Exhibitions

April 2014 Deutsche Borse Award – Photographers Gallery. 

IMG_1512   IMG_1510 Lorna Simpson I liked….. least like a photo. The rest couldn’t quite see the point apart from nice shots for the archive.

April 2014. Abstract Drawing Curated by Richard Deacon – Drawing Room.
Work selected by Richard Deacon of over 30 artists spanning 105 years on the idea of ‘abstraction’ in drawing. There was work by Susan Hefuna see below, Bob Law, Richard Serra, Anish Kapore, Eva Hesse and many others. This was a very freeing notion of drawing some of the images very very simple and some layered and highly worked. I really enjoyed it and it gave me an idea about using my self assembly minimalist piece as a ‘drawing’.

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April 2014. Richard Hamilton – Tate Modern
This was a retrospective, so work from 1949 – 2011. Hamilton took a very experimental approach to art making often producing several versions of a particular work rather than a single ‘finished’ piece. Hamilton is credited with inventing the term Pop Art.  Influenced by Duchamp was significant to the extent that he got permission to make a reconstruction of the ‘Large Glass’ (The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even) and in so doing was in a position to analyse in depth the original work. I loved the early drawings ‘Variations on the theme of Reaper’ and the historical tread patterns and their realisation in low relief. Later used computers and Photoshop as creative tools. This was an inspiring show from a significant artist constantly looking at new ways to interpret the contemporary world and the way we live in it.

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March 2014 Martin Creed – Hayward Gallery
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I had read a very dismissive crit. of this show and so decided not to go. Marina Cassiandou mentioned it (in a tutorial) said it could be relevant to what I think I am doing. She was right it was both conceptual and accessible. Its a retrospective so there are 20 years of ideas which didn’t necessarily relate to each other but I saw them as separate items anyway. I liked this quote from the guide.  Talking about his work process, Creed says: “I find it difficult to make judgements, to decide that one thing is more important than the other. So what I try and do is choose without having to make decisions at the same time a non-decision is still a decision and to choose everything is still to decide” A good example of art as entertainment.

March 2014 Annie Turner Ceramics – Erskine, Hall & Coe London.IMG_1412

Went to this with my sister Ali (a ceramicist). Delicate, fragile looking forms reminiscent of rusting wire mesh fabricated in clay and inspired by Annie’s experience of living in Suffolk near the River Deben and the many industries that at one time flourished by the river. Is this craft or art? does it matter? Beautiful objects anyway.

March 2014 ‘Oceans’ Tania Kovats – Fruit Market Edinburgh
It was very cold and very windy but Tania’s exhibition, ‘Oceans’ was spectacular. Not just the topic but the way it was carried out. It was beautifully designed and made in a spacious gallery in the centre of Edinburgh.The show included Tania’s work on this general topic from 1993 to 2014. I was really intrigued by the diverse way the topic could be explored for inspiration, from the laying down of sediment to bottled samples from all the oceans on the planet and the effects of evaporation. Less about the obvious physical manifestation of oceans more about  the impact of the physical presence. There is something here I need to get…. everything/object effects its environment in some way like a tyre and a tyre track, or on an emotional level, tyre and journey, or functionally, tyre and comfort…. the environmental cost of tyre manufacture etc. The Butterfly Effect, part of the Chaos Theory seems relevant here. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependency on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks earlier.

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Feb 2014. Acts Re-acts – Charlotte Turton – Wimbledon Space
‘We Should Have Built a Monument’. Consisted of three performers reading alternate words from a disordered script that seek to play with silence.  Spoke to Charlotte one of the performers and she said it was a bit like moving furniture around a stage.

Jan 2014 Table of Contents ICA 
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Using Siobhan Davies’s own history as a choreographer and dancer as a starting point, this new project reflects on the concept of archiving dance. Working closely with five collaborating dance artists Andrea Buckley, Helka Kaski, Rachel Krische, Charlie Morrissey and Matthias Sperling the artists consider their own embodied history and memory. When seen in a gallery context the work questions how different art forms build on their own history. How does a potentially ephemeral art form create a lasting presence and how is embodied movement passed on, captured or remembered? In a work that consciously breaks barriers between audience and performer Davies and her collaborators engage audiences in a kind of live encounter or exchange, a learning process between both parties. The audience intermingle with dancers and the work intentionally shows process, unravelling dance and choreographic thinking in the proximity that a gallery space allows. Quote internet

It was a generous and gentle performance of unaccompanied dance relating to a specific space. My contribution to the event was drawing it.

