory. The research that his films are based on is really interesting so I have included quite a bit of detail here and more can be found on the Albanian Pavilion website.

It Wears As It Grows references a story from the cold war years. In 1959 Khrushchev visited Albania to discuss the Soviet Union’s plans to arm Enver Hoxha’s state with submarines and warships to counter the U.S. threat from missile bases in Italy. Four years later relations between the USSR and Albania had broken down leaving an Albanian navy with a paranoid fear of enemy attacks. When they sighted an object that repeatedly appeared and disappeared at the surface of the sea they shot at it believing it to be a submarine. The unfortunate target turned out to be a Mediterranean sperm whale.

1601 Venice Albania (2)

After being recovered, the whale’s remains were displayed in the Museum of Natural History in Tirana. In 2011, the skeleton of the whale reappears in the streets of Tirana, raised onto the shoulders of a group of people, like a ghost wandering the streets of the city until it found its final resting place inside Enver Hoxha’s mausoleum “Piramida.” This pyramid-shaped structure completed in 1987 was designed by his own daughter and son-in-law to glorify his name and create an eternal monument to him, just like the pyramids of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

1601 Venice Albania (1)

NEVER looks at how the positioning of five letters in rock on a hillside tells a story of political power struggles. When communism was at its zenith in Albania around 1968, the Albanian Labor Party decided to celebrate the magnificence of their leader, Enver Hoxha with a monument to his name. Hundreds of young people were forced to join the Albanian People’s Army to position and paint enormous stones on the side of the Shpirag mountain to spell out the name of the dictator. After the fall of communism in the 90’s the Democratic Party gained power and ordered the army to destroy the rocks with explosives. It wasn’t a complete success; the letters were only damaged and two soldiers were burned alive in the process. The task was abandoned and over time what could still be seen of the letters was covered in vegetation. In 2012, locals decided to return to unearth the letters and rewrite the name. After uncovering, cleaning and painting, what materialized no longer read as ENVER, but something altered. The emblem of a dictator ENVER returned as the English adverb NEVER.

Recapitulation traces diplomatic relations between Albania and the U.S. and the sensitive use of language to affirm or negate friendship. In 1957 a U.S. Air Force plane entered Albanian airspace. Two Albanian fighter jets were scrambled and escorted the U.S. plane into a forced landing at Rinas Airport. The pilot, a high ranking WWII hero, was held and interrogated by Albanian officials but due to US diplomatic pressure was released two weeks later. The airplane, however, was not released and in 1971 was moved to the new  Weapons Museum in the birth town of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. This symbol of the Cold War was labelled “American Spy Plane”.  By 2009 relations with the U.S. were no longer hostile and so the Albanian government wanted to remove the plane feeling it was now deemed an affront to the friendly diplomatic relations. However that same year, the former US Ambassador to Albania, stated that history should not be rewritten. Immediately after his speech a question mark appeared at the end of the inscription “American Spy Plane” so that what had been an affirmation turned into a question: “American Spy Plane?”

Meanwhile Russia is rewriting its history and repainting its pavilion.  Irina Nakhova digs into a past tied to the wider context of the artists struggle for cultural acknowledgement.

1601 Venice Russia (2)

In 1993 the Russian Pavilion was emptied of art and painted Red by Ilya Kabakov in a statement of defiance against Moscow’s institutionalism.

1601 Venice Russia (1)

In 2015 Nakhova returns the Pavilion to its original green in the hope of a transformation filling rooms with references to past celebrated artists and archived images interspersed with organic matter, mixing history with inevitable entropy.

1601 Venice Russia (3)

Jiri David  showing at the Biennale for the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic presented Apotheosis an installation where the viewer becomes ‘immersed in the archaeology of knowledge and memories’. Uncertain of what we are approaching across the empty gallery  we walk towards a blank wall to discover a short narrow corridor hidden behind.

1601 Venice czech slovak (3)

Apotheosis – meaning the elevation to divine status is an appropriation of  Apotheosis of the Slavs: Slavs for Humanity (1926) by the Czech Secessionist artist Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) reworked in greyscale and placed opposite a mirror of the same proportions. It literally brings you face to face with the politics of the region, the national pride and political idealism that inspired Mucha who is better known internationally for his art nouveau style posters. In further analogy it is hard to see the whole picture from this angle and a difficult task to understand ones place within it.

