Archives for posts with tag: Bearspace

The end of summer. Time for Laboratory of Dark Matters take down at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum.

1710 The Forms

During the six week exhibition and many trips to the north east where we were made so welcome I became very fond of all those involved at the museum and the dramatic backdrop of the North Yorkshire coastline. Sad to pack the work away and leave.

1710 Diazôgraphô

Boulby Mine became a familiar sight and distinct reminder of the surreal journey underground and project conception over a year ago.

1710 Boulby Mine

It was a genuine coming together of disciplines and communities which I think we all gained from. Pinning my hopes for the future on similar undertakings.

1710 CIMM and EU nostalgia


We are better together.




Straight onto making new work for Deptford X Fringe show Supposedly Predictable Phenomena with [ALLOY] artists.

1710 etching plates

Etching 12 plates, then screen printing the centre circles as 4 colour separations. The printed images are from crystal ball photographs taken out in the woods.

1710 screenprint over etch

A portal for the imagination as well as a folding in of space.

1710 screenprint on aluminium

Meanwhile I was invited by The Institute of Physics to speak at the INTERACT conference in Birmingham. I was able to participate in some interesting workshops alongside the physicists  and listen to Jim Al-Khalili and Alice Roberts in conversation about the shifting perspective of the academic world in relation to public outreach and the role of women in the sciences.

I was introduced to The Planeterrella, an incredible artificial demonstration of the Northern Lights. The aurorae are created by charged particles from the Sun travelling along the Earth’s magnetic field lines and exciting our atmosphere.

1710 Planeterrella

In this experiment most of the air is sucked out of a glass chamber to recreate the conditions about 100km up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The large sphere represents the sun and the small sphere the Earth which contains a very strong magnet to represent its magnetic field. A voltage is sent from the Sun to the Earth to recreate the solar wind which excites the electrons in the field enough to give off light at characteristic frequencies.

1710 Planeterrella 2

Listened to Gravitational Waves

1710 Gravitational Waves

and picked up a useful leaflet on cosmic rays which were first discovered by Victor Hess in 1912 using an electroscope to measure ionising radiation in the atmosphere 5300 metres up in a hot air balloon. The higher up the higher the radiation therefore the effect must be caused by something extra-terrestrial.

1710 Victor Hess

One high energy primary cosmic ray gives rise to a cascading shower of secondary particles that scatter across the earth, colliding and decaying in a constant stream. Mostly passing straight through us and the matter around us but sometimes there will be a direct hit at a subatomic level from a particle having travelled from outside our galaxy.  1704 Cosmic Trail 3

Lizzie Cannon ‘Liminal Matter’ at The University of Greenwich explored the constantly shifting dynamic of the shore and its material.  Through the process of art-making, critical reflection and dialogue; this exhibition continues Lizzie’s research to address questions around human and nonhuman agency, temporal and spatial flows of matter and meaning, and an ontological fluidity that allows for an understanding of materiality as a reciprocal and generative relationship between humans and environment.

1710 Lizzie Cannon In Transition Detail 1

Lizzie Cannon detail of the mighty In transition

Wandered the set at South London Gallery of Tom Phillips IRMA: An Opera Opus XIIB. This 1969 mini opera was drawn from Tom Phillips magnum opus which was in turn born from an idea that he would alter every page of the first book he came across for 3d. W H Mallock’s 1892 novel A Human Document thus became A Humument. 

1710 Tom Phillips

1710 Tom Philips Humument.jpg

Further wanderings during London Open House weekend led to the architectural hybrid of Lloyd’s Register.

1710 Lloyds Register Open House

Hidden within the Richard Rogers glass and steel is Collcutt’s palazzo with grand marble staircase leading to the ornate General Committee Landing dominated by The Spirit of Maritime Commerce 

1710 Spirit of Maritime Commerce

and the bronze frieze sculpted by Frank Lynn Jenkins, inlaid with silver, mother of pearl, turquoise, coral and pearl.

