Archives for posts with tag: Matt Collishaw

Time is one thing we can all agree on to call supernatural. It is at least neither energy nor matter, not dimension either, let alone function; and yet it is the beginning and end of the creation of the world.  – Halldór Laxness, Under the Glacier, 1968

I loved the Joan Jonas exhibition They Come To Us Without a Word at the Venice Biennale 2105, it was a space that encouraged wonder and a dialogue with the spiritual aspects of nature and the rhythms of ritual.

Inspired by the writing of Halldór Laxness she interweaves ghost stories from Novia Scotia with images of a fragile landscape and the enactment of ritual by sombre children.

Glasstress is a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, the theme for 2015 was how the gothic and medievalism has crept into modern consciousness.

1601 Venice glassstress Matt Collishaw

Matt Collishaw Jewel Slot Empire

Invited artists made work referring to ideas ranging across mythology, religion, medicine and alchemy. Flamboyant and emotional, the gothic explored by Petah Coyne’s The Feminine and Mirror Mirror installation.

The Gothic style, born in Europe, was the first international language that spoke across  many nations for at least four centuries.

1601 Venice Glasstress Qiu Zhije

Qiu Zhijie Even More Mythical Animals Are Still On There Way

Today contemporary art has taken on that mantle of communication across borders. The interesting thing is we still ask the same questions and are fascinated by the same metaphysics as we were in medieval times.

1601 Glasstress Kate MccGuire Maelstrom

Kate MccGwire Maelstrom

Performing a ritual out of its designated season is jarring to the senses. Making work that only feels appropriate to bring out at Christmas limits its accessibility. Not really made as Christmas decorations my light boxes ‘Bar of Wonder’ and ‘Bearing Gifts’ do tend to perform that function. It was therefore quite nice for them to have an outing at a Winter Show – Giving curated by Trident and Triangle at Gallery 98 Tower Bridge Road.

1601 Giving

‘Bar of wonder’ places characters from the nativity story into a contemporary Christmas setting, infiltrating a prosaic reality with peripheral and ethereal images that are evoked by the traditions that surround this annual ritual. Is this dated by the number of people outside smoking? A declining ritual.

1601 Bar of Wonder

‘Bearing gifts’ introduces the Magi of the nativity story to the burden of the present day seasonal shopping experience.  Queuing for gifts in Fortnum and Mason.1601 Bearing GiftsSeen through the haze of romantic delusion the figures of the wise men appear as elusive as the purchase of the perfect Christmas.

Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa’s mash up of religion, folklore and conspiracy theories in God’s Reptilian Finger at Gasworks was a step into the world of YouTube paranoia and fantasy. Using similarly cheap inauthentic materials as those used to make the videos that inspire him his polystyrene sculptures are unapologetic colourful embodiments of a wry look at how a belief takes hold and spreads.

1602 Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa 1

Gold painted geometric shapes are full of worms, the progeny of an alien race hidden beneath a shiny veneer. David Icke’s theory of a reptilian race dispersed amongst us gains traction from low resolution video footage of celebrities caught off-guard blinking sideways.

1602 Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa 6

Mormons in need of direction to their own land receive guidance from god’s hand pointing the way amongst the glowing rocks.

The seductive nature of myth and the willingness to believe in absurd fantasies is demonstrated when entering the darkened room at Gasworks to find oneself in the midst of a fluorescent meteorite storm and a giant disembodied finger. Pure joy.

 

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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)

 

 

“the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”

Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary 1914

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Seven days of light piercing the London sky to commemorate the anniversary of WWI

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Artangel commission by Ryoji Ikeda acted as the beacon it represented

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

We are drawn to the light

I have been writing and reading about James Turrell for my dissertation. His use of light as medium for his work is poetic and magical.

James Turrell - Roden Crater

James Turrell – Roden Crater

Light is the materialization of energy. We are naturally eaters of light, our whole body is scattered with stray rods and cones outside of the retinal area which makes our relationship to light very primal.

Our bodies are made from matter fed by the fruits of photosynthesis.

Luckily we don’t suffer instant death like all the moths and flying insects

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

Ryoji Ikeda Spectra

but it was a chance to think about the brutality of war and those that did suffer a terrible fate

With all that is happening now in Palestine, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere those words spoken a hundred years ago resonate, what progress have we made

when will the lamps be lit again

Social adhesion was a topic in our discussions during a workshop run by Sean Lynch at Flat Time House.

Flat Time House was the studio home of John Latham  who died in 2006. Before he died he declared the house a living sculpture, naming it FTHo after his theory of time, ‘Flat Time’.

Flat Time House aims to make a wider audience aware of Latham’s work and ideas, his spirit of discovery, and through his example to understand and appreciate the crucial role of art and the artist in society.

