Research Folio/Exhibitions

August 2014 John Ruskin – Artist and Observer – Portrait Gallery – Edinburgh
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This work was such a great contrast to the conceptual work at Summerhall and very much more than just beautiful and accomplished drawings. There were in parts similarities to Turners early work and abstraction but not taken so far. He did use photographs but the process at the time was very limited. His deep interest in geology was the inspiration behind the revealing, innovative and scientific sketches of rock formations as suitable subjects alone for the Victorian artist.
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August 2014 Claud Klosky – Summerhall – Edingurgh Festival

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At first sight, the work of Claude Closky is mainly immaterial. Language is his model to articulate images, text, numbers, and sounds collected in our environment, or made in his studio. Although reluctant to producing objects and spectacular effects, Closky’s work still addresses issues about visibility and space appropriation. Relevant to my research in that the work was reductionist and comprehensible, almost like the first layer of a very much more complex idea.

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July 2014 The Human Factor – Hayward Gallery
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Ryan Gander – Marble carving of his 3 year old son ‘being a ghost’

Catalogue notes; ‘The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture brings together major works by 25 leading international artists who have fashioned new ways of using the human form. Spanning the past 25 years, The Human Factor focuses on artists who use the figure as a means for exploring far-ranging concerns. Compelling and thought-provoking, their work brings into play ideas about history, voyeurism, sexuality and violence, while reflecting on how we represent the ‘human’ today’.

This is art as entertainment, witty, beautifully made and provoking. It was interesting to see that a significant amount of explanation was provided with each piece, there were large expanses of white wall so they were in no way intrusive, most people were reading them.

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June 2014 MarketsThe Block and Charlotte Prodger – Chelsea Space
The best way to describe this……… Have a complex idea, keep it to yourself, take a slice through the middle and put it on show in the Chelsea Space.

Consists of four iconic Sony ‘block’ monitors showing, in what seems a random way, snatches of letters or words for a few seconds only. This accompanied by an incomprehensible recorded monologue. I see this as a perfect example of elitist art.
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June 2014 Alice Browne/Selma Parlour – In discussion at the Griffin Gallery
The Griffin Gallery is in on the ground floor of the Windsor and Newton office in Ladbroke Grove. Windsor and Newton products are sold all over the world so the gallery could have been ‘corporate’ looking but in fact its quite edgy.

Alice Browne – Very articulate. ‘Starting a painting opens up manifold possibilities, fantasies of what could be. The defined space of the paper or canvas provides a fixed viewpoint from which the space can be flattened out ahead or tilted forward’. She also referred to the importance of being accessible and the embarrassment of being an artist, in a world with so many ‘real’ problems to solve.

Selma Parlour – Also very articulate. Very controlled work produced mechanically most;ly to do with the illusion of painted frames leading into an unreal/distorted world.

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Alice Browne                                                   Selma Parlour

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June 2014 Phyllida Barlow at Tate Britain
This was exciting. These pictures don’t do it justice, the scale was a crucial element, you didn’t really look at it, you are a part of it.  It appeared as if just built arbitarily but it had quite defined parameters and form. I couldn’t help thinking, is it safe…how did they make it? it seemed so ‘ad hoc’, a nice quality.
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June 2014 Sculpture/Ceramics/Painting RCA
I was stimulating by this show, as much for what was not there as for what was there. Some of the work particularly in sculpture seemed incredibly simple and lacking in depth other pieces were layered and incomprehensible. Most of the work was well made which gave me something to latch onto even if I didn’t ‘get it. Things I liked:

Abstract Ground/Rodrigo Garcia Dutra/MA Sculpture. Interesting subject and beautifully painted conventionally on canvas.
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Pauline Edmond/I’ll Describe the Place its Unimportant/MA Printmaking. 20mm MDF cut and reassembled.
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‘Whenever I get Gloomy About the World I Think About the Arrival Gate at Heathrow Airport’/Yves Scherer/MA Sculpture. This was CNC sculpture milled from steamed beech presumably using digitized information from actual human form. You can see where the cutters could not reach, feet and legs ‘tied’ together. This makes it in my view.IMG_1774