1601 Venice czech slovak (2)

In a world saturated with distorted images and media analysis where the words of politicians are vetted by PR machines applying a slick gloss to avoid accountability it is often hard to hear what is actually being said or read the persona saying it. Rabab Ghazoul’s  It’s a long way back ( Chilcot Project) is a deconstruction of Tony Blair’s 2010 testimonial in the UK government inquiry into the invasion of Iraq. By putting Blairs words into the mouths of ordinary people the words themselves become amplified.  Via a series of small screens we see members of the public listen and repeat words fed to them via headphones – they speak without rehearsal, with concentration, with self consciousness.

1601 Chilcott 1

On other screens people describe a man they see on screen before them speaking but with the sound off. Without hearing the content of his speech they must suppose from his body language and expression what emotion he is conveying. We hear their descriptions without seeing the man they describe. It’s a fascinating look at how we read what is fed to us. 0913 Venice Iraq

Tsibi Geva’s ‘Archaeology of the present’, an intervention on the structure of Israel’s Pavilion questions what it is that makes a home.

1601 Venice Israel 2 (1)Using fragments of artefacts, the ugly and the everyday objects he shows us the building blocks that together form the layering of associations that resonate as home.

An everyday item, the key is used to keep things safe but also to prevent access. Chihuru Shiota suspends hundreds of keys in a web of red threads in her installation ‘The Key in the Hand’.1601Venice Japan Chiharu Shiota 2) (2)Caught within the threads are two boats weighted down and unable to move.1601Venice Japan Chiharu Shiota 2) (1)So many memories to unlock or lock away. And so many memories that we have lost the key to.

Qiu Zhijie’s sculptures at the Arsenal reflect the old adage ‘history repeats itself’  in his installation ‘Historical Circular’

Placing us amongst the artefacts of physics, the search for understanding and the dreams that urge us forwards we get a sense of our weight within a world that spins on regardless.

It was good to see Tarkovsky’s film Mirror (Zerkalo) on a big screen at the BFI.

1601 Tarkosky Mirror

The mirror is turned towards Tarvovsky’s own life. His aim was to reconstruct his past from memories and photographs as accurately as possible. He even rebuilt his family home for this purpose. Like memories the film is dreamlike and non linear. We are swept away to quiet places. In excavating the past we are always on the brink of something not quite grasped. Images hover, an uncanny wind surges through the long grass as though some mythological creature is about to appear. 1601 Tarkosky mirror 2

Tarkovsky said that it wasn’t until much later that he realised the film was about his mother and not himself and perhaps it was not a desire to recreate the past but to transform it that inspired him.

Another life explored, also at the BFI, was tackled in a more traditionally linear way. Life on TV; Sir David Attenborough was a narrative interspersed with contemporaneous film footage.  David Attenborough stood on stage and spoke with such animation and without any notes for over two hours. He was able to recount past events with astonishing accuracy.  The audience were captivated and in awe of his energy, enthusiasm and recall at 89. David AttenburghHe took us back to the 1950’s and the first natural history programme broadcasts.   Most evident from these documentaries is how attitudes to wildlife have changed in the last 50 years. Instrumental in taking the cameras out from the studio rather than bringing the wildlife into the studio David Attenborough has brought the natural world in ever increasing detail to our living rooms.

1601 David Attenburgh rhinoHe offers us amazing visual richness and access to the extraordinary diversity of the planet, this does not translate as personal experience yet we now share a collective memory of these hugely popular series.

1602 Capability Now‘Capability Now’ at Orleans House Gallery looks back at the influence of landscape designer Capability Brown. It illustrates  his contribution to the development of the English landscape Garden, characterised by its informal and naturalistic appearance, as opposed to the ordered, symmetrical, and geometric gardens that came before.   Alongside the historical exhibits, contemporary artists present modern interpretations of Brown’s works and ideas. Lizzie Cannon exhibits Mended leaf [Acer rubrum] (2015) and Mended leaf 2 (2010).

