Friday, 23 September 2011

Blackamoor love triangle

Tonight I am staring at a box which should contain a very expensive print on aluminium for Dr Johnsons House. I hope to open it soon.

All other works for this show are complete, so its cotton gloves on and tweezers to collage this last yet major piece up to complete the works for this show. I have been looking at Blackamoor jewelry for this leg of the project, inspired by Dr Johnson's servant and heir Francis Barber. Exotic and mysterious Blackamoor jewelry was a sought after and expensive addition to the collections of the rich in the 19th century. Believed to hold protective powers guarding against evil spirits, this is particularly relevant to the written works and research for this House and its inhabitants. The rest of the pieces I have made are small personal artefacts and tokens for what can only be described as historical evidence of an unexpected love triangle for Francis Barber, his wife and a mysterious link from his past.
I hope to own a piece of Blackamoor jewelry one day.

This week I went to see the Jerwood Drawing Prize as well as scoot around the Modern for things I may have overlooked before. The Jerwood Drawing prize I particularly enjoyed for its seemingly celebratory attempt at representing all types of contemporary drawing with an eclectic mix of obsessional approaches to the miniscule, repetitive gestures of mark making and the sharing of an idea. It was fab.
The Modern, I skipped through all floors, looking at new artists photography, the work of Diane Arbus and some surrealist pieces that I hadn't seen before in painting form and sculptural form. I also liked the Dark Humour room, with pieces by Louise Bourgeois and the Chapman brothers to name two that I had overlooked before. It all made me want to run away, get in the studio and paint for the first time in a few years, but sadly I dont have the time right now. Maybe one for later eh?

Today I had a mini meeting with the local Art School which was fruitful in terms of setting up what I hope is an interesting proposal for my students this year. I am finding it so hard to work in a building that makes me feel ill (distinct lack of air and far too many artificial lighting units), so I am trying to find positive ways of working elsewhere. The student experience this year has been slashed even further with very few hours to teach very little, so I am desperately trying to get new ideas off the ground in an attempt to be positive, with networking opportunities for them as well as open their eyes to what is around them. To kick this off I have been asked to donate an object to stimulate ideas of cultural exchange, communication and display. I think I am going to make something, as I am currently making a lot of new work that is on the edges of what an object is or can be.

This week I need to get a move on with making works for Wilmore House's next show, 'Treasure' which opens at Asylum. These are going to be drawings that reflect the works of the others that are showing in the space. We are also going to work on mini residencies over the next weekend to attempt to respond to the space. And so, back to that unopened box.....

Monday, 19 September 2011

Post Folkestone Nautilus

Folkestone has been fun. As well as showing at the B & B space, we also managed to run around and see quite a few things too. Particular favourites for me were Martin Creeds sound piece 'Work No. 1196' in the beautifully preserved victorian Leas Lift which made me, in all its simplicity, smile. Olivia Plender's work in the Masonic Hall titled 'Are Dreams Hallucinations During Sleep or Hallucinations Waking' was particularly enjoyable for its layered content, layered context, 'props' and in depth research that ticked all my interests in secret societies and interesting historical characters. And lastly Charles Avery's 'Sea Monster' viewed lying decomposed on the floor made from a multitude of other animals skin, skeletons and bodily traces surrounded by drawn works that outlined geographies in his imaginary island placed in the library, a seemingly appropriate setting for the geneology of his chosen subjects.

'The Unknown', the next chapter of the Count of Monte Cristo, was made up of showing work from each artist on rotation, every hour and a half, to create a revolving show made up of many parts. Running over two days was a good length of time to get everything seen in what was effectively a shop window. We each chose a character to work with, either one from reality or one from our imagination, that relayed part of the story from the book in some imaginative form.

