Glut

I love the word glut, even though it’s harsh and ugly in sound and shape, it reminds me of the fecundity of autumn, lush and abundant with harvested produce.

It’s meaning is an excessively abundant supply or to satisfy fully.

The last weekend of September in Plymouth had an outrageous glut of arts and culture. Three different arts organisations included this weekend in their programmes.

Drawn to the Valley , straddles the area adjacent to the Tamar Valley. Predominantly featuring ‘Open Studios’ the work of just under 100 artists was available for 8 days, finishing on this weekend.

Plymouth Art Weekender also has some open studios , but it also features performance art, sound art and interactional art experiences over 63 venues all over the city. Events started on Friday evening and carried on until Sunday afternoon.

The Atlantic Project is three weeks of an International Festival of contemporary art starting on this weekend with sites both indoors and outdoors across Plymouth.

www.drawntothevalley.co.uk

plymouthartweekender.com

www.theatlantic.org

With so much to do and so little time to do it in the weekend passed quickly. Flashes of recycled plastics in a green and white funeral-like procession with discordant music. More discordant music and watery sounds. Amazing enthusiastic people doing their thing everywhere. It was a brilliant weekend. I could list the stuff I saw but that would be very dull. I’m going to write about three artists, one from each organisation. They happen to all be women but that’s a coincidence . I also saw some amazing work from men.

Drawn to the Valley- Jill Coughman Open Studio.

Jill was one of my art lecturers , she is inspirational. I’m drawn to her work even when I don’t know that she is the artist. Much of Jill’s work is autobiographical, it is emotional and evocative of both herself and her environment. Even tough subjects feel safe to explore through Jill’s response to them. I bought a print of Dockyard Blues. I love it.

Plymouth Art Weekender- Juliet Middleton- Batts

Juliet invited me to visit her group exhibition ‘Work In Process’

The group comprises both graduate and post graduate students from Plymouth University.

Juliet’s work was stunning. Her title Heroes gave no hint of the works definitive topic but a bike outside embellished with flowers and ribbons in the colours of the Women’s Suffrage Movement was a not so subtle hint. Inside her installation, 100 discs laser etched with the names of imprisoned suffragettes hung on fine thread . The discs represented the medals awarded to all of these women who had endured participation in Hunger Strikes.Illuminated, they cast typography shadows on the walls or flashed a quick bright reflection into the viewers eye. It was mesmerising to look for familiar names but also intriguing to catch the names of people not so well known. The small scale of the Perspex discs massed together as an installation were a fabulous representation of the power of combined and cohesive effort.

The Atlantic Project – Chang Jia

Chang’s work was the only one that made good use of the phenomenal setting that is the Melville Building at Royal William Yard. The other works in this building made no use of the industrial sized epic architecture. Such a shame for them . It would have been amazing to see work projected onto those beautiful walls. Thankfully Heavenly, Corrupted Landscapes has the scale and impact to drag my eyes away from the internal architecture . Her massive canvases owned the space. Referencing traditional Chinese landscapes from the Ming Dynasty the image is created using microscopic photography of the bacteria that is polluting four rivers in South Korea.

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The Atlantic Project runs until 21 st October.

Art events like the three mentioned are not all about planning. Serendipity and missing things is also part of the experience.

I missed meeting Nikki Taylor www.nickitaylorscupture.co.uk . I’ve loved her mesh sculptures since seeing them in London and was thrilled to find out she works from a studio in Plymouth. When I popped into her studio she was knee deep in great conversations , so actually I got no closer to talking about her work than I ever have in London.

It’s always good to run into people unexpectedly, and really great when you can connect people from different parts of life.

I met a Fine Art PhD artist who was studying the seaweed of Devils Point. www.duncantheartist.tumblr.com that’s pretty specialised stuff but coincidentally I have another friend whose Biology PhD covered the exact same topic. Surreal things happen, in a good way,when you talk to strangers at art exhibitions. Apologies to Duncan, every photo I took chopped your head off.