1710 Lloyds Register Bronze Frieze 2

1710 Lloyds Register bronze Frieze

The landing opens onto the Italianate opulence of general committee room with its barrel vaulted ceiling and more exposed left breasts of various symbolic maidens

1710 Night

Lloyd’s Register was founded in 1760 in Lloyd’s Coffee House as a means of registering the seaworthiness of wooden commercial ships sailing from British ports. An attempt to plan and predict.

A tight turnaround from ideas, to making work, to installation of Supposedly Predictable Phenomena at no format Gallery in time for Deptford X.

Very happy to be showing alongside Jessie Sheffield and Lauren Ilsley. 1710 SPP 8

This was new work that investigates the themes of sequence and consequence

1710 SPP

Contained Nascent
Acrylic, wood, water, powdered minerals.
Lauren Ilsley, 2017

Apparently linear processes, psychological and physical, are rendered unpredictable and essentially chaotic due to their inherent and entangled sensitivity.

‘Supposedly predictable phenomena’ relates to the concept that if all contributing factors could be mapped and understood, then the outcome, theoretically, should be predictable.

1710 Jessie Sheffield

FixPoint 36
Steel mesh, wood, acrylic.
Jessie Sheffield, 2017

The results of this is a calculable universe and suggests a trajectory that is not only logical but also predetermined.

1710 SPP 2

Tools for Transition
Ceramic, aluminium, wood.
Lauren Ilsley, 2017

This raises the question of the alternative – Chaos Theory, and in turn free will.

1710 SPP 7

Etched aluminium, screen print. 12 pieces.
Susan Eyre, 2017

Duodeci – 12    mēns – minds……or Twelve thoughts, one from each multiverse

1710 ssp exhibition

no format gallery space worked well for us, if slightly on the edge of the festival bounds. It faces onto Propeller Foundry with 4 floors of artist studios many of which invoke studio envy with their big windows and vast spaces. Found a few old friends in here. There was some opportunity to head out to see some of the other work on show around Deptford.

Ambient Occlusion was another excellent curation at Gossamer Fog. Muted as the first step towards the synthesis of human and computer, the attraction of virtual reality evident by the queues to experience Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s Terractic Animism. It was terrific. Hyper-real. Which cannot be conveyed in this image or the Vimeo link demo.

1710 Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Other mesmerising work was Alan Warburton’s 3 channel video Primitives

1710 Alan Warburton primitives

and Katriona Beales video with mixed media Working Table II

1710 Katriona Beales (1)

Bearspace was showing Bella Easton Breath

1710 Bella Easton

colours slipping from muted to monochrome, an enveloping tangle pieced from oil painted linen still scented with the mediums of its construction.

In the bare bones of St Paul’s House Tom Ireland placed three screens showing voyages across the sea or the galaxies. The Heavens (Deptford Observatory) places the local dockyards and observatory at the centre of the universe from which we embark.

1710 tom Ireland.jpg

New Scientist Live 2017

1710 naked molerats.jpg

Best thing I saw in some ways was these extraordinary fanged tubes of flesh that hold the clues to longevity but I did feel for them being thrust under the spotlight. Exposed. Naked indeed.


Jane Ward at BEARSPACE

Jane Ward at BEARSPACE

Had the opportunity to meet Jane Ward whose work I have always admired at BEARSPACE. She was giving an informal talk about her working methods, how she chooses the images she then manipulates, her sources and inspirations.

She often uses aerial shots as a base from which she builds her imaginary worlds and the end result does have the feel of looking down, spiralling towards the ground as all perspectives are lost in a disorienting chaos. She says it is important that within this chaos there is space to escape and so always leaves an area of light in her work for this purpose.

Noa and Hannah had filled the walls of their beautiful Dulwich house with a wonderful selection of their paintings and prints. Each artist complementing the other as they both have a mystical quality to their work.