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Jan 2014  Work in progress. Ceramics and Glass RCA. Impressive and in some ways more interesting than so called finished work. Particularly liked landscape drawing by….. and image projected on edge of pile of A4 paper by…..

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Dec 2013. Fausto Melloti – Waddington Custot
Fausto Melloti  b1901 d1986. is known for his brass, terracotta and cardboard sculptures. Fausto had a background of engineering and music. Became a leading member of group of abstract artists based in Milan. Friend of Lucio Fontana.

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These seemed to be narrative, beautiful delicate braised brass structures. Quite playful with a quality of Miro. The illustration ‘The Warehouse of Ideas’.

 Dec 2013. Come and See – Jake and Dino Chapman – Serpentine

I had some previous knowledge of the work of the Chapman Bros. and I didn’t like it. But I really liked ‘Come and See’ This was full of ideas. I particularly liked the the mechanical sculptures that look as if they might ‘work’ a bit like Michael Landy’s anamatronics but they don’t move they are covered in a thick layer of transparent resin which unifies the impact. I also liked the drawings almost like doodles done with real sensitivity defining subtle amorphous forms with an organic quality.

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Nov 29 2013  Tomorrow – Elmgreen and Dragset – V@A
1 October 2013 – 2 January 2014. The V&A has commissioned leading contemporary artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset to create a major site-specific installation in the former Textile Galleries. This ambitious exhibition will comprise a stage set for an unrealised drama to create an unexpected encounter for the museum visitor.

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I have now read the ‘film’ script and the installation is becoming clear. It is full of references that link with the script its a really exciting idea connecting the visual arts with theatre in a unique way.

On my way to ‘Tomorrow’ I went through the theatre section of the V&A and saw the ‘War Horse’ puppet. That was the best bit of the day, I love that combination of art, design and mechanics.

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Nov 29 2013  Masterpieces of Chinese Painting – V&A
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Historical Chinese art seems to be very intense and driven by philosophical and cultural attitudes and traditions. They are done with enormous care and have a strong element of craft and generally understated. The intensity made it hard work for me but the sheer virtuosity was truly impressive. If I relate this to my own work I rely on intuition and possibly lacks the ‘why’ element. This is probably a designer approach, in that a beautiful image/object is sufficient in itself.

Many of the images particularly people and buildings, are diagramatic, whereas many of landscapes have dramatic tonal qualities.

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Nov 2013 . Saints Alive – Michael Landy at National Gallery

This was the work of Michael Landy as artist in residence at The National Gallery. This work inspired by the images of saints in National Galleries collection. The main body of work was the animated mechanical sculptures. It was amusing but for me unsatisfying, the mechanics were just too crude. I accept that they were designed to self destruct but in my view a bit of engineering elegance would have helped. Having said that it must be intimidating as an artist in residence coming up with ideas to order in the glare of publicity. An interesting theological comment on saints and the depiction of saints.

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Oct 2013. No Formulas – Richard Wentworth – Chelsea Space

Richards work is about ideas but essentially simple ideas, full of unlikely juxtapositions and wit. This exhibition had lots of raw ‘unfinished’ drawings and models (a lot of Richards work is on a grand scale involving vehicles or buildings) that seem to reveal in a very direct way the thinking process behind the concepts. I find his work accessible. Unknown

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Sketches and models of installations. Visually arresting – not too ‘difficult’ and very witty. Sketches particularly interesting, they showed the thought process in a very direct and unpolished way.

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Oct 2013  Ana Mendiata – Traces – The Hayward Gallery.Ana_Mendieta_Untitled_(Facial_Hair_Transplants)_1972

Ana was born in 1948 in Havana Cuba and died in 1985. She was married to Carl Andre. Anna Used her own body with elemental materials such as blood, fire, earth. She created earth body sculptures that combine ritual metaphors of life, death, rebirth and spiritual transformation.

This was a difficult exhibition for me. It seemed to be dealing with almost pure ideas the physical manifestation of which was minimal at best. I felt I needed a significantly more refined and delicate sensing system to ‘get’ this work. I feel my senses for this type of work are quite blunt. Maybe a lifetime of pragmatically focusing on objects (my background product design) creates a vail of incomprehension. It would be good to do some work on this maybe.

