‘Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden’

1401 Dad's garden

So it’s been a while since I last made a post on this blog.

It’s hard to keep up a diary sometimes when so much is happening.

I am going to try and keep it more current so that when I write about something it is still fairly fresh in my mind. I often feel I don’t have time to reflect on things so this space is a good discipline for that purpose.

Back to school after the Christmas break. It’s been a surreal time as my Father, a passionate gardener while he was able, passed away just before Christmas and this has meant my thoughts have been scattered in all sorts of directions.

Normality mostly, then tears. So my work is about ideas of paradise, still it is an abstract thought for me.

I have been working with a photograph taken in Paradise Road in Stockwell. The children’s playground there has plastic palm trees. The palm trees look like oversized Playmobil with added bolts.

Somehow I want to convey that even with a scene so far removed from an idyllic idea of paradise there is a space for imagination, for a glimpse to something else. There must always be an escape route.

I made some images for sublimation prints using greyscale but leaving a thin strip of  highly saturated colour and put these onto polyester.

1401 Paradise Road Stockwell sublimation print

I also screen printed the image in dark grey onto paper and then used monoprint directly onto the screen to add a thin strip of bright colours.

1401 Paradise Road Stockwell screen print

Art Lacuna Gallery near Clapham Junction are running a series of FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY exhibitions.  The first of which was paintings by Ralph Anderson.

I found these really interesting in the use of colour and how he works with greyscale and then adds the colour afterwards in a swirling spectrum of refracted light.


Now a catch up from November – a quick run through of  some of the exhibits I visited in The Giardini at the Venice Biennale.

The Giardini

The Giardini

Still lush in November.

Switzerland Pavilion

Switzerland Pavilion

We were blessed with amazing sunshine to add an extra dimension to the Swiss Pavilion.

1311 Russian Pavillion 3

The pile of husks in the Russian Pavilion had accumulated over the summer

Russian Pavilion

Russian Pavilion

The need for umbrellas was not quite so crucial this visit  as there was no longer a torrential downpour of gold coins from above but a stuttering trickle.

1311 Russian Pavillion

The coins have been circulated across the globe as each participant kept their souvenir

Russian Pavilion

Russian Pavilion

Only a few coins remain in the system.

Korean Pavilion

Korean Pavilion

The Korean Pavilion looks enticing with its kaleidoscopic lights and ritual shoe removal. Maybe it would better to only suppose what was inside

Somehow missed the Canadian Pavilion last visit

Canadian Pavlion

Shary Boyle ‘Ophiodea’

Using projections onto a stage set in a very dark setting the mood shifted

1311 Canada (5)

Shary Boyle

between dreamscapes

1311 Canada (4)

Shary Boyle

and stark illumination

1311 Canada (6)

Shary Boyle

As intended the elements had been at work in the Australian Pavilion spattering mud, releasing paper and rusting metal.

1311 Australian Pavilion (7) 1311 Australian Pavilion (6)

I was invited to look in the books stacked in the corner- the ageing pages had been cut into, hurrying their disintegration while creating new readings.

Australian Pavilion

Simryn Gill – Australian Pavilion

Enjoyed another blast of Sarah Sze in the American Pavilion.

1311 Sarah Sze 3

Sarah Sze

Fresh green moss.

1311 Sarah Sze 2

Sarah Sze

American Pavilion

American Pavilion – Sarah Sze

I was interested to look at the Shaker Gift Drawings. These drawings were believed to be created by sixteen shakers possessed by heavenly beings who offered a portal to view heaven itself.

Shaker Gift Drawing

Shaker Gift Drawing

Superfluous decoration was forbidden in the sect but these depictions inspired from heaven were exceptions and used to reflect life on earth in the shaker community.

The idea of The Encyclopaedic Palace which was the thinking behind the Central Pavilion this year was as a repository for all knowledge. With this all encompassing idea in mind the curator has included lots of outsider art.

There were many collections shown here which were never intended for such a setting, some quite private images on public display, all these manifestations of endeavour showing what a curious bunch we are.

The collection of houses made by an insurance clerk from Vienna are exhibited under the names of the artist and architect who found them in a junk shop.

They create a kind of suburbia to the destruction of Manhattan.

Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten ‘9-11-01’
The Houses of Peter Fritz

Jack Whitten’s huge memorial to 9/11 has a heavily textured surface.

It looks like it could be made of the very debris from the site.


Jack Whitten ’09-11-01′

The Netherlands – ‘Room with Broken Sentence’ shows a series of work by Mark Manders.

Mark Manders

Mark Manders

The windows are covered with newspaper giving an under construction look to the pavilion and inside too the theme of under construction continues with a casual studio in progress setting, polythene wrappings pushed aside, work propped or submissively sited which somehow emphasizes the power and scale of the big work

Mark Manders

Mark Manders

Couldn’t resist another trip into the undulating wombworld of Joana Vasconcelas

Portugese Pavilion

Portuguese Pavilion

Joana Vasconcelas

Joana Vasconcelas