Starting from a series of photographs of Bellenden Road taken by John Latham in 1986 a weekend workshop led by the generous and entertaining artist Sean Lynch aimed to speculate about how urban space and environment is constructed, and what allegories and associations we can draw from it. It was purely about discussion of ideas and sharing stories. Sean’s own work is about urban environments and interventions, looking at the crafts people involved in construction as well as how art is received within a community. He has extensive knowledge of the O’Shea brothers who were stone carvers in Oxford revered at one moment and shunned the next. Details of his exhibition on the subject at Modern Art Oxford here

Sean is brimming with idiosyncratic stories gleaned from newspapers or local characters telling of encounters with faeries and magic bushes or pub crawls as performance art.

1409 vandals

Sean also talked about Robert Smithson who went to Mexico and was captivated by the delapidation of his hotel rather than the Mayan Ruins that most people would expect to be the focus of such an expedition.

Read the enigmatic essay ‘Yucatan is Elsewhere’ at this link – essay

Reminded me of visiting the ruins of a hotel on the Azores earlier this year

1409 Azores

For the workshop we were asked to bring along our own thoughts on public space.

I read a section from my in progress dissertation about my visit to Paradise Industrial Estate.

1409 paradise

We went for a couple of walks around Peckham looking at the local architecture and the council interventions.

1409 Bellenden Road

We were joined on one walk by vocal local campaigner Eileen Conn who has a dream for a new society based on community and gave us the low down on the Bellenden Road area make over.

John Latham’s wife Barbara turned up too with more stories.

1409 Peckham Mural (2)

We walked down to the green to look at where in the 1760’s William Blake had his vision of shining angels in the tree.

For a local community project Artist, The Guy – created a mural on the side of a house for the Dulwich Festival 1993 with the help of local volunteers.

 1409 Peckham Mural (1)

Great news –  Sean Lynch will be representing Ireland at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Also interested in how the values of society are articulated in public spaces is 2014 RCA graduate James Seow.

His beautiful inked etching plates on show at Anise Gallery depict iconic public squares such as 9/11 Memorial Plaza, Tiananmen Square and Paternoster Square in extruded structural form giving them the aura of sacred space.

James Seow  Always Feel Safe

James Seow Always feel safe…

The gallery exhibits chosen artists that capture architecture through a variety of architectural forms.

1409 neoprintprize

Delighted to have work selected by Gordon Cheung, Paul Coldwell, David Cleaton-Roberts and Eileen Cooper for the neo:print prize in Bolton.

Paradise Road SW4

Paradise Road SW4

A great team of selectors so feel really proud.

An extra bonus was to win an award sponsored by Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies for my etching ‘Forest of Eden’

Forest of Eden

Forest of Eden

Rei Matsushima who has just graduated from the RCA also won a prize for her wonderful print ‘Mentaiko (cod roe)’

Rei Matsushima

Rei Matsushima

A series of events were held as a celebration of ‘Myth’ at the Royal Opera House.

The ‘breath of life’ and ‘the sacred fire within’ could be experienced through yoga in the great hall

1409 ROH

A screening of the stunning film interpretation of Leda and the Swan featuring Eric Underwood and Claire Calvert dancing in Richmond Park

Leda and The  Swan

The Indifferent Beak

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still

Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed

By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

 

How can those terrified vague fingers push

The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?

And how can body, laid in that white rush,

But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

 

A shudder in the loins engenders there

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower

And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,

Did she put on his knowledge with his power

Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

 

Inspired by Yeats 1923 poem, choreographer Charlotte Edmonds wanted to convey the entwining bodies and passion of the encounter

Leda and the Swan

The Indifferent Beak

Matt Collishaw also sought to convey burning passions

Matt Collishaw

Matt Collishaw

The dangers of desire.

Bill Viola gave us suffering for transcendence.

Bill Viola - Fire Martyr

Bill Viola – Fire Martyr

Andrea Büttner is interested in ideas of spirituality on a quieter scale.

The ‘Little Works’  of the Carmelite nuns of Notting Hill, ‘The Little Way’ of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a carmelite saint which influenced the delicate drawings of Gwen John.

Noticing the small and lowly she makes connections between the humility of the nuns with the unobtrusive yet persistent spreading of moss.

Lives lived in the background.

She discussed her ideas with insightful curator Chus Martinez, Head of the Art Institute, Basel at Tate Britain. She was launching her book Hidden Marriages which draws inspiration from the National Museum of Wales collection of drawings by Gwen John (1876–1939) and the extensive collection of mosses preserved in its herbarium.

Much of her work makes connections between art history and social or ethical issues, with a particular interest in notions of poverty, shame, vulnerability and sexuality, and the belief systems that underpin them. Although working a hundred years apart, Gwen John and Andrea Büttner share an interest in the spiritual, social and aesthetic notions of ‘littleness.’