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June 2014 One Billion Objects in Space – Tania Kovats
The result of a year long residency at the institute of Astronomy Cambridge. Inspired by the space observatory Gaia. The work is essentially about mapping with no ‘north’ and incorporates mirrors for infinite reflections. Its an installation that needs to be experienced first hand the continuous change in light is an important aspect. Even though its situated in the Institute of Astronomy, Its a good example of the importance of a name and a context. Great day.
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My drawing incorporating, Tania, a bloke, Gerry, Liu, Gavin sitting. ______________________________________________________________________________________________

May 2014 Stand and See – Wimbledon Space. This the work of 8 artists in residence as part of AA2A. So another room of nice looking but incomprehensible things. The interesting aspect was that there was no visible explanation or even clues as to who did the work where it came from, the gender of the artists and what does AA2A mean? (I later discovered its Artists Access to Art Colleges!) I eventually found, in the reception outside exhibition area, a plan and key so managed to at least decifer who did the work and its title. WHY!
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Lesley Bunch ‘Dais’ Photographic images printed onto stone tiles.

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May 2014. Yodah’s Peer Workshop in CfD This was about making and destroying by using coloured wool by either applying it to felt backing with a special tool or creating a three dimensional object by binding with string. It was mad, anything was possible. It was great fun…. this is what I did.
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May 2014. Olivia’s Peer Workshop. Drawing and Memory. CfD Olivia is looking at the combination of memory and imagination. In this workshop she used Chinese characters as subject matter for this exercise so for the non Chinese students it was a matter of trying to memorize Chinese characters, shapes without meaning. We were shown them for 5 seconds and then tried to reproduce them. I found my memory lasted for virtually no time so I made up the bits I couldn’t remember and that seemed to be a typical reaction. I think this is a really valuable and interesting area of research. Another great workshop.
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May 2014 UAL Philosophical Society – 5th Base Gallery London
An exhibition of the work of eight members of the Society after its first year. I was attracted by use of the words accessible/philosophical in the flyer. Was it accessible – not really was it wrestling with philosophical ideas….. possibly.

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May 2014 Art in Mind – Brick Lane Gallery. Eleven artists from all over the Europe and Japan. I was drawn to the work of Kati Elm from Germany. She uses language and letters in her art. They express simple ideas in a playful way almost like aphorisms. The words and images are created in a variety of ways such as collage, printing with wooden letters, computer printouts, printing kits.
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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 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’.

April 2014 Granville Davey – Interalia – Chelsea Space
This was Davey’s work from residency at Queen Mary University Centre for Research in String theory. Davey is a significant artist and educator, he won the Turner Prize 1992.  The work is according to the catalogue inspired by ‘T-duality’ and ‘mirror symmetry’ in string theory. As far as I remember all the work is circular in one plane at least. They are beautifully made but then so is a gear box in a car. I got something from this show but not sure what.

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Feb. 22 2014 Becky Beasley/The Walk …in green – Laura Bartlett Gallery
The large white gallery (ex factory space) Six works shown with masses of empty space. Three large green tinted photos (1.5m*1m) were displayed on three of the walls. One was of foliage on a tree and the other two were garden type waste in the street. There was a carousel with postcards of Becky’s photos, a bronze cast of a small rotating branch hanging from the ceiling and a work called Steppe which suggests a horticultural device like a cloche.
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The exhibition is based on Robert Walsers short story The Walk and is in the form of a walk ending at nightfall. Several things occurred to me.
1. Is it Important to have some previous knowledge of the Becky’s work?
2. The title… what dose it mean and how does the work relate to it?
3. Why so obtuse?
4. Should I have read the short story before seeing the exhibition?

I enjoyed being in the large white gallery space on my own but really struggled with the work. This sort of supports my theory that there is a need for contemporary/conceptual art that is intellectually challenging, visually engaging, non excluding and yet rewarding. In other words something I can understand.

Feb18 2014 Joelle Turlinkx – Arnolfini – Bristol
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Joelle Tuerlinkx born in Brussels 1958 is fascinated by the poetics and beauty of found objects such as crumpled paper and the shimmering surface of dried ink. She transforms these different elements into elaborate displays together with photographs sculptures and installations. I found this exhibition almost impossible to engage with and would have been totally lost if I had not got two security staff (both had MA’s in art history) to explain. In a strange way it was also inspiring, to devote 20 years of your life to creating art about ideas that have no intrinsic value is an extraordinary commitment and suggest that the work should at least be given time and respect. This was relevant to my practice for Unit 3.