1602 Lizzie Cannon 1

Lizzie Cannon Mended leaf [Acer rubbrum]

In rebuilding the past it is transformed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Chamkaur Ghag’s talk Dark Matter presented by super/collider at Second Home was inspirational in many ways. It was fascinating to hear a first hand account of how the search for dark matter is conducted and the challenges that face scientists looking for something so elusive. We learnt that there are underground laboratories around the world where research takes place away from background radiation which makes it harder to isolate any particles that might be dark matter.

The occurrence of dark matter was first theorized through the pioneering research of Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky who in 1933 looked at galaxy rotation curves and decided there was more going on than could be accounted for by the mass of the matter we could see. Something mysterious was holding the galaxies together. It is dark matter that allows structures in the universe to form by pulling matter into the gravitational field of pools of dark matter.

It could be that Plato accounted for dark matter when he assigned this role to the fifth platonic solid – the dodecahedron as ‘a fifth construction which God used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven’ – a concept that I used as a framework for Pairi Daêza

1511 pairi daeza

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Using the net pattern that is used to construct a dodecahedron to mesh together images of constellations, an abandoned walled garden and a roundabout.  Recent imaging of dark matter derived from the way it distorts light shows it as a web like structure.

It is still not known what dark matter is, it does not reflect or emit light and doesn’t interact with the fundamental forces except gravity. At present there is speculation that it might be a WIMP – a weakly interacting massive particle and the difficulty in confirming this theory is in witnessing a particle collision with the nucleus of an atom. The majority of these particles pass through the earth without even hitting an atom.

It was exciting to find out we have one of these underground laboratories in the UK set in a working salt mine north of Whitby. The Boulby Underground Laboratory is a special place for science – ‘a quiet place in the Universe’. The ZEPLIN dark matter experiment ran here until 2011 using a liquid Xenon target. Xenon is a liquid gas that glows with a very pure light. Should a dark matter particle hit the atom nucleus there is a scintillation in the crystals and light is given off, also a little heat and ionisation. Only the dark matter particle will hit the nucleus of the atom, other particles, gamma rays etc will hit the electrons first giving a faint flash that can identify them. The detector must be very sensitive which is why they need to go deep underground away from background radiation. The program moved to LUX at a disused gold mine in the USA but is due to return to Boulby for work on a much larger scale.

1511 Underground Xenon detector

Studies at Boulby range from the search for Dark Matter in the Universe, to studies of cosmic rays and climate, astrobiology and life in extreme environments, development of techniques for deep 3D geological monitoring and studies of radioactivity in the environment.

The most exciting part is that a group of RCA graduates, myself included, will be able to visit the facilities early next year with a view to making work in response to the research taking place there. I am really hoping that we can organise a touring exhibition of work made in relation to this and engage people in these fascinating concepts, to think about our place in the universe and the extraordinary nature of everyday matter.

Elizabeth Murton who runs the peer crit group Engine ChatChat organised an artists sharing dinner at Bow Arts and invited along artists who use textiles in their work so we could chat and exchange ideas about our work. The guests included Kirsty Lowry, Lizzie Cannon, Katherine May, Jessica Hemmings, Jessica Smulder-Cohen, Ruby Hoette, Angela Maddock, Malina Busch, Jodie Carey, Lauren Jetty Howells-Green. We all gave a little presentation and chatted over dinner about our interests and the different reasons why we might use textiles in our work.

Lizzie Cannon meticulously repairs the cracks and decay of the material world.

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Lizzie Cannon Corrosion (study with beads)

Angela Maddock investigates how we might use craft practice, especially knitting, to question ideas about our relationships with people and objects.

Diana Springall has a passion for embroidery and hopes to instigate a major retrospective of embroidered works.

Diana Springall

Diana Springall

Jessica Hemmings is a writer who has researched textiles as a distinctive area of cultural practice and a developing field of scholarly research.

Ruby Hoette proposes alternate modes of accessing and engaging with fashion. She frames the garment as a unique artefact carrying traces of social and cultural interactions and transactions.

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Ruby Hoette Lost and Collected

Lost and Collected is an ongoing project that documents and maps lost and discarde clothing and proposes an alternate understanding of the value of a garment.

Jessica Smulders Cohen’s passion is creating a sustainable textile and fashion industry her film is watchable via  the password is “fibreshed” https://vimeo.com/136830440

Kirsty Lowry is interested in psychological space and also makes work with light and I particularly like her electric prints using the conductive qualities of graphite.

