I have an enduring interest in visual culture. I am especially interested in the sustainability of artist led studio groups and have high regard for the resolute autonomy of artist practitioners, particularly so through the act of painting.
It’s exciting for Jean and I to make a return visit to our former home in Nunhead and see how much Ivydale Road and its locale has changed for the better and a bonus to see how South London Gallery (SLG) has evolved as a sensitively refurbished arts venue.
SLG is a well appointed venue offering the opportunity to acquire limited edition art works, has an extensive range of visual arts periodicals and texts, is host venue for artist residency placements and is extending its estate through the acquisition of another building nearby. Progress, progress. SLG thereby presents itself as an active and thriving working space for artists that probably warrants a nod of appreciation to Goldsmiths being nearby and the legacy of the YbA group. I remember seeing a show titled ‘Minky Manky’ at SLG way back in 1995.
The film screening of ‘Strata’ made by Amie Siegel proves to be impressive for its assured recalibration of painterly sensibilities. Seeing this screening in situ and experience the cinematic scale, pace of camera tracking, cutting, focus and editing is really special. I must also say the sound score for ‘Strata’ came across as crushingly literal. Again, way different as a total package from what may have been supposed or deduced from online marketing and advance publicity. Nonetheless well worth the visit and a nudge to return more frequently.
Two of the photographs detailed above show the view from the first floor window (left) looking to the garden area at the rear of the venue and (right) looking downwards to the ground floor cafe adjacent to the garden entrance, and the third image (middle) detailing the majestic front entrance.
Jean and I had made an appointment to meet with James Campion and it is appropriate that the random ‘mosaic’ allocation of photographs taken in the exhibition situate his work centre stage. Such a terrific red. The particularity of his approach is compelling as is his innately respectful regard for painting. James is a generous and engaging host and made us both very welcome. We shared conversations about his co-curating of the show (with Sophie Starling), its reception on the opening night, over the previous week-end and the frequency of additional ‘appointments to view’. Many thanks.
I had seen representations of work ‘on-screen’ by all the artists in this show and am especially pleased to see the world of difference between what might have been supposed and the actuality of their physical presence.
The artist work shown in the small selection of photographs detailed above are: Andreas Medjesi-Jones (upper row, one & two), Daniel Sturgis (upper row, three & four), James Campion (middle), Mali Morris (lower row, one & two), Kes Richardson (lower, three) and Sophie Starling (lower, four). The full extent of the show incorporates twice the number of works than are shown above.
Jean and I had not travelled to London together for what seems an age and are very much looking forward to staying over with friends, visiting some galleries and having a wander. Lovely to have friends who live in London, especially those we have known since our teens who retain exceptional foresight: ‘Do you think we should get the light ready for when Phil and Jean arrive?’ Good decision on their part and literally wonderful to see again. Wandering almost immediately up to Greenwich Park we had lunch with an unexpected guest and then set off to find what is signposted as ‘The Elizabeth Tree’. Finally found ET…ouch.
My first visit with Navigator North studio artists and invited artist practitioners to ‘East Street Arts’ Patrick Studios, the main ESA office site with adjacent studio accomodation housed in an impressively restored Victorian building.
The photographs are: The Building (upper row, left) the view from a first floor studio window (upper, middle), a work in progress revealing itself on a studio desk (upper, right) and upwards again to the Project Gallery in the roof space (lower row, left) detailing a visiting tutor dressed in blue and the gaze of the audience looking towards the work table, stools, residual notes, ubiquitous post it notes and a ladder (lower, middle) and finally in a building nearby named ‘Leeds Print Workshop’ an image of three dimensional constructions (lower, right) to be installed by the resident artist in the on-site exhibition space.
Yet another first visit, this time to the Henry Moore Foundation, hosted by East Street Arts staff colleagues in the company of artist studio holders at Navigator North. Very much looking forward to seeing this show as a way of thinking again about my tenure in Platform Arts artist studio group in Peterlee and the particularity of civic ambition through the acquisition of public sculpture in the late 1960’s and 1970’s (Apollo Pavilion – Victor Pasmore 1969).
Surprise, surprise (again). Pleased to notice Anthony Stokes name in the narrative text wall signage leading into the ‘City Sculpture Projects 1972’ exhibition (see above) and thereby prompted to recall the generous curatorial advice he gave to fine art students at Teesside University when they were preparing for and installing their degree show. Splendid times, 2009 I think?
Several years since I have journeyed to Newcastle, too long a gap perhaps, and my first visit to Vane Gallery. This MA Show is an unexpected treat, very professional and assuredly on message. Lovely to meet up with Rashida Davison again who I had not seen since the 1990’s and likewise David Butler, not seen for ten years or so. Very enthused audience albeit three of the four photographs detailed suggest otherwise. Ready mades predominate. My favourite piece is the ever so tiny camera on the floor behind the two central figures (photograph lower,right) filming a fluorescent light tube vertically suspended on the rear wall. It would be wonderful to see a screening of this film at some point. Lovely to be nudged into discovering the explicit difference between the view through a digital lens and the way the mind sees through the eye. Impressive.
The feeling of being lost in Newcastle is a pleasingly timeless mystery for me. Lots of architectural changes, new buildings, new vistas, reconfigured city lights and pedestrianised walkways. Eventually, by chance, found myself standing outside the entrance to Globe Gallery and delighted on entry to meet the Director of the gallery, Rashida Davison, who I had not seen since my post graduate studies in the late 1980’s when Rashida was a visiting tutor into the MA Fine Art programme speaking of her ambition to run a fine art gallery. This night is my first ever visit to Globe Gallery and a pleasure to awaken latent memories in my conversation with Rashida whilst seeing the Paola Ciarska show in-situ.
The miniature paintings in the show titled ‘Coming Along Nicely’ are compellingly soft surfaced gouache works, all memorably exceptional and literally gorgeous on the eye. Lost count of the extent of works displayed – twenty plus? Very, very special indeed. Also brilliant to see the outcome of Rashida’s ambition and determination to succeed. Well done both.
Work in progress at Keld House: ‘Starting out with six series’, made last week, oil on acrylic ground, all six approximating 28 x 18 inches. Visiting East Street Arts in Leeds this week then South London next to see some shows before resolving these works.
Always an exciting prospect to host a presentation of work made in the context of being a guest artist in residence, in this case two residents together. My work (above) and the work of Remy Neumann (below) is a delight to hang as a single work rather than two discrete shows. Doing so proved to be a well made curatorial choice for the invited guests at the opening and the ‘on spec’ visiting audience over the week-end to enjoy. Pleasingly way more people than had been anticipated.
Starting out is always the tricky bit and for me the best way forward is to ‘get busy’ in the studio each day and stick with it until ideas arrive more readily and momentum begins to build. It really is smart that the AIR studio I was gifted is located on the ground floor next to the kitchen area, social space and garden used by all the DS artists. It was especially useful to me that other painters in the group shared conversations about the work they were making and the work being made by artist residents. Lovely to experience a much more direct and less defensive manner of discourse about work in progress. Such a contrast to what I had imagined and thereby made it really easy for me to settle in. Exciting stuff. An additional bonus was to quickly know that the art supplies branch of Peter Van Ginkel is nearby the apartment I was renting, everything I would need and more is in place. The second artist in residence is shortly to arrive on site and to know in advance that Remy Neumann (from Limburg) is a painter is terrific news. And to top it all the weather is relentlessly hot and considered the best summer weather for ages…