Feb13/2014 Derek Jarman/Almost Bliss at CCA
This one day event was programmed by Chelsea Space to extend and explore the multidisciplinary practice of Derek Jarman. I only survived until lunch, an hour and quarter of Jarman films including Studio Bankside, Sulphur and Imagine October, finished me off. They were made 40 years ago and were breaking new ground at the time but to me were tedious in the extreme. I was asking for it, I’m not a film fan. The Jarman exhibition A Void in Chelsea Space I found more interesting. One thing I did get from it was that ideas and intellectual justification, as in most conceptual practice, are dominant and drive Jarman’s work . A example of elitist art for the cognoscenti.

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Jarman’s Homage to Klein in A Void 

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  Alain de Botton on News – School of Life
There has never in history been such vast amount of available news and yet terrible stories of war, exploitation and deprivation are buried a few minutes later by a celebrity marriage that has broken down buried by more stories of war, exploitation and deprivation. According to Alain de Botton, the stories that stick are ones that offer some form of empathy with the reader. He gave the example of a father who had killed his children and then himself in a Saab car parked in a lay-by which in 2012 got more hits than any other news story. The continuous cycle of ever changing news and our regular, sometimes obsessive habit of watching, reading and scanning news, we have come to accept as an ordinary part of life. One on  Botton’s observations was the importance and impact of art in news. The visual image can and does express ideas with maximum impact. He showed of the famous photo of child brides in Pakistan as an example
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He also favoured the importance of bias, in other words expressing an opinion, you don’t need to agree but it lays down a marker. He loved the Economist for its absolute commitment to bias. He also gave the flippant example of the BBC News, famous for balance, giving a balanced view on genocide.

The idea that empathy is a key ingredient for ‘gettable’ news is maybe also an important ingredient for art…of course it is!

Feb 2014 Sensing Space – Redefining Architecture. RA
Seven architects from around the world have created installations in the main galleries of the Royal Academy. Why was this so good? maybe the discipline of architecture is the key. Building are never arbitrary, they respond to a set of constraints, requirements and criteria, they are ultimately judged against a specific performance requirements. The RA galleries provide this discipline. To see seven different solutions to similar problems is fascinating and in a way inspiring. As far as I could see all the installations were extensions of the individuals practice. They didn’t come from nowhere they were developments of ideas already used or adapted from previous projects. This is an important lesson to me. (I do have a tendency to re-invent the wheel) Maybe look at developing existing work and ideas rather than constantly exploring new ground.

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Installation by Chilean architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Feb 2014  Fine Art, Work in Progress @ RCA
This was the work of photography, sculpture and painting. Scrappy in places but interesting,  so much totally incomprehensible. Did like flower bed on a plinth (sculpture student) must have been made in a rectangular box which had then been removed and placed on a plinth of exactly the same size. Something about revealing the unseen maybe. The work generally was presented in an informal way….very few frames for example.

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Jan 2014  Drawing to Drawing @ Drawing Room
One day workshop with Claud Heath organised by Jack Southern as part of a series of seminars on drawing by various practitioners at Drawing Room. Claud’s method of working is to remove one of the main senses generally associated with drawing, sight and by so doing bypass the interfering brain saying, thats not right it should be a bit more like that.. etc. There were about 30 in the workshop. We spent the afternoon doing really good and interesting drawing exercises aimed at reducing inhibition (see portfolio) I have been interested in this way of working for a number of years and used it in my peer workshop. Claud has taken the idea and technology to great lengths, exploring not just 2D but 3D and 4D. In the drawings below he has used a small piece of blue tack as a datum point which give the drawings a visual focus.

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Jan 2014 Camilla’s workshop. This was at Wimbledon Station. I was really fascinated by what the others got from it, Israel had drawn quite small detail of the structure of the station. Ren had drawn people getting on and getting off trains, noting body language and colour of clothing. One of the group had drawn the footfall noting the pace of walking. I went with a pre-concieved idea to draw bikes. There is a big indoor bike rack. but first I drew the dark tunnel with light at the end of it.

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Jan 2014. ‘Drawing the bike’ project.

I’m now thinking that I may use this as my topic for Unit 3 CP Paper and my practice. There are a lot a really great bike images from the early part of the 20th century, when the bike was seen as one of the few inexpensive ways of escaping from the cities and urban pollution. The bike exudes freedom, relatively cheap, no fuel, and simple to maintain. In fact the modern bike made from non corrosive materials is almost indestructable. I plan to look at the potential for abstraction using the iconic image of the bike as the inspiration. I will also concentrate on details. Brakes, pedals, handlebars all seem to have great visual potential.