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Kirsty Lowry Gravis: Electric Print

Hannah Collins showing at Camden Arts Centre also investigates the emotional and psychological aspects of space. Her exhibition presented the open spaces of the dessert and the dense closure of the rain forest.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The poetry of the wall plaques was at odds with the clinical display of the photographs of medicinal plants of the rainforest. Two perspectives brought crashing together.

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

Hannah Collins The Fertile Forest

The Fertile Forest shared a resonance with the Taryn Simon exhibit at the Venice Bienalle. In Hannah Collins work it was power of knowledge that is being lost whereas Taryn Simon looked at displays of power in the corporate and political world, documenting the flowers used in the bouquets and arrangements that were the backdrop to moments in history.  Coming from very different places both artists show the diverse ways we use plants in our culture.

Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Formal formality

Taryn Simon at Venice Biennale

Taryn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital

Katherine May is interested in plants as a resource for dyes and perfumes

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Katherine May The Nature of Colour underground installation at a perfume factory in Floris

Jodie Carey painstakingly extracts dyes from flowers to colour the yarn for her crochet. Flowers here are a metaphor for the fragility of life.

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

Jodie Carey Untitled(Bouquet)

The bouquet of cut flowers prepared as a gift of love is already a symbol of death.

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

We are all flowers growing on this earth, picked by God at some point, a little earlier for some, a little later for others. One is crimson rose, another the virginal lily, another the humble violet. Let us all try to please the Lord and Master, with the perfume or radiance we were given.    from a letter written to his father by the soon to be executed J.Theophane Venard 1861.

Danh vo

Danh vo

Danh Vo invokes demons in the Danish Pavilion. Fragments of belief. A whiff of the Catholic Church, cherubs, polished wood. A mostly empty space, calm yet from these symbols we do not receive comfort but a jolt as we read lines spoken by the demon in The Exorcist (1973)

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

Do you know what she did, your cunting daughter?

Danh Vo

Danh Vo

I was lucky to meet Imogen Stidworthy as a visiting tutor at the RCA. I had a very inspiring tutorial with her which really helped me make decisions about my final show. She was showing some very moving work at the Imperial War Museum – a sculptural sound installation developed through interviewing two former British soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the wife of one of the soldiers, who lives with the effects of war at home.

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

Imogen Stidworthy The Work v5

She uses the voice as a sculptural material, engrained with traces of experience and transmits these voices through objects associated with conflict, exploring memory and the difficulty of communicating traumatic experience. We feel we are eavesdropping on a private perhaps internal conversation; echoing through the layered voices is each persons isolating pain.

It seemed appropriate for me to go and see Finding Paradise at Lacey Contemporary as this was the title of my dissertation.

1511 finding paradise

The gallery was vibrant with paintings of lush landscapes, forgotten pasts, and the ever-changing patterns of nature by Gemma Billington, Orlanda Broom and Ylva Kunze.

We can never inhabit paradise for more than a fleeting moment. It can be glimpsed on the edges of our vision and drive our passions but to find paradise is to experience ecstasy and a perpetuity of heightened bliss would actually be torturous to endure. Its power and attraction lies in its being momentary.

These fleeting moments and sensations which are not fully understood because they are only briefly glimpsed or experienced are what inspires the work of Malina Busch who explores material possibilities looking for traces of memory.

Malina Busch Curl Up

Malina Busch Curl Up

There was a political edge to this years Venice Biennale with the theme All The World’s Futures.

1511 Venice 2

It added a serious undercurrent to a lot of work which drew on documentary and news footage. Apart from Sean Lynch representing Ireland I didn’t have a list of must sees this year. At the last Biennale so many of my favourite people were showing, this was a chance to come across new names.

1511 Venice

I was keen to see what Sean Lynch would present as I had enjoyed meeting him during his workshop at Flat Time House and really like the way he works.

Sean Lynch

Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

His installation Adventure:Capital encompasses his interests in stone carving and storytelling. He manages to pull mythology into London’s contemporary financial district. A narrated video sweeps through history from the pits and quarries to the monuments and symbols of power that are made from the stones pulled from the earth.

1511 Sean Lynch (3)

Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

This inversion of material is dusted with magic as the narrator traces the polished stone of the corporate world back to the rocks of prehistory.