To make amends for chopping off a head I will finish with some serendipity. a head from Nikki Taylor superimposed over a mural.I love this image of a mesh head in front of a mural by www.loci-collective.weebly.com

So there we are, a seasonal glut of art and culture. All showcased in great venues surrounded by beautiful scenery and radiant sunshine. Summer slipping into autumn with a huge creative Boom!

Artworks/Portfolio

I’ve been adding some recent images to my Artworks/Portfolio page, I’ve got a pile of work that needs just little bits of attention to get them ready to sell. There is also a commission that needs a good stretch of time to get it ready for delivery . The better weather this week would have been perfect for art but it was also time to attack the Cornish hedge that runs in front of the studio windows. 10 years of routine maintenance had kept the lane passable but optimum hedge health had not been on our agenda. Many woman hours later it is trimmed and bramble-less , looking pretty sparse with one or two holes that need to be filled with some climbers . Boston Vine , Evergreen Clematis and Japanese Wisteria will add some natural colour alongside any incidental splatterings that embellish the garden and hedge during a summer of painting . Time to get back on the paintbrush…


Continue reading “Artworks/Portfolio”

Sunshine and Art

Plymouth Art Weekender Saturday was perked up , if perking were needed, by glorious weather.

The city was like a creative ice cream van offering choice and temptation in equal measure . Following the analogy, it was great to be able to sample so many different flavours of art. Not all were served in a way that encouraged me to prolong the experience but others were made for gluttony.

In the gluttony category was the ‘Open Studios’event at Ocean Studios. Architecturally pleasing, box-like studios, make the best of the original features of the Royal William Yard. The uniformity of the studios alters immediately you open a door and step into the creative space. I loved the art and skills I experienced there, more importantly every one of the artists or makers was engaging and interesting.

Elsewhere I experienced a vignette of a pretentious arty person. If this had been a comedy or theatrical festival I would have stayed and marvelled at the accuracy or wit of the performer. As it was it was easy to move on and enjoy the work of other artists more deserving of my time, that is the beauty of a diverse art event.

Today the Plymouth Art Weekender will be robed in ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. The weather is shocking. Jumpers are packed for a full day of art.

Postponed

IMG_3012.JPGThe South London Women Artists installation ‘Pillow Talk’ Exhibition at Tate Modern has been postponed from 29th September 2017 until sometime in 2018. Thanks to everyone who had promised to attend , as soon as we have a date it will be circulated .

Ocean Studios, Bakery and Cafe.

IMG_0998This summer Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard has opened a bakery and cafe. Sourdough and other bakery products are supplied by Column Bakehouse of Devonport.

IMG_1001.JPGThe Bakery also sells jams and other luxury provisions all displayed beautifully.

The Cafe spills out into the gallery area of Ocean Studios.

IMG_0995.JPGIMG_0992.JPGCoffee at Ocean Studios is great, full bodied and fruity. Beans are supplied by Origin Coffee.

There will be regular art exhibitions in the gallery that envelopes the cafe . Currently and running until 11th August is Made In Plymouth. An exhibition featuring contemporary souvenirs created by students from Plymouth College of Art. Held in collaboration with the Real Ideas Corporation it featured Plymouth specific art.
Plymouth has culture and history in abundance and is establishing itself as a creative hub with a thriving and diverse arts scene. The bespoke items at this exhibition show the talents and creativity that the city has to offer.
The merchandise on display is exquisite, some of it so gorgeous it might slip from souvenir to fetish object without any trouble at all. I’m thinking particularly of the collection of Pilgrim Hats , preserved in an old Victorian shop fitting.

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Close to the cafe servery there is s display of silk scarves, moving as only silk can do in the gentle breeze.Each one giving a slightly different, colourful,perspective to the Plymouth theme.
The mundane objects, tea-towels, tote bags, beer mats, badges and aprons are not overshadowed by their more sensualist competitors for attention. Well thought out and stylishly created they present an edgy contemporary example of how good souvenirs can be, both representational and abstract at the same time.

