Archives for the month of: April, 2013

Binformation and Collected Thoughts have been selected for the Surrey Contemporary 2013 which will be at River House Arts Centre in Walton on Thames from 29th May until 30th June.

1304 Binformation

‘Binformation’ considers what new geology might be formed from the cocktail of ingredients disposed of in our landfill sites.

This work was originally completed for an exhibition about pattern. I was thinking about patterns of behaviour as well as creating a pattern from the imagery.

I cycled round to all my friends and neighbours knocking on their doors and asking to photograph their kitchen bin.

I hadn’t realised beforehand how personal a request this was. There was a lot of offers to see the recycling instead and excuses for what was in the bin at the time.

Things have moved on a bit since those days – not so long ago really but the amount of recycling we do now has increased dramatically since 2008.

There will still be that  layer of plastic under the earth for future generations to mine. I used the photographs to create an idea of rock crystals forming from our waste.

We have all participated in a global experiment with unknown consequences.

1304 Binformation detail

The kitchen bin is a surprisingly private space often laden with guilt and there is a certain amount of voyeurism in seeing what other people have put in their bin.

‘Collected Thoughts’ draws on ideas of preservation and references the Victorian enthusiasm for creating romantic tableaux of the natural world held in glass domes.

1304 Collected Thoughts

A contemporary plastic food packaging tray replaces the glass dome distorting the view of an apparently idyllic scene caught against a grey urban backdrop as in a moment’s hazy daydream.

Something else fast becoming history as plastic trays are used less and less.

I went to hear Anya Gallacio talk at Whitechapel Gallery as part of the To Make a Tree series.

Anya Gallacio

Anya Gallacio

She was in conversation with Jon Thompson an ex Goldsmiths tutor and Phyllida Barlow.

The most memorable thing about the talk for me was the number of times she started her reply to a question with ‘I don’t know…’

There was little discussion about trees which I didn’t mind as I found the topic which the conversation  kept returning to of teaching methods at Goldsmiths and other art colleges to be interesting.

It seems even back in the YBA days things were harsh at Goldsmiths – Richard Wentworth told Anya to throw her work out of the window as it was rubbish.

Phyllida reminisced about having to pick up the pieces of emotionally destroyed students who had been locked in the notorious Room B at St Martins but escaped to Chelsea. I wish she had been my tutor as she sounded keen to develop a student not crush them.

Maybe it was all for the good and in Anya’s case gave her good grounding to stand up for herself at Damien’s Frieze when feeling sidelined with limited space to exhibit she poured lead directly on the floor. Since then she has enjoyed making work that lets the material speak for itself. Flowers that dry up, fruit that rots. She has recently completed a new work in Edinburgh ‘The Light Pours Out of Me’. An amethyst lined grotto cut into the earth and surrounded with black stone and the green of the woodland, she wanted it to be something people would stumble across and wonder whether they should enter. Enticed by the beauty but fearful of the jagged edges.

'The light pours out of me' Anya Gallacio

‘The light pours out of me’ Anya Gallacio

Laure Provost won the Max Mara art prize for women and has her work showing at Whitechapel Gallery.

Laure Provost

Laure Provost

It is an incredible sensual piece of work made during her residence in Italy and inspired by the rich history of the female bather.

The centre piece is a pink mouth opening repetitively to a soundtrack which suggests both orgasm and the gasp of entering cold water.

There are circling motions, direct eye contact, demure slipping into water, fresh raspberries proffered from large sculptural spoons, bounty and pleasure.

Laure Provost Swallow

Laure Provost Swallow

Back in the studio I have been continuing work on ‘Return of the Forests’.

I made relief plates for the iceberg collagraph and made new carborundum collagraph plates of the forest.

1304 forest collagraph
This time I sprayed the carborundum with Polyurethane varnish before coating with Shellac.

1304 iceberg
I made some prints with the iceberg collagraph and relief plates – the main problem was getting the inks pale enough. You only need a tiny bit of ink to extender.

1304 trees on iceberg

I test printed tree collagraphs, the detail wasn’t as fine as I had hoped but the murky atmosphere was quite effective.

1304 return of the forest

I also continued work on another collagraph – collaging two images together. The same background as I used in Graft i & ii of a gated car park entrance.

I spent some time drawing a shadow for the fantasy tree which I wanted to take root here. I wanted the shadow to be menacing and in the end went for it outright.

I drew the outline of a devil beast into the shadow and made a relief plate out of thin card.

1304 Shadow

I printed this over the collagraph and mounted it onto aluminium.

1304 mounting on aluminium

I kept looking at ‘Yellow Sky’ in different lights and decided that it really did need lighting from inside.

Yellow Sky

I tried testing the LED strip lights I have to see if they would light from a battery and found they did using a 9v
I trawled eBay for a switch for this and amazingly found someone who wires up LED strip lights to a 9v battery with a switch to a specified length of wire and all for £6.60 battery included!

1304 Yellow sky battery

The LED strip was only 20cm in length but this was perfect for the inset piece.

1304 yellow filter

Felt very clever when I fitted this. I had to cut a hole through the frame for the switch which took me all day with a small chisel and various dremel attachments.