The gods, swollen with symbolism are everywhere, causing havoc with their greed, gluttony, fertility and abundance.

1511 Sean Lynch (2)

Sean Lynch Adventure:Capital

There was striking work in the Nordic Pavillion by Camille Norment.

In Rapture eerie sounds emanate from a thrusting bank of speakers on the ceiling.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The large empty space is skewed with shattered billboard sized glass windows. It looks like the aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster and holds you in the moment when the ringing in your ears could be shockwaves of an explosion that segue into the voices of angels heralding the appearance of the saviour.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The sounds could be coming from the fragmented glass as they have that quality of a finger across a wet goblet rim. It is at the pitch of angels and voices do join the chorus. In fact Norment has used a glass armonica to compose this soundscape, an 18th century instrument that creates ethereal music from glass and water and was invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Camille Norment Rapture

Camille Norment Rapture

The glass armonica was used to cure many ailments with its entrancing sounds but was later banned for fear it aroused sexual excitement in women bringing them to a state of rapture that might overstimulate and ultimately kill them.

 

 

 

It has been an RCA MA printmaking department tradition for each graduating year to produce a box set. In our year we questioned the purpose of a set which was inevitably split. The cost of the whole set being prohibitive to most people. We wondered how we could reinvent this idea to make it exciting and relevant. It was an exercise sometimes lacking in diplomacy but eventually it was decided that collaboration and a theme would help to create a more cohesive edition.

The result was Lean to, an interpretation of the traditional printmaking box set, it acts as a site of investigation that questions what a box set can be.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean to

We chose to respond to a ‘house’ of print matter. Interested in the house as a fluid concept, we expanded it to mean anything alluding to a habitat: a home, shelter, bunker, shed, commune, boundary…

This structure allowed us to make collaboration a defining feature – people worked together on areas or ‘rooms’, responding thematically, materially and conceptually. One group worked with text to create a written 3D structure, another explored the construction of space through sound. The defining of outside space was considered through a collaboration that explored the garden, and another investigated the overlooked details via the life of dust. There were also individual responses: a digital scanning room where walls threaten to melt into the night sky, contorted vessels that appear at once frozen and shifting, a sweeping gesture of an arch promising (or threatening) an arrival.

I worked with Amanda Wieczorek, Jilly Roberts and Gloria Ceballos.

1508 Battersea Park 3

We looked at structures found on the allotment or in a garden.

1508 Battersea Park 2

We went to Battersea Park for inspiration.

1508 Battersea Park

The symbiosis of the synthetic and the organic became key to our thinking and resulted in transfer printed handmade paper embedded with seeds contained in a protective screenprinted plastic sleeve.

1508 shed

For a box set that responds to the notion of being housed, it is necessary that the skin, the home stake its place.

design by Meg Ferguson

design by Meg Ferguson

 

It does this by being both a folder of precious deeds, and a site of shelter and display.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking 2015 collaboration lean-to

The cover, complete with guy ropes and support poles, unfurls into a simple structure that acts as both site to view and shelter for its contents.

RCA Printmaking MA 2015 collaboration Lean To

RCA Printmaking 2015 collaboration lean- to

The team that installed the work for the launch night did an excellent job and we all ended up very proud.

lean to 11

The volume was launched at Tenderbooks with an evening of performance and readings.

Launch of Lean-To at Tender Books

Launch of lean-to at Tender Books

While learning about geometry and the platonic solids at The Princes School of Traditional Arts I was intrigued by Plato’s description of the fifth platonic solid – the dodecahedron – as ‘a fifth construction which God used for embroidering the constellations on the whole heaven’.

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

In this work I have taken the net which is used as the pattern to make a 3D dodecahedron when cut and folded into shape and used this as a structure meshing together images of constellations, an abandoned walled garden and a roundabout. I wanted to make connections between origins, structure, and belief systems. My original plan for this idea was to screenprint the images on individual segments of laser cut mdf – each piece would then be pulled slightly apart – the expanding universe. In the end it was a combination of time and feasibility that meant this idea was realised as a c-type print on metallic paper mounted on aluminium.

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

It became an integral part and focal point of my MA degree show installation.

I was invited to The Collective at The House of St. Barnabas in Soho. Dark Matter Studio were hosting Matt Collishaw’s Last Supper prints in the Bazalgette Room. These images transferred onto goatskin parchment recreate the final meals requested by men condemned on death row in the style of 17th century vanitas paintings.

