Archives for posts with tag: Charles Avery

These tiny dogs, examples of Victorian taxidermy, were on display at Hall Place in Bexley, Kent.

There is something so appealing about the miniature, but it questions our expectations when scale is distorted beyond what feels natural.

1309 Victorian Taxidermy (1)

Although there were attempts by the Victorians to breed such minute specimens these particular ones are fakes. An X-ray proves a lack of skeleton.

VictorianTaxidermy

VictorianTaxidermy

These strange little creatures were an appropriate taster for the exhibition ‘Beastly Hall’, inspired by the resident  topiary of the Queen’s Beasts.

The Queen's Beasts

The Queen’s Beasts

Originally carved in stone to commemorate the Queen’s coronation in 1953, these living sentinels are based on real and mythical creatures.

Artists had been selected for the exhibition who explored all aspects of what might be considered something ‘beastly’.

HyungKoo Lee works in reverse to the Victorian taxidermist – he creates a fake skeleton.

Hyungkoo Lee 'Ridicularis'

Hyungkoo Lee ‘Ridicularis’

Transporting Goofy from popular culture to natural history.

Carsten Holler’s Red Walrus has a cartoon appearance with its plasticised body and unnatural colouring.

Carsten Holler 'Red Walrus'

Carsten Holler ‘Red Walrus’

It has however been given human eyes which gaze out from within a fabricated world.

Joana Vasconcelos takes a kitsch ornament and adds another skin, a layer of decoration.

Joana Vasconcelos 'Flibbertigibbet'

Joana Vasconcelos ‘Flibbertigibbet’

We were told when we got our cat – it is not an ornament, don’t expect it to behave like one.

Thomas Grunfeld has created a whole series of ‘Misfits’ through mixing species.

1309 Thomas Grunfeld 2

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Questioning our manipulation of nature.

1309 Thomas Grunfeld 1

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Creating a modern mythology.

Thomas Grunfeld 'Misfits'

Thomas Grunfeld ‘Misfits’

Exploring the fear of genetic engineering and what it might create.

Polly Morgan doesn’t always deal in horror but in ‘Blue Fever’ the melding together of so many bodies through a thrashing of wings creates something disturbing.

Polly Morgan 'Blue Fever'

Polly Morgan ‘Blue Fever’

An entity that cannot breathe, suspended in continuous flight with no escape.

Tessa Farmer explores flesh under attack.

Tessa Farmer 'A wounded Herring Gull'

Tessa Farmer ‘A wounded Herring Gull’

Her trademark tiny skeletons in league with the insect world bring down a much larger life force.

Tessa Farmer

Tessa Farmer

Claire Morgan’s installation of blue bottles suspended in flight creates  a geometric order from an association of disgust, germs and disease.

Claire Morgan 'Heart of Darkness'

Claire Morgan ‘Heart of Darkness’

Damien Hirst puts the visceral into the kitsch.

Damien Hirst 'Sacred Heart (with hope)'

Damien Hirst ‘Sacred Heart (with hope)’

Hope and treachery are preserved in perpetual limbo.

I really liked Rachel Goodyear’s delicate drawings of spirits escaping earthly vessels.

Rachel Goodyear

Rachel Goodyear

Her drawings incorporate 3D paper cuts which flow out from and off the page.

Rachel Goodyear

Rachel Goodyear

Her organic ceramic pieces hold strange images, transitory moments like worrisome memories best tucked away.

Rachel Goodyear 'curling up into more comfortable positions'

Rachel Goodyear ‘curling up into more comfortable positions’

The spiritual theme is continued with Jodie Carey’s funeral flowers bleached of colour.

Jodie Carey

Jodie Carey

These flowers are made of plaster, chiffon and ground up bone,

Throughout the exhibition there is the uplifting sound of birdsong.

It comes from Matt Collishaw’s truncated tree trunks where LP’s mimicking the age rings of trees spin and fill the space with the sounds of woodland.

Matt Collishaw 'Total Recall'

Matt Collishaw ‘Total Recall’

The birds recorded are actually mimicking chain saws. With this knowledge the jolly suddenly becomes sinister.

Susie MacMurray filled a room with peacock feathers echoing the crowds drawn to watch the spectacle of the coronation.

Susie MacMurray 'Spectacle'

Susie MacMurray ‘Spectacle’

These fragile remains of the male peacocks display act as an unexpected barrier.

Susie MacMurray 'Spectacle'

Susie MacMurray ‘Spectacle’

The idea of the voyeur is further expressed by Francis Alys in his footage of a fox let loose in The National Portrait Gallery.

Francis Alys 'The Nightwatch'

Francis Alys ‘The Nightwatch’

Trapped and confined to relentless meanderings the fox is exposed to the sort of CCTV surveillance that we are subject to as we traverse the city while similarly unaware of our voyeurs.