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Fashion is represented by Fisherperson smocks and Jewellery by badges both intriguingly different from the standard coastal fashions.
Ceramics are well represented by Paulina Chromik, simple black and cream designs that are calm and considered.

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2D art and printing fill the walls of the gallery. It is stunning, even the difficult subject of Plymouth Blitz is rendered in a way that is considered and beautiful.
Alan Qualtrough was the artist in residence on our visit .His Kiss and Bite Letterpress prints are both lexicographically and visually pleasing. The usual quiet of the gallery  gently disturbed by the rhythmic thump of an Adana hand printing Press.

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https://realideas.org

https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/

ocean studios plymouth

First paintings of the summer, finished and ready to go to their new homes.

Two paintings, inspired by an early morning walk, were finished yesterday. Back in May I took an early trip to the Barbican in Plymouth. The early sky was, an impossibly clear, Klein Blue. The colour was reflected in the waters of the harbour. As usual the harbour water was full of the detritus of a busy fishing port.

In Barbican Detritus II the wake of a boat washes into the harbour and breaks on a roll of fishing net. 50cms x 50cms  £300

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Barbican Detritus I

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Barbican Detritus I,  has a super-shiny resin coat which makes photographing it impossible. The shine gives immediate impact but closer inspection shows the texture and detail. It is a macro landscape of a corner of the harbour where rubbish, oil and paint gather.

50cms x 40cms £300

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My Place – South London Women Artists- Brixton East

IMG_1113South London Women Artists put on their summer show at Brixton East last week.

Founded in 2008 this collaborative group of women artists are rapidly gaining traction in the London Art World and beyond.

An exhibition at the brilliant Brixton East venue has become a bit of an SLWA summer tradition. The curators of My Place asked artists to respond to the theme of the same name. The artists responded magnificently , those featured here photographed best but all of the work was of a very high standard.

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New Ideal Home-Pat Cove

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I think this was one of the pieces selected by an art critic  who exclaimed that he liked this and one other piece but that “the rest was shit.” Thankfully the comments in the visitors book were more fulsome and complimentary.

 

 

The Ladies Bridge- Waterloo Bridge Karen Livesay

IMG_1116This video installation looked amazing projected on the wall next to the three prints of Waterloo Bridge that accompanied it. The text projected is the actual writing of some of the women who were welders on the bridge.

Talking text, which is my current obsession, I bought this painting by Valerie Lambert.

IMG_1134Valerie, a London based Scot, feels that bridges signify her place in London.  It’s hanging very happily in theoldmortuary now .

IMG_1278The success of this exhibition is not only the work of women. Celestine, a man of infinite patience, hung every piece of art. The building, Brixton East, is also pretty special.

Did you ever see such well stocked loos ?

http://www.brixtoneast1871.co.uk/

 

https://www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk/

Quiet blogging patch is over.

As a new blogger and website creator I try to get something on my site nearly every day. My tag line even says “Something Stylish Every Day”  it’s a big ask but it has been motoring me through many WordPress Tutorials , hopefully it hasn’t been too obvious that I’ve been working to a brief.

Too many blogs too little time would be my motto of the last ten days. Three return trips, Cornwall to London, in the last ten days has sucked the time out of my days. In addition to setting up and taking down some of my pictures at an exhibition I’ve been doing stuff that needs to be written up for other publications and my own blog/ website.  Here’s a snippet of yesterday with South London Women Artists.

IMG_0468Yesterday was my first chance to see the completed ‘My Place’ exhibition at Brixton East. It will be a blog subject all of its own in the next few days.

The Exhibition was brilliant and despite having a personal  ‘Big Elephant’ in the room, or gallery, I sold some art.  I still can’t quite believe my luck that I also managed to snap up a beautiful picture while tills were closing and the paintings were flying off the walls to snuggle once again in bubble wrap.

IMG_0467My Place by Valerie Lambert had to be purchased. Firstly it represents , to me, the defiance of London following the attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market. Secondly it combines Fine Art with text which is my current obsession. Thirdly it’s a political watercolour. Red Dot in the corner please.