Noa Edwards

Noa Edwards

There is lots of space in their work for the viewer to become involved, Noa’s dark photograms have a ghost like ethereal haze making the images indistinct and alluring and Hannah’s colourful assemblages are joyous and expressive.

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson

Marking Time with Debbie Lyddon at the Crypt Gallery.

Debbie Lyddon

Debbie Lyddon

Through the use of materials Debbie investigates the possibility of expressing time passing through process and experience.

Debbie Lyddon  Bitumen Buckets

Debbie Lyddon Bitumen Buckets

Letting the material do its own thing. These bitumen coated canvas buckets filled with salt water had been left  to evaporate for 6 months but were having the process of crystallisation reversed in the damp environment of the Crypt.

Time is not linear.

Lizzie Cannon is also interested in materiality and has used her residency at Bow Arts to explore using porcelain in her practise.

Lizzie Cannon

Lizzie Cannon

Her delicate sculptures look like they might have been formed over thousands of years from dripping limestone, they have the strange forms and translucent quality of stalactites .

Lizzie Cannon

Lizzie Cannon

Creating work that blurs the boundaries between the organic and the inanimate she fuses materials and forms together confounding us with a mix of the unexpected yet vaguely familiar.

At the theatre it has been a mix of the political, politically correct and not.  I enjoyed Stuart Lee’s understated observations on the possibility of him voting conservative at the Loving Linda fundraiser for ovarian cancer. An evening of comedy in the wonderful Linda Smiths memory.

Linda Smith

Linda Smith

‘This House’ by James Graham playing at the National tells the tragic tale of the last days of the labour government pre Thatcher, the like of which will never be seen again – it didn’t seem appropriate somehow to well up at a political satire but it was heart-breaking stuff. All the more tragic in retrospect knowing now what was to come.

This House

This House

I had expected to well up at ‘Joe Egg’ but in fact it never really cut beneath the surface, written at a time when the language of disability had not been reformed it was slightly uncomfortable to listen to but as it was so dated it was hard to empathise and finally feel any real emotion. Top marks for the acting though.

Sally Tatum in Joe Egg

Sally Tatum in Joe Egg

The V&A had gone to town with their Bowie extravaganza – great use of location sensitive headphones adding the appropriate soundtrack.

1305 Bowie

He has wowed us all again this year with his new tracks and another collaboration with Tony Ousler to produce an enigmatic video.

Bowie and Ousler collaboration

Bowie and Ousler collaboration

I was interested to hear about Bowie’s lyric generator which spliced random articles together – a lot of it made no sense but there would be the odd phrase that would capture his imagination and from there he would begin to write. It seems a fun way to work, loving rules and lists it really appeals to me. I could make work from a random starting point each time or follow a method like with my food shopping where I buy the next thing on the shelf to what I bought last week. This removes all tedious decisions about what to cook and throws up lots of interesting combinations for meals forcing us to eat things we might never have tried. However, instead of randomly generating ideas I am trying to keep focused on what I believe to be the nub of my interests –  the cultural impact of our disconnection with nature. Thinking about the evolution of the first trees and what they looked like  I cut some ferns in the garden just as they were about to unfurl – I have scanned them and was really pleased with the detail. I am pressing them and hope to use them to make  monoprints over the iceberg collagraph.

1305 Fern

Have made a good investment in a plan chest – now that I am working on paper a fair bit.

1305 plan chest

So lovely to have tidy studio and somewhere to lay stuff out.

At Ochre I have been adding some more layers to the iceberg collagraphs.

1305 at Ochre

I am concerned that I have got a bit too seduced by the wonderful colours of the inks.

I am not really satisfied with the image  – need to think about this a bit more.

I am planning on adding a layer of printed organza over the trees to give more depth.

1305 dark trees

1305 light trees

I think I need to go back to a grayscale palette.

I have been working on a new stencil image for the forest, something which hopefully disrupts the landscape more  – and have been thinking about adding some beasts of the forest too.