Peter Blake’s ‘Tarzan Box’ from 1965 expresses a clash of cultures and clichéd fears of what the exotic might hold.

Peter Blake 'Tarzan Box'

Peter Blake ‘Tarzan Box’

The exploration of dark spaces could reveal fantastical creatures of horror.

Charles Avery 'Duculi (The Indescribable)'

Charles Avery ‘Duculi (The Indescribable)’

There were also lots of artists showing at the Venice Biennale who engage in fantasy and myth.

Levi Fisher Ames sculpted his fantastical creatures in wood and displayed them as specimens in glass cases.

Levi Fisher Ames

Levi Fisher Ames

‘Animals Wild and Tame – Whittled Out of Wood – Nothing Like It Shown Anywhere’

Levi Fisher Ames

Levi Fisher Ames

Ames took his collection on tour around Wisconsin in the 1880’s telling outlandish tales about his creatures to his audience while simultaneously  carving more figures.

Severely autistic Shinichi Sawada has created a very personal mythology with his clay figures.

Shinichi Sawada

Shinichi Sawada

These beasts look like they come from a ritualistic and totemic past, but are recent creations, combining spiky defence in a fragile form.

Domenico Gnoli’s beasts also ‘hail from a vast storehouse in the human imagination’.

Domenico Gnoli

Domenico Gnoli

His series of drawings ‘What is a Monster’ from 1967 place surrealist creatures into everyday settings.

Anna Zemankova is growing flowers that are not grown anywhere else.

Anna Zemankova

Anna Zemankova

Produced during frantic early morning reveries she allowed her mind to flow freely recalling cultural influences entwined in her fantasies.

Ivan Morison also loves to create myths. His talk at the Whitechapel Gallery was peppered with stories of the fantastical, almost believable sort. Is there really a village in Italy that strings goats up from a tree and shoots at them? Was the world’s biggest dinosaur really the victim of arson?    Storytelling is part of the work and has been formalised in the traveling puppet theatre of Mr Clevver, based on a character from the post-apocalyptic novel, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban.

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Another of the Morrison’s escape vehicles. They travel through rural landscapes setting up camp unannounced and putting on a show to whichever locals turn up..

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Heather and Ivan Morrison

Telling stories that blend factual recall with fiction, merging information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and also the lives of people they encounter.
Out of its time, part medieval part futuristic, Mr Clevver is an evolving work about the coming together of different people in differing places.

'Mr Clevver' Ivan and Heather Morrison

‘Mr Clevver’ Ivan and Heather Morrison

Kay Harwood showing at Simon Oldfield Gallery also deals in mystery and suggestion.

Kay Harwood

Kay Harwood

Exploring iconography and mythology her paintings have a wonderful pure surface, like porcelain. The muted and restricted palette gives a timeless quality.

Kay Harwood

Kay Harwood

These men look like contemporary apostles in meditation on some spiritual truth.

The quest for inner retrospection. A solitary wanderer.

I wanted to capture something of an enchanted wood in these images.

These are screen prints with sublimation inks transferred onto polyester. I printed 3 layers separately onto paper and then heat-pressed them on top of each other blending the colours.

1309 woods

Layering the shadow of a rose garden on organza over the grey woods.
I have been thinking about whether to add a figure in the woods.

Also have been working on one ‘return of the forest ‘ collagraph, cutting sublimation printed organza onto the collagraph.

The forests disappeared under the advancing ice and then reappeared as the ice retreated.

Going back to a time before civilization, before religion. Right back to the beginning to see where the first dislocation took place, looking back for the myth of living in harmony with nature in some idyllic context and the start of nostalgia.

1309 return of the forest

Thinking about fantastical creatures and myth has been helpful for the new work I am planning about beasts of the forest.

Tumbling through time
1307 Tardis-in-Space

Space has been a bit of a theme in my recent excursions – in a sense of delineating a space architecturally as Charles Avery does in his precise drawings of an imagined world; in the exploration of space examined through Cristina De Middel’s photographs of ‘Afronauts’ which also play into ideas of sci-fi as does Jess Littlewood in her fictional landscapes; in attempting to make the unknowable palpable, Luci Eldrige has used radar imaging of Venus undertaken by NASA and translated it into richly coloured etchings. Then there is the space where the making takes place – the art institution.

The RCA SHOW has come around again.

RCA SHOW 2013

RCA SHOW 2013

This year the experience was heightened by the possibility that I may one day get the chance to participate in the creative dialogue of this institution.

Look at that amazing space for making.

RCA printroom

RCA print room

Since my application and interview in March I have received some really positive feedback from Jo Stockham the head of the printmaking course.
I have been encouraged to apply again next year if a place doesn’t become available for me this year so I was keen to see what the current graduates were exhibiting and if I could see progression from the exhibition they had in spring at Café Gallery Projects.