Mosses fall under the term cryptogam (meaning hidden sexuality). Moss is also described as a ‘lower plant’— implying a lesser, or more primitive, evolutionary development than flowering or ‘higher plants.’ Hidden Marriages: Gwen John and Moss draws these two seemingly unconnected collection areas together, making links between the reproductive processes of ‘lower plants’ and the contested sexuality of Gwen John; between littleness as an aesthetic, biological, and social discourse; between the scientific ordering of the Museum and the harmony and beauty that John sought in her work; and, ultimately, the way institutions ascribe relative importance to objects, ideas and people.

Büttner makes large woodcuts about lowly things like tents.

Andrea Buttner Tent

Andrea Büttner Tent

She said she views her woodcuts almost as brochures or advertisements to her videos.

Andrea Büttner Piano

Andrea Büttner Piano

She had some great duo scope images on slides and in her book of moss collectors intently surveying the ground, heads down, eyes lowered, kneeling as though in prayer

1306 Moss

 

These tiny dogs, examples of Victorian taxidermy, were on display at Hall Place in Bexley, Kent.

There is something so appealing about the miniature, but it questions our expectations when scale is distorted beyond what feels natural.

1309 Victorian Taxidermy (1)

Although there were attempts by the Victorians to breed such minute specimens these particular ones are fakes. An X-ray proves a lack of skeleton.

VictorianTaxidermy

VictorianTaxidermy

These strange little creatures were an appropriate taster for the exhibition ‘Beastly Hall’, inspired by the resident  topiary of the Queen’s Beasts.

The Queen's Beasts

The Queen’s Beasts

Originally carved in stone to commemorate the Queen’s coronation in 1953, these living sentinels are based on real and mythical creatures.

Artists had been selected for the exhibition who explored all aspects of what might be considered something ‘beastly’.

HyungKoo Lee works in reverse to the Victorian taxidermist – he creates a fake skeleton.

Hyungkoo Lee 'Ridicularis'

Hyungkoo Lee ‘Ridicularis’

Transporting Goofy from popular culture to natural history.

Carsten Holler’s Red Walrus has a cartoon appearance with its plasticised body and unnatural colouring.

Carsten Holler 'Red Walrus'

Carsten Holler ‘Red Walrus’

It has however been given human eyes which gaze out from within a fabricated world.

Joana Vasconcelos takes a kitsch ornament and adds another skin, a layer of decoration.

Joana Vasconcelos 'Flibbertigibbet'

Joana Vasconcelos ‘Flibbertigibbet’

We were told when we got our cat – it is not an ornament, don’t expect it to behave like one.

Thomas Grunfeld has created a whole series of ‘Misfits’ through mixing species.

1309 Thomas Grunfeld 2

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Questioning our manipulation of nature.

1309 Thomas Grunfeld 1

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Creating a modern mythology.

Thomas Grunfeld 'Misfits'

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Exploring the fear of genetic engineering and what it might create.

Polly Morgan doesn’t always deal in horror but in ‘Blue Fever’ the melding together of so many bodies through a thrashing of wings creates something disturbing.

Polly Morgan 'Blue Fever'

Polly Morgan ‘Blue Fever’

An entity that cannot breathe, suspended in continuous flight with no escape.

Tessa Farmer explores flesh under attack.

Tessa Farmer 'A wounded Herring Gull'

Tessa Farmer ‘A wounded Herring Gull’

Her trademark tiny skeletons in league with the insect world bring down a much larger life force.

Tessa Farmer

Tessa Farmer

Claire Morgan’s installation of blue bottles suspended in flight creates  a geometric order from an association of disgust, germs and disease.

Claire Morgan 'Heart of Darkness'

Claire Morgan ‘Heart of Darkness’

Damien Hirst puts the visceral into the kitsch.

Damien Hirst 'Sacred Heart (with hope)'

Damien Hirst ‘Sacred Heart (with hope)’

Hope and treachery are preserved in perpetual limbo.

I really liked Rachel Goodyear’s delicate drawings of spirits escaping earthly vessels.

Rachel Goodyear

Rachel Goodyear

Her drawings incorporate 3D paper cuts which flow out from and off the page.

Rachel Goodyear

Rachel Goodyear

Her organic ceramic pieces hold strange images, transitory moments like worrisome memories best tucked away.

Rachel Goodyear 'curling up into more comfortable positions'

Rachel Goodyear ‘curling up into more comfortable positions’

The spiritual theme is continued with Jodie Carey’s funeral flowers bleached of colour.

Jodie Carey

Jodie Carey

These flowers are made of plaster, chiffon and ground up bone,

Throughout the exhibition there is the uplifting sound of birdsong.