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There is something I like about Patricia Cain’s work. Semi abstraction of building sites, I  feel there is something similar with bikes in a bike rack.

Riverside-Museum-II-85-x-100-cm-Pastel-and-Acrylic-2009-150x150 Riverside-Museum-I-91.5-x-122-cm-Pastel-and-Acrylic-2009-150x150 Ropes-and-Steel-55-x-68cm-2012-150x150Leon Kossoff’s drawing of a building under construction could also be good reference.

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Dec 2013 Shoe Project.  My latest idea for Unit 3 topic for both the research paper and my practice is shoes.  I don’t particularly want to get involved in the fashion aspect as its a massive subject which could distract me.  I’m more interested in the wearing of shoes the human interface and what this does to them. The sociological aspects are also really interest but this begins to touch of fashion.

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01_Hannah_Ho_ch_Grotesque_1963 Hannah Hoch 1963

01 Roy Lichtenstein 1961 Oil on canvas Roy Lichtenstein 1961

vangogh_shoes1887c Van Gogh’s Shoes 1887. An extension of the owner.

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Dec 2013 Group Crit. I enjoyed Gavin’s installation (don’t seem to have a photo) but only really when he had explained it to me. Ren’s drawings of me in my workshop were amazing, quite stylised with constant line width and weight, they were also thoughtful and imaginative with the background containing the tools of my life in light orange receding behind the portrait.

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Dec 2013 Workshop at National Gallery

Colin Wiggins (art historian) spoke to the group for three hours about 6 paintings. They were Raphael (Catherine of Alexandra) and several other Raphaels. Tintoretto (Christ Washing the Feet of the Deciples) Seurat (Bathers at Asniere) Canalleto (Stonemasons Yard) and Rubens (Minerva protects Pax from Mais). During the day we did a project looking at, and drawing works with a view of the NG/Wimbledon exhibition. I drew Seurat (The Bathers) and Manet (Execution of Maximillion). I was thinking of doing an abstraction of the Manet

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Colin’s knowledge of the collection is impressive and interesting and full of what might be considered extraneous detail such as the Rubens canvas being enlarged as he had additional ideas. Details like the Raphaels use of perspective and positions of vanishing points was illuminating. It seems classical painting is loaded with symbols for example use of light and shade (good and evil) and fruit symbolising fertility  in Rubens’ (Minerva protects Pax from Mais). Colin described The Seurat as an exemplary painting almost like a musical composition with the classic diagonal bisecting the canvas and showing repetition of circles. triangles and tonal balance.
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Nov 2013 Drawing Lab – Scale with Tania

Having done a few very small drawings on cigarette papers, we then selected one image and folded it, creating 8 small squares. We then folded a piece of A1 paper creating eight rectangles but of different proportions. Our mini drawing was then transferred to the A1 paper using the folds as a grid. The effect was marked as the proportions changed significantly. I used compressed charcoal to created lines with sufficient width to represent the enlarged cigarette paper drawing. At the start of the process I felt a bit like I feel when experiencing audience participation – was I going to look silly? – was my mini drawing right? etc. As with all these things there was no right or wrong.

We then hung our A1’s on the wall making two ‘murals’ and collectively worked on the joint image. We didn’t confer, we just all got on with it. I did have an interest in the overall composition but basically I just let it happen. The results were impressive. I really enjoyed it in the end and had that feeling that art need not be result of intense thought and angst – there are other ways. I also thought scale is interesting its not just about drawing bigger the images take on a different meaning. Someone mentioned Gurnica.

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________________________________________________________________________Nov 2013 Peer Workshop – Feeling a Response- Lorraine Young

We all came to the workshop with a small object that could be held in the hand and a blindfold. My object was a pair of callipers. 1 Looking at the object describe in words.5 mins. and then using blindfold draw with dominant hand by feeling the object. 20 mins. 2 Using blindfold draw object with non dominant hand. 20 mins.  3  Remove blindfold and object and draw it from memory. 20 Mins.  4 Using blindfold draw object again. 20 mins.

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Drawing blind produced some really exciting images, not necessarily accurate but in many cases expressing the essential quality of the objects in a way that sighted drawings guite often don’t. The five minutes spent describing the object

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 
Dreary Ooze
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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