‘Mendieta’s work was generally autobiographical and focused on themes including feminism, violence, life, death, place and belonging. Mendieta often focused on a spiritual and physical connection with the Earth, most particularly in her “Silueta Series” (1973–1980). The series involved Mendieta creating female silhouettes in nature – in mud, sand and grass – with natural materials ranging from leaves and twigs to blood, and making body prints or painting her outline or silhouette onto a wall’. (cat. notes Stephanie Rosental)

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I found this exhibition really demanding even though I applied myself and tried to ‘get it’ for an hour an half, reading everything I could find in the hope that this level of engagement and commitment would reveal itself. I felt I just didn’t have the sensitivity needed. I do accept that sensitivity of this type can be developed and the more I engage in this type of work the more I will gain in my work and practice. I think one of the problems for me was that the actual realisation of the artworks was of little importance it was really about ideas and right now I respond to ‘things’ more easily. Maybe the clue is in the title.

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Oct 2013. Frieze Art Fair – Regents Park

I had misgivings about art and commerce mixed together but in fact It was an exhibition of some of the Worlds best contemporary art by the leading artists and helped to shift me from my entrenched position on conceptual art as being contextless and mostly incomprehensible. In fact the work at Frieze was generally quite the opposite, it was accessible, visually exciting and in some cases moving. This was of course a trade show so presumably representative of the commercial end of the spectrum.

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Oct 2013 – Marking Language – The Drawing Room

Marking Language explores the relationship between linguistic communication and drawing and includes new works, made especially for the exhibition, by Colombian artists Johanna Calle and Bernardo Ortiz, New York based artists Annabel Daou and Shahzia Sikander, Karl Holmqvist and Pavel Büchler.

Throughout the twentieth century, and in particular since the 1960s, artists have mined language for the subject and matter of their art, incorporating the mode, format and meaning of text into their work (cat. notes Kate Macfarlane)

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Its hard to imagine a more obtuse exhibition and I would think most of the population would agree. I also attended the 2 hour seminar in which three of the participating artists spoke with passion about their work which added little to my comprehension. The thing I did get was the total commitment from the artists to their art and a really strong desire to communicate with passion and integrity. I guess there must be something there.  I still have time to learn the language of art …. but do I want to?

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May 2013 – Leon Kossoff – Annelly Juda.

Wonderfully free cityscape drawings in charcoal, white chalk and pastel. I might try and do something like this! they were about A2 size important , I don’t feel charcoal works well for me smaller than this.

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May 2013 Souzou – Outsider Art at the Welcome Museum.

The work of 46 self taught artists living and working within social welfare facilities across Japan.

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Photos don’t do this exhibition justice. Joyful intuitive work without pretentious art school babble. Inspiring!

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April 2013  New Order: British Art today at the Saachi Gallery.

Umm…….Sorry still don’t really get it. James Capper interested me vicious looking jaw like objects made in 6mm steel plate. So much effort. There was something about Sara Barkers ‘Conversations crudely made with aluminium strips……but wistful. Figurative art evident.

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 April 2013 Just been to Campoli Presti gallery in Bethnal Green to see exhibition of Jason

Loeb. Its a fabulous space probably an old factory, white walls, grey floor. The work looked good in the space but then most things would. The wall based work depicted expired credit cards that have been photo documented, objects intrinsically linked to consumerism, exchange and debt. Interesting idea and relevant to my own research. As objects they were obscure in the extreme and would have mean’t nothing if they had not been explained by the the curator. Some examples.

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April 2013 Just been to see Toby Christian and John Robertson at Fold Gallery Clarkenwell. John’s work essentially 2D and Toby’s work 3D. Both conceptual in nature…… I think….. and both using text as a starting point.  John had used polyester reinforced PVC. (material used to make heavy duty industrial sacks) Interesting as its translucent and has a distinctive texture. The wooden frame was faintly visible through the material with restrained calligraphic painted images giving a layered effect. I thought this work was tentative and visually unremarkable, maybe needed better lighting as example below has much more power.

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Toby’s six 3D works were visually dull and I felt derivative, failed to see the connection with text. Minimalist work on website much more exciting (see below).

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1/3/13 Michael Craig Martin….. could be relevant to my research as a sort of connection between my experience of design, conceptual art and drawing.
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Michael Craig Martin/An Oak Tree
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Jan 2013  Vollmond – Sadlers Wells.
Director and choreographer Pina Bausch of the Tanxtheater Wuppertal.  The work combined dance with words much of it done in water. The movement was original and very beautiful. I could see no point in the use of ‘real’ words (english) much better to just use sounds and in my view less jarring. Overall I thought it was visually stunning but too long and very pretentious. Another example of context being assumed therefore only available to the few. The programme was also deliberately uninformative.
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Visually stunning.
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