Matt Collishaw Last Meal on Death Row, Velma Barfield, 2012

Matt Collishaw Last Meal on Death Row, Velma Barfield, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Güler Ates had work appropriately showing in the Silk Room. Taken just before the club at  opened in 2013, her photographs confront the intense dialogue between the past and present that is unescapable in such a space. Güler comments on the presence of the past; ‘They were absent; however, through the objects in the rooms, the interiors and the exterior of the building, I wanted to trace the “present” of some of the previous occupiers.’

Guler Ates Departure into darkness

Guler Ates Departure into darkness

I had a tutorial with her while at the RCA  when she had suggested I should scale up my fabric pieces and take then to the sea – I think this is something I could try  when I visit a clear  sea but also I would like to try under a waterfall or in a brook.  She also talked about the importance of the structure for the display of the circles which I was still struggling with.

The House of St Barnabas is an impressive building it even has its own chapel where ARTinTRA  presented PARAMENTRONOMICON  a site-specific, computer animated video and sound installation by the Finnish duo Pink Twins (Juha and Vesa Vehvilainen) , curated by Vassiliki Tzanakou.

1508 Pink Twins

Pink Twins PARAMENTRONOMICON

Within the dark space of the chapel lit by a faint glow from narrow stained glass windows a large screen takes the place of the altar. The sci-fi imagery in high saturation colour is dazzling in a perpetual cycle of abstracted motion, forming and reforming. There is a nice play between the deconstructed images of the stained glass – once this technology was awe inspiring in itself – and the similar breakdown of form in the swirling images on the screen. We are similarly held enthralled by this mesmerizing experience as were the first visitors to encounter the delights of light through coloured glass.

In retrospect I can see that Pairi Daêza has a structure similar to that of a stained glass window.

Susan Eyre Pairi Daêza

Susan Eyre everydaymatters / Pairi Daêza

Looking for structures and patterns in the matter of landscape and breaking those down is something I am interested in. When installing the circle sculptures I learnt how hard it is to be consciously random. I wanted to place the pieces randomly with the idea that these were slices of space that could appear anywhere but my instincts kept drawing me to balance and pattern.

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

Susan Eyre everydaymatters

After the show when trying to clear space in my studio at home I came across some very old samples I had forgotten about. It’s fascinating the way ideas form over time with threads emerging and submerging.  When I made these I was thinking about geology  and the human effect on the formation of rock strata, how all our rubbish in landfill would create the gemstones of the future.

1508 earth crystal

Here on these layered plastic carrier bags was the universe with digitally embroidered geometrical patterns of crystal structures.

1508 earth structure

Another sample of layered plastic with machine free stitched geometrical patterns, melted to reveal images of human life. These pieces were a bit clunky but it feels there is a connection in my thinking here that has carried through. I have been thinking about black holes and disruptions in space and this old work has given me some new ideas to carry forward.

I went to see Dark Universe at Greenwich Planetarium. As I had previously learnt on the CERN website the planets, stars and everything you can see make up less than 5% of the Universe. Dark Universe is a new planetarium show exploring what we know – and what we don’t know – about the structure and history of the Universe.

1508 dark universe

I don’t think I learnt anything new from this show but the visual experience of being blasted through space was worth the trip.

The space theme continued with a trip to Breese Little Gallery  to see the exhibition dark frame / deep field  and a collection of Vintage NASA Photographs.

The most arresting piece was Dan Holdworth’s giant c-type of a mountain range inverted into an ethereal alien scape.

Dan Holdsworth, Blackout 13

Dan Holdsworth, Blackout 13

The NASA photos were also fascinating. The strange light, the staged self-consciousness.  These images share the style of the cinema flyer from the same era and so the amazing achievement and experience of these men standing on alien soil seems to get diluted by the association with fantasy making it even harder to comprehend what we are looking at.

Alan Shepard and the U.S. flag, Apollo 14, February 1971

Alan Shepard and the U.S. flag,  Apollo 14                February 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy visiting artists studios, seeing the debris from the workings of the mind. I am envious of these spaces. I went to see what Elizabeth Murton and Lizzie Cannon have been working on at Bow Arts Open Studios Event. Elizabeth is also interested in structures and was showing her experiments with nets and the malleable nature of space.