Here comes the Elephant!

IMG_0466This is my main piece of art for the exhibition. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is not an Elephant . It is quite obviously a door. What this also is, is Contemporary art comedy gold. Sections of the media and comedians love to laugh and scoff at the futility or silliness of Contemporary Art . They report and snigger at Mark Quinn’s Self Portrait ( A sculptured head formed from silicone and ten litres of his own blood, frozen)  Made funny by a security guard turning off the power that kept it frozen. Tracy Emins bed, tidied up by an over zealous cleaner, and a recent installation , I don’t know the name of the artist, hoovered up overnight in Liverpool

The eagle eyed will notice a mismatch. The text accompanying the work is upside down.

The truth of course is that My Place ( my door) has hung upside down in a gallery for a week ( I’ve flipped the image above), worthy of a chuckle, I agree. Many people have commented and asked me if that was a deliberate decision. The answer, of course, is that I’m not that clever and that it was a simple error. But it does make you think and comedic, or not, that is exactly what contemporary art is about

 

https://www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk/

 

http://www.brixtoneast1871.co.uk/

My Place-Brixton East

 

IMG_2874Brixton East is a fabulous multi-use creative space. Currently South London Women Artists are curating their latest exhibition there.

The Private View is tonight, 7th July between 6pm and 9pm. Rye Poets with Pia Goddard will be performing.

Creative Port- talking to Pia Goddard

South London Women Artists always put on thought provoking, stimulating shows. I’m sure My Place will be of their usual high standard . theoldmortuary delivered a piece to be exhibited yesterday and got glimpses of greatness through swathes of bubble wrap . An exhibition blog will be written after the big reveal.

So if great art and great poetry can’t persuade you to get along to Brixton East this evening, or during the next week. Maybe the promise of a great industrial architectural gem of a place might persuade you . My Place is THE exhibition to visit in Brixton right now.

 

http://www.brixtoneast1871.co.uk/

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Brixton East is a short walk , 5-10 mins from the centre of Brixton .

Some days…

Not so long ago my creative life was hiding behind a busier life. Until recently I worked in the Cath Lab of a busy London teaching hospital. At times it was 24 hours a day. The team I worked with saved lives, sometimes in controlled but dramatic and messy circumstances. Mostly we were successful , other times we weren’t. Art and creativity happened on my days off.  If I had a creative block there was always an entirely reasonable excuse given the pressures and hours of my day job.

Three months into my year of not doing the day job I’ve hit creative block without having a decent excuse.

So here are my not so decent excuses.

#1 The weather

#2 My iPhone camera is playing up

#3 The dogs are playing up

#4 Can’t really be arsed

Faced with zero creative energy I did what many creative people do, I tidied my studio. Surfed the net. Ate chocolate. Bought some new pens on-line.

The turning point came when my phone unfroze. I wrote an article that was overdue for a local magazine. When I looked for the photos I needed to send in with the article , I discovered my phone had taken a crazy abstract image when I had dropped it in the woodpile, which is why it froze. The only portion of this picture that I recognise is a portion of a decking offcut. Beyond that I’m mistified , but I love the image.

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After finding this I was inspired to get back to finish painting the picture that I had planned for the day. I had been printing in the studio so there was no alternative to painting outside in the rain. The painting only needed its top coat so I figured rain was just another fluid to add to the already eclectic mix of mixers . The painting is another one featuring litter and pollution in a harbour . The bright colours are created by the reflection of an amazingly clear blue sky in May.  I get the pollution effect by mixing paints and pigments with a variety of clear fluids so that they attract or repel each other. Today the clear fluids were the unavoidable rain, lube, saline, gin and acetone.

IMG_0454Now the studio is completely unusable. This will take days to dry and is in the centre of the now tidy floor.

Creatively damp from painting in the garden I took the grumpy dogs for a very wet walk, happy in the knowledge that even if I could be arsed tomorrow there is nowhere left to be creative . Who needs good excuses?