Not worrying too much about historical accuracy but about the feeling of the forest being something menacing advancing across continents.

A more imaginary world.





Well since I have been exploring those forgotten childhood terrors I have had a seriously terrifying supernatural dream.

Not a fear of tidal waves, ‘public’ toilet, large spider anxiety type of dream but a real chiller.

I guess a lot of those fears are dormant under the surface still. Those boxes really do have chinks.

Coming up to a deadline for a piece of work has its own anxieties. The procrastination caused by fear of it all going wrong – delaying that possibility of disaster against the need to take the plunge so if it does go wrong you have time to fix it.

And there have been problems – the polyester I was transferring images onto turned out to have diagonal lines running through the fabric which only become visible when a dark ink is applied.

heatpress action

Also the quality of the organza I bought was not great. Curse Fabric World.  I wasted an afternoon in vain searching for better quality white polyester glass organza. Trawling Berwick Street & surrounds I finally found a shop that had some stock only to discover it was £29 a metre.  This must be where Marilene Oliver got hers for her piece Dervishes. I did ask her such a banal question when she came and gave a talk at Ochre. I remember Cathy de Monchaux’s advice in a talk she gave at Goldsmiths – always use the best materials you can afford.  It was gorgeous – really like liquid glass. I know where to go when I am making something special. For ‘Syndrome’ I really doubt I will get any money back from this so must be circumspect. Oxford Street John Lewis fabric dept. no better than Kingston. Brick Lane my salvation. I am aware that I talk a lot about trying to save money. Obviously I want to produce high quality work but in reality I know I’m not going to make the money back on it so I have to have limits.

In the same vein – more time & money wasted – the paper roll ordered via eBay from the Swedish Army surplus was creped! and rather crumpled. Not to be defeated I spent about 3 hours ironing it – well it was for trees, a little texture would be good. All in vain though, the surface was just too rough to take the ink. So a whole day wasted as well as the expense of the paper and studio time. Off to Atlantis, via Hamar for Perspex and Brick Lane for organza, to buy a roll of Fabriano 120gsm paper only to find on arrival they were out of stock. Could’ve cried so tired, managed to track some down at Cass Art in Islington but so much walking with purchases bound to my wheelie hold all, heavy and unwieldy it didn’t quite make it home in one piece.

Having purchased the paper I finally got to print the trees for my haunted forest at Ochre Studio.  An exhausting day grappling with A0 screens, very gloopy sublimation inks and metres of paper.

Lightbox images transferred onto polyester and organza are put on stretchers.

Lining up the images on silky polyester and slippy organza tests my patience and concentration.

Getting it together at last. Busy sanding and staining stretchers, cutting holes in boxes for connector cables, fitting ledges fr the perspex to sit on, fitting the LED lights and testing connections.

Have had lots of low points through material frustrations but the most flattening was the much anticipated but ultimately disappointing Time Out review of Exhibit C.

I could just not mention this. Only 2 stars for the show. The main complaint does seem to be with the curation and selection but it still feels personal, comments about my own work were non committal/condescending.

So I checked out the credentials of reviewer Friere Barnes.  Turns out she really admires Esther Teichmann so we have that in common – she also shares a lot of connections with me on LinkedIn.

Cheering to find some visitors to the show have given it a 4/5 star rating online even if some are the artists themselves!

One good upshot of this was I watched Esther Teichmann’s film ‘In Search Of Lightning‘ which is really beautiful.

Shame Freire Barnes didn’t rate the show and it does feel a public shaming but have to think about the next piece because the next piece is always going to be the one.

Listened to Audrey Niffennegger one of the guests talking on radio 4 in relation to the Japanese artist Hokusai about the artist’s drive to produce that one piece that fulfills the urge to create.  That it is a lifetimes endeavour is summed up by Hokusai who felt nothing he did before the age of 70 had any merit and if he lived to 140 he might finally be able to create something truly divine.

The harshest critic must be oneself.