I cut a small plate out of rigid plastic for the switch to sit on and so it is all very neat and no wires and plugs to deal with.

1304 switch

I gave the LED’s a yellow filter with film over acetate to match the yellow sky.

1304 Yellow sky back

I am excited by this whole process and what possibilities it offers. I need to find out how long a length of LED’s can be lit with a battery.

1304 Yellow Sky inset

I feel the work is more balanced now the inset piece is lit.

1304 Yellow sky lit

Had a super evening at Great Western Studios Private View.

An exhibition focusing on prints based on photographic imagery curated by Sumi Pereira and presented by Printmakers Council.

The exhibition aimed to show both traditional skills and innovatory printmaking techniques.

Lidija Antanasijevic

Lidija Antanasijevic

Lidija Antanasijevic explores raw emotion and inner energy seeking to give form to senses and experiences.

In this instance the wires add to the work.

Looked a vibrant place to work and show work.

Particularly enjoyed Chris Mercier’s work here.

Chris Mercier 'The Unraveler'

Chris Mercier ‘The Unraveler’


The bliss of ignorance. Those lovely few weeks when the future still held the possibility that I would be accepted on the printmaking course at the RCA.
I was expecting a letter so was unprepared to suddenly come across an email while at the studio idly checking my phone. It took at least 10 minutes before I could open it.
Scrolling down the tiny screen until I came to the numbing – very sorry…
Now I know how much I wanted it. No sense of relief about avoiding all the stress it will entail just a complete deflation.
I have however been put on the reserve list and am apparently very high up the list – now I just need a victim of circumstance – would that it could be someone who has decided to study elsewhere.
So there is still a tiny whiff of opportunity which could hang over me all summer.

But the important thing is to keep on making work.

Enjoyed my visit to see This Me of Mine at A.P.T especially as I got to chat with the curator Jane Boyer about the show.
It was one of those conversations where you end up in a silence of contemplation, wondering what the future holds and knowing it goes on regardless. Jane is concerned about the impact the digital age will have on our sense of identity. The exhibition is designed to creat a dialogue about the changes we might face in the future trying to maintain our identity and looks to personal stories, family connections and memories that anchor us to past and place. Leaving or creating an impression of ourselves and how that impression can be manipulated or misread.

Kate Murdoch - It's the little things

Kate Murdoch – It’s the little things

Kate Murdoch’s work ‘It’s the little things’ – a portrait of  her grandmother described by an assemblage of personal paraphernalia from her life caused a strong physical reaction in me – nostalgia is such a powerful emotion especially when it comes unexpectedly. Being confronted with a hair curler like my Mum used to wear and an ornament with cut glass coloured eyes like one I had when I was small was such a stomach lurching reel back through time. A younger person who doesn’t have those memories to evoke would have a very different experience of Kate’s work.

Anthony Boswell - Time Box

Anthony Boswell – Time Box

Anthony Boswell’s Time Box was clever and unexpected. Like a set from a film noir it draws you in and then catches you unawares turning the world upside-down as you come face to face with time.

Dahlstrom and Fattal showing at Beers Lambert was a stylish show. Culturally though I felt I seemed to miss something in the viewing.

Amir Fattal

Amir Fattal

Amir Fattal creates sculptures in a mid-century modern style. Clean and beautiful lines with fashionably retro light fittings.

Elevated, toppling trapped illuminated crystals like brains from a science fiction scenario.

Oystein Dahlstrom

Oystein Dahlstrom

Oystein Dahlstrom makes ‘digital renderings of the natural world that masquerade as truth’ We are to view these images not as photographs but as simulacra. They are fascinating works showing heightened detail as a celebration of materiality while giving the material no context.

Carlos Cruz Diez

Carlos Cruz Diez

Light Show at the Hayward Gallery was pure spectacle. A fairground of pulsating, flashing, glowing colours, clever illusions and optical trickery.

Leo Villareal and David Batchelor

Leo Villareal and David Batchelor

The subtle work of Katie Paterson was a calm moment allowing us to experience standing in the moonlight but indoors.

Lightbulb to simulate moonlight gives us a rare opportunity in the city.

1304 Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson

Olafur Eliasson’s model for a timeless garden drew an audible WOW on entry – it was a theatrical moment of pure joy.

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson

Rows of water fountains are frozen in unison under strobe lighting creating constantly changing sculptures. Natural phenomena captured. You enter this space after contemplating scenes of soldiers under fire and in combat, the matter of fact disclosure of horrific events on an ever rotating Reuters style news feed so the contrast of emotion is marked.

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer brought some serious reflection in her revolving towers of words of the accounts from declassified US government documents from the ‘war on terror’.

More illusions, time travel and identity crisis in Cloud Atlas.  Our lives are not our own. Through the ages our actions either good or evil count and carry events forward.

1304 Cloud Atlas
The film was bold and exciting. Clever use of film genres mimicked the varied literary styles of the novel and you didn’t have to wait till the end to make all connections as the eras were spliced together so it was easy to follow each plot line and still see parallels across time. It was worth seeing just to witness the amazing makeover each actor received when playing a different character in another age.

What is the ocean but a multitude of drops.