It comes from Matt Collishaw’s truncated tree trunks where LP’s mimicking the age rings of trees spin and fill the space with the sounds of woodland.

Matt Collishaw 'Total Recall'

Matt Collishaw ‘Total Recall’

The birds recorded are actually mimicking chain saws. With this knowledge the jolly suddenly becomes sinister.

Susie MacMurray filled a room with peacock feathers echoing the crowds drawn to watch the spectacle of the coronation.

Susie MacMurray 'Spectacle'

Susie MacMurray ‘Spectacle’

These fragile remains of the male peacocks display act as an unexpected barrier.

Susie MacMurray 'Spectacle'

Susie MacMurray ‘Spectacle’

The idea of the voyeur is further expressed by Francis Alys in his footage of a fox let loose in The National Portrait Gallery.

Francis Alys 'The Nightwatch'

Francis Alys ‘The Nightwatch’

Trapped and confined to relentless meanderings the fox is exposed to the sort of CCTV surveillance that we are subject to as we traverse the city while similarly unaware of our voyeurs.

Peter Blake’s ‘Tarzan Box’ from 1965 expresses a clash of cultures and clichéd fears of what the exotic might hold.

Peter Blake 'Tarzan Box'

Peter Blake ‘Tarzan Box’

The exploration of dark spaces could reveal fantastical creatures of horror.

Charles Avery 'Duculi (The Indescribable)'

Charles Avery ‘Duculi (The Indescribable)’

There were also lots of artists showing at the Venice Biennale who engage in fantasy and myth.

Levi Fisher Ames sculpted his fantastical creatures in wood and displayed them as specimens in glass cases.

Levi Fisher Ames

Levi Fisher Ames

‘Animals Wild and Tame – Whittled Out of Wood – Nothing Like It Shown Anywhere’

Levi Fisher Ames

Levi Fisher Ames

Ames took his collection on tour around Wisconsin in the 1880’s telling outlandish tales about his creatures to his audience while simultaneously  carving more figures.

Severely autistic Shinichi Sawada has created a very personal mythology with his clay figures.

Shinichi Sawada

Shinichi Sawada

These beasts look like they come from a ritualistic and totemic past, but are recent creations, combining spiky defence in a fragile form.

Domenico Gnoli’s beasts also ‘hail from a vast storehouse in the human imagination’.

Domenico Gnoli

Domenico Gnoli

His series of drawings ‘What is a Monster’ from 1967 place surrealist creatures into everyday settings.

Anna Zemankova is growing flowers that are not grown anywhere else.

Anna Zemankova

Anna Zemankova

Produced during frantic early morning reveries she allowed her mind to flow freely recalling cultural influences entwined in her fantasies.

Ivan Morison also loves to create myths. His talk at the Whitechapel Gallery was peppered with stories of the fantastical, almost believable sort. Is there really a village in Italy that strings goats up from a tree and shoots at them? Was the world’s biggest dinosaur really the victim of arson?    Storytelling is part of the work and has been formalised in the traveling puppet theatre of Mr Clevver, based on a character from the post-apocalyptic novel, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban.

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Another of the Morrison’s escape vehicles. They travel through rural landscapes setting up camp unannounced and putting on a show to whichever locals turn up..

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Telling stories that blend factual recall with fiction, merging information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and also the lives of people they encounter.
Out of its time, part medieval part futuristic, Mr Clevver is an evolving work about the coming together of different people in differing places.

'Mr Clevver' Ivan and Heather Morrison

‘Mr Clevver’ Ivan and Heather Morrison

Kay Harwood showing at Simon Oldfield Gallery also deals in mystery and suggestion.

Kay Harwood

Kay Harwood

Exploring iconography and mythology her paintings have a wonderful pure surface, like porcelain. The muted and restricted palette gives a timeless quality.

Kay Harwood

Kay Harwood

These men look like contemporary apostles in meditation on some spiritual truth.

The quest for inner retrospection. A solitary wanderer.

I wanted to capture something of an enchanted wood in these images.

These are screen prints with sublimation inks transferred onto polyester. I printed 3 layers separately onto paper and then heat-pressed them on top of each other blending the colours.

1309 woods

Layering the shadow of a rose garden on organza over the grey woods.
I have been thinking about whether to add a figure in the woods.

Also have been working on one ‘return of the forest ‘ collagraph, cutting sublimation printed organza onto the collagraph.

The forests disappeared under the advancing ice and then reappeared as the ice retreated.

Going back to a time before civilization, before religion. Right back to the beginning to see where the first dislocation took place, looking back for the myth of living in harmony with nature in some idyllic context and the start of nostalgia.

1309 return of the forest

Thinking about fantastical creatures and myth has been helpful for the new work I am planning about beasts of the forest.