Altogether, we created portraits, text pieces, objects and prints of unknown voyages, discoveries and adventures past. At the same time we tweeted, plotted, mapped and discussed our next voyage 'Treasure' which will be seen at Asylum, off the Old Kent Road in two weeks time in London.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Concerned and contained for their own safety, truly

I am part packed up with jellies, glass and porcelain for a careful car journey tomorrow as I head towards Folkestone and the opening of The Unknown at the B & B Project Space. Cathy has arranged very kindly for us to stay at what looks like a scaled up white washed sandcastle with a grandiose flag on top, so it should be a great opportunity to discuss our further ventures with the Count and Wilmore House

This week has been a fusion of elation, excitement, exhaustion, glumness and mundanity which has had to coexist with continuing to work as much as is humanly possible. I have arranged for the main work at Dr Johnson's to be printed and mounted by the 27th of this month, which leaves a very small window of time to rework, complete and repackage for the opening. This should be just about manageable if nothing else crops up. The written text has been flying around all week being tweaked, proof read and reread again to allow for Povi at PresentPerfect to lay his hands on it for completion. It all looks and reads beautifully, so another written piece will be revealed at the opening on the 3rd. The smaller works are to be contained for their own safety (all explained at a later date) and are very nearly complete, with a couple of additions generously being donated by new friends and as well as this I am starting to compile materials and ideas for Asylum and A La Ronde.

Last weekend I volunteered myself to help out at Wysing's annual music festival for the end of the Department of Psychedelic Studies. Due to recent busyness, I hadn't had too much time to check out who was performing before hand but I met a couple of new people and although alot of what was going on was not particularly to my taste, what I did see was loud, in your face, quiet, sensitive and all jolly psychedelic if not a little Woodstock. Very enjoyable.

Earlier this week, I had a visit and interview at my studio at Wysing for Saatchi online magazine with a lovely blonde that I met at the station with what seemed like never ending legs. This was fun to do, and she seemed to understand my ramblings, although I always find this form of discussion far too revealing in many ways when you start to reflect upon your own working practice with others. I am told that it is rarely cut down and will be published quite soon.

Anyway, enough for now.

Friday, 9 September 2011

brethren of the coast hear so

Last Friday was the opening to Pulp Fictions at Transition Galley E8. I spent the day warming up in Green Park waiting for a pelican who never arrived. I then met up with Annabel and Alex and headed off with Annabel to the library at the National History Museum to look at some beautiful prints, wow. I think they sensed our presence as we were groaning in ecstasy at each page that turned, SO NOISY. I think the librarian secretly shared each moment with us as she was very smily and attentive to our obvious presence. By the time we exited Alex had melted into a virtual puddle in the sweltering cafeteria and so we mopped him up and headed swiftly out to a place in the shade. Moving on to Bethnal Green in a slow amble we headed to Transition to the opening. The rest of the evening was spent jumping in and out of the gallery space as the work was fantastic, the company cheery and the space airless.

This week has been a mixture of personal demands along with making works for Dr Johnson's house. All things Folkestone are complete and ideas for treasure at Asylum are in place so I will move straight onto these after Dr Johnson's is complete. As part of my research for the work at Dr Johnson's House in London, I have stumbled across some truly inspiring pieces which as ever are secret until the opening. I am making one large piece which is very much to do with a story within the story to reflect the qualities that the writer for this venue, Hallie Rubenhold has revealed as well as making smaller objects as an addition to the collection in the house to date. These works although small in number are complex things and I feel under strain to complete these as soon as possible in order for the work for Asylum to get started. Both shows open on the same weekend and my recent workload has pushed things back a little, although I do usually panic a little unnecessarily as part of the process of making work.

Ideas for A La Ronde are in place. It's just a bit tricky to find the time to start these as yet, so fingers crossed that I wont be too exhausted to start at the end of this busy time.

I am looking forward to Folkestone and I am anticipating having to make some work for 'Treasure' there as the works will be very portable. Cathy, Mimei, Alex, Annabel and myself are showing work on rotation over the weekend of the 16th and 17th, so it should be fun to make work whilst invigilating, or at least that is my plan. I have made some pieces that as ever are a little bit off centre, but hopefully if I ever get around to writing about them, then hopefully it will become a little more transparent to whoever happens to wander by.

Here is a sneeky peek at one of the pieces.

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