Studio work – synthetic textiles on board

A day of contrasts was spent viewing the Turner Prize and The Pre-Raphaelites (Victorian Avant-Garde) at Tate Britain.

Luke Fowler was the favourite for me, I found his film ‘All Divided Selves’ about R.D. Laing fascinating enough to want to see it all and it was 98 mins long.

Then I liked Elizabeth Price video about the Woolworth’s fire. The clapping like the crackle of the fire building the drama of the story.

While I did appreciate the technical accomplishments of Paul Noble’s drawings they made me feel a bit queasy. All that amorphous flesh and the tilting perspective of his buildings gave me sea legs.

I did like the simplicity and characterful nature of his sculptures though. The Spartacus Chetwynd performance was a bit mystifying. I do like a theatrical event but the short episode with the puppets left the audience unsure if we had witnessed anything or not. I suppose I expected something a bit alarming – like if Beetlejuice turned up.

Since starting this blog the winner of the Turner prize has been announced. I am happy Elizabeth Price won. I think hers is a work I could go back to again and get more from.

The block buster pre-raphaelites show was heaving with people and with the gaudy reds greens and golds, general sumptuousness and crammed walls gave it an air of a Christmas market.

It was all a bit much, I started to feel the subjects in the paintings were only there to drape a fabric over to show off the skilful rendition of coarse cheesecloth or silky satins.

I thought I would be more drawn in to the romance of it all to connect with my own ideas of nostalgia for a natural world vanishing before us but in the end everything felt too solid, too defined.

There are common points I feel in what they were attempting with their saccharine high-definition paintings and what I am interested in; the search for the sublime,  the tension between the physical and emotional experience of our surroundings and how the imagination conjures idealistic fantasies to embellish an impoverished reality, all this intensified by events happening that are beyond the control of the individual but which impact on everyone, back then it was the industrial revolution and as a consequence of that now it is climate change and dwindling natural resources.

Saw ‘Ignorance/Jahiliyyah’ at Hampstead Theatre.  Despite being uncertain of the context the powerful performances made it compelling to watch. This play is about the clash of cultures, looking at an event in the past from two opposing perspectives. The total belief in a paradise and the total disbelief. A huge chasm to cross.

Another thought provoking theatre experience was ‘The Effect’ – a brilliant sharp script and vigorous acting made an emotional impact. How far can we trust our thoughts when we start to add chemicals. This play questions normality and our perceptions.

The RCA Open Day left me fired up and really wanting to go. The new premises are vast and crammed with all sorts of wonderful machinery.

The big change from last year to this year is the portfolio requirements. Now it all has to fit in an A1 folder so my plans to build a wheel along trolley with all my work including lightboxes slotted in has had to be drastically revised.

I have a new plan now – a nice deep folder with foam padding for 4 sample pieces on wood, a concertina book of exhibition photos, a small layered piece to be held up to the light and the rest as photos.

I have been struggling with my statement, trying to get the words to below 500 while making all the points I think I need to mention. I’m not sure if I have been specific or clear enough about my goals and there are things I want to mention but there isn’t room. They did say getting an interview is based on the portfolio so I must get that looking smart.

It has been good to spend some time really thinking about my practice and trying to clarify my thoughts. This was given a boost by a small group engine chat chat meeting at the Biscuit Factory. All but one were ex Goldsmiths students in need of a supportive framework for critique which is something Elizabeth Murton is very good at.

On the way there I called into Another Room and saw the evocative installation of Juliette Losq. The setting in the dilapidated Georgian property was perfect, it was like the wall had fallen away to reveal an otherworldly vista.

121121 Juliette Losq (1)

Juliette Losq

Like stepping into a dream or the sepia tinted past it was very beautiful and enigmatic.

Another favourite artist I got the chance to see was Suzanne Moxhay ‘The Aftermath’ at Bearspace.

Suzanne Moxhay

Suzanne Moxhay

This is a new series of photographic work ‘Penumbra’.

Her images have an epic quality which comes from her use of light and shadow to give drama to an unpreposessing scene but also to give away the constructed nature of the image.

Landscape becomes stage-set, the mundane becomes mystical.