Elizabeth Murton worked net

Elizabeth Murton worked net

Lizzie has hauled a giant portion of rusting pipe from a Suffolk beach into her studio. She had already started to discreetly embellish the rust encrusted surface with tiny stitches and glass beads. She is interested in accretion of matter and repair. Repair can also contribute to the deterioration as the tiny perforations from the stitching break down the surface. In the case of her mended leaves the repairs appear as scars.  Both artists had work in the Structure, Texture, Future exhibition, an investigation into ruin and repair the substance of matter and our relationship to it,  curated by Shahida Bari and Rosamond Murdoch.

Lizzie Cannon Mended Leaf (Hosta)

Lizzie Cannon Mended Leaf (Hosta)

 

 

I have been getting up close to mud and matter and thinking about the makeup of the environment around us.

It’s hard to look at a cup say and imagine the structure of its atoms. To think about the solid and then the squishy and how it all works.

From thinking about the origins of things, like the first plants and forests. Evolution and yet how all matter existed from the beginning and it’s just a huge process of recycling.

Deptford creek

Deptford creek

A great place for a new perspective on your surroundings is the Deptford Creekside Centre where you can join a low tide walk.

Low Tide Walk

Low Tide Walk

Equipped with thigh length waders and a long stick you are led down to the creek and given lots of insight into the history and wildlife of the creek.

Deptford Creek Crab

Deptford Creek Crab

It is stunningly beautiful and feels a real privilege to enter this world below the horizon.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The river has carved intricate sculptures into the wooden posts along the banks.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The look posts look totemic and hung with vibrant algae quite primordial.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

The creek bed is thick with mud and slime creating wonderful patterns as the water recedes.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

There is the possibility of finding treasure swept along and revealed after each tide but you must ask if you want to take anything away. They have quite a collection of finds they like to add to at the discovery centre.

Deptford Creek

Deptford Creek

On a previous trip artist Lizzie Cannon had been lucky to find a wonderful rusty object which she has since embroidered with threads and beads to continue the growth of the rust giving the object a new organic dimension

Lizzie Cannon - Corrosion

Lizzie Cannon – Corrosion

A Matter of Substance exhibition and salon curated by Caroline Lambard and Elizabeth Murton at APT Gallery encouraged their audience to look beyond the surface of the material to the very structure of the crystals, atoms and particles that form them.

1307 A Matter of Substance

Catherine Jacobs beautiful photographs show tensions of surface sometimes broken by an indeterminate object that works as a disruption to the surface and our perceptions of what we are looking at.

Catherine Jacobs Uncertainties

Catherine Jacobs Uncertainties

Elizabeth Murton’s scroll flows out across the floor in symbiosis with the marks upon it like a cascade of data presenting itself as a record of the inks journey.

Elizabeth Murton

Elizabeth Murton

Cool work for a hot day.

Phillip Hall-Patch

Phillip Hall-Patch / Caroline Lambard

There were salt crystals that sparkled like snow in magnified form like Icelandic landscapes and in salt block form eroded by a constant drip of water.

Phillip Hall-Patch Salt LIcks

Phillip Hall-Patch Salt LIcks

Caroline Lambard’s ethereal sculptures help to imagine 3D form from all perspectives through their delicate drawing in thread to delineate a space.

Caroline Lambard

Caroline Lambard

I have started on a new piece of work, the idea of an oasis, an escape, a view through to another place so it has been interesting to think about form and space.

A solid outer that hides a world inside.

1307 Oasis collagraph 1

It starts with the construction of a collagraph which I am slowly building up from cut card and carborundum.

1307 Oasis collagraph 2

Once made the idea will be to rip a section out to reveal an internal space.

Jane Ward at BEARSPACE

Jane Ward at BEARSPACE

Had the opportunity to meet Jane Ward whose work I have always admired at BEARSPACE. She was giving an informal talk about her working methods, how she chooses the images she then manipulates, her sources and inspirations.

She often uses aerial shots as a base from which she builds her imaginary worlds and the end result does have the feel of looking down, spiralling towards the ground as all perspectives are lost in a disorienting chaos. She says it is important that within this chaos there is space to escape and so always leaves an area of light in her work for this purpose.

Noa and Hannah had filled the walls of their beautiful Dulwich house with a wonderful selection of their paintings and prints. Each artist complementing the other as they both have a mystical quality to their work.

Noa Edwards

Noa Edwards

There is lots of space in their work for the viewer to become involved, Noa’s dark photograms have a ghost like ethereal haze making the images indistinct and alluring and Hannah’s colourful assemblages are joyous and expressive.

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson

Marking Time with Debbie Lyddon at the Crypt Gallery.

Debbie Lyddon

Debbie Lyddon

Through the use of materials Debbie investigates the possibility of expressing time passing through process and experience.

Debbie Lyddon  Bitumen Buckets

Debbie Lyddon Bitumen Buckets

Letting the material do its own thing. These bitumen coated canvas buckets filled with salt water had been left  to evaporate for 6 months but were having the process of crystallisation reversed in the damp environment of the Crypt.

Time is not linear.

Lizzie Cannon is also interested in materiality and has used her residency at Bow Arts to explore using porcelain in her practise.

Lizzie Cannon

Lizzie Cannon

Her delicate sculptures look like they might have been formed over thousands of years from dripping limestone, they have the strange forms and translucent quality of stalactites .

Lizzie Cannon

Lizzie Cannon

Creating work that blurs the boundaries between the organic and the inanimate she fuses materials and forms together confounding us with a mix of the unexpected yet vaguely familiar.

At the theatre it has been a mix of the political, politically correct and not.  I enjoyed Stuart Lee’s understated observations on the possibility of him voting conservative at the Loving Linda fundraiser for ovarian cancer. An evening of comedy in the wonderful Linda Smiths memory.

Linda Smith

Linda Smith

‘This House’ by James Graham playing at the National tells the tragic tale of the last days of the labour government pre Thatcher, the like of which will never be seen again – it didn’t seem appropriate somehow to well up at a political satire but it was heart-breaking stuff. All the more tragic in retrospect knowing now what was to come.

This House

This House

I had expected to well up at ‘Joe Egg’ but in fact it never really cut beneath the surface, written at a time when the language of disability had not been reformed it was slightly uncomfortable to listen to but as it was so dated it was hard to empathise and finally feel any real emotion. Top marks for the acting though.

Sally Tatum in Joe Egg

Sally Tatum in Joe Egg

The V&A had gone to town with their Bowie extravaganza – great use of location sensitive headphones adding the appropriate soundtrack.

1305 Bowie

He has wowed us all again this year with his new tracks and another collaboration with Tony Ousler to produce an enigmatic video.

Bowie and Ousler collaboration

Bowie and Ousler collaboration

I was interested to hear about Bowie’s lyric generator which spliced random articles together – a lot of it made no sense but there would be the odd phrase that would capture his imagination and from there he would begin to write. It seems a fun way to work, loving rules and lists it really appeals to me. I could make work from a random starting point each time or follow a method like with my food shopping where I buy the next thing on the shelf to what I bought last week. This removes all tedious decisions about what to cook and throws up lots of interesting combinations for meals forcing us to eat things we might never have tried. However, instead of randomly generating ideas I am trying to keep focused on what I believe to be the nub of my interests –  the cultural impact of our disconnection with nature. Thinking about the evolution of the first trees and what they looked like  I cut some ferns in the garden just as they were about to unfurl – I have scanned them and was really pleased with the detail. I am pressing them and hope to use them to make  monoprints over the iceberg collagraph.

1305 Fern

Have made a good investment in a plan chest – now that I am working on paper a fair bit.

1305 plan chest

So lovely to have tidy studio and somewhere to lay stuff out.

At Ochre I have been adding some more layers to the iceberg collagraphs.

1305 at Ochre

I am concerned that I have got a bit too seduced by the wonderful colours of the inks.

I am not really satisfied with the image  – need to think about this a bit more.

I am planning on adding a layer of printed organza over the trees to give more depth.

1305 dark trees

1305 light trees

I think I need to go back to a grayscale palette.

I have been working on a new stencil image for the forest, something which hopefully disrupts the landscape more  – and have been thinking about adding some beasts of the forest too.

Not worrying too much about historical accuracy but about the feeling of the forest being something menacing advancing across continents.

A more imaginary world.