A favourite was Luci Eldridge. Fascinated by the ‘invisible visions’ acquired through the use of science’s cybernetic eye, she is captivated by images of lands we cannot empirically experience.

Luci Eldrige - four colour photo etching

Luci Eldrige – four colour photo etching

I also identified with the work of Jessica Wallis ‘The History of the End of the World’

Jessica Wallis - Book Cover Series

Jessica Wallis – Book Cover Series

Jessica Wallis - Formula for disaster DVD

Jessica Wallis – Formula for disaster DVD

Jessica Wallis - Formula for disaster dvd

Jessica Wallis – Formula for disaster dvd

I was intrigued by the films of Nicola Thomas – ‘Imitation’ and ‘ Dancing with Monk’ and her etched prints from The Look Series were captivating.

Nicola Thomas - Carole #3 etched print

Nicola Thomas – Carole #3
etched print

Bee Flowers work has a feel of the mausoleum

Bee Flowers - plaster acrylic

Bee Flowers – plaster acrylic

Alice Hartley must have had some upsetting school reports

Alice Hartley - screenprint on blue black paper

Alice Hartley – screen print on blue black paper

Elizabeth Hayley’s prints on brass had a wonderful quality of time passed

Elizabeth Hayley - silver gelatin on brass

Elizabeth Hayley – silver gelatin on brass

Yanna Soares - Loom of Neith - silk embroidery on etchings, cotton thread, wood

Yanna Soares – Loom of Neith – silk embroidery on etchings, cotton thread, wood

Liz Lake - run aground

Liz Lake – run aground

Hannah Thual - between exposed and concealed

Hannah Thual – between exposed and concealed

I realise I must have missed some of the printmaking exhibits.

From Painting I really related to the work of Zoe De Soumagnat

Zoe De Soumagnat - Al Fresco

Zoe De Soumagnat – Al Fresco

Zoe De Soumagnat - Black Painting. tasty

Zoe De Soumagnat – Black Painting. tasty

Tomie Seo - All in a vision and Court of Regulation

Tomie Seo – All in a vision and Court of Regulation

Lian Zhang - oil on board

Lian Zhang – oil on board

From Sculpture discipline I really liked how the paper constructions of Yana Naidenov looked like concrete

Yana Naidenov - rammed paper pulp

Yana Naidenov – rammed paper pulp

The materiality of Virgile Ittah’s sculptures were also intriguing, and rather unsettling

Virgile Ittah - For man would remember each murmur - fabric, mixed wax

Virgile Ittah – For man would remember each murmur – fabric, mixed wax

The Lilliputian sculptures of Sun Lah stood out

Sun Lah - wood and pastel

Sun Lah – wood and pastel

Observing from a distance

Sun Lah

Sun Lah

Loved this little projection from Lucy Joyce

Lucy Joyce - Gold House - video

Lucy Joyce – Gold House – video

Lina Lapelyte - Candy Shop

Lina Lapelyte – Candy Shop

I liked photography student Julio Galeote’s work

Julio Galeote - excess

Julio Galeote – excess

The Charlie Dutton Photo and Print Open Salon had a really strong selection of work, it was tightly hung but as the work was all so strong it wasn’t a case of your eye skimming the wall and only taking in one or two pieces.

I was fascinated by a lot of the work showing and noticed Luci Eldridge had a couple of pieces in the show.

Luci Eldridge - The Invisible Sky

Luci Eldridge – The Invisible Sky

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson

Adam Dix - Be As One - screenprint

Adam Dix – Be As One – screenprint

Frances Disley - Little Boy Lost - reduction lino cut

Frances Disley – Little Boy Lost – reduction lino cut

Alex Lawler - Celestial Navigation  - print on chiffon

Alex Lawler – Celestial Navigation – print on chiffon

Harry Meadows - Medallion

Harry Meadows – Medallion

I have often found that in the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize show there is one clear winner for me but this year all 4 candidates drew me in and inspired me.

No Man’s Land is shot entirely with Google Street View. The coordinates for prostitutes operating in remote locations were picked up from internet chat rooms.

Henner’s method of online intelligence-gathering results in an unsettling reflection on surveillance, voyeurism and the contemporary landscape.

Mishka Henner - No Man's Land

Mishka Henner – No Man’s Land

Chris Killip documents the disintegration of the industrial landscape through the people that live there.

Chris Killip- What Happened - Great Britain 1970 - 1990

Chris Killip- What Happened – Great Britain 1970 – 1990

‘War Primer 2’ reimagines the pages of Bertold Brecht’s 1955 publication ‘War Primer’. Brecht’s book was a collection of photos and newspaper clippings that were paired with a four line poem.

Broomberg and Chanarin have layered google search results for the poems over the original images. The results are extraordinary.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin - War Primer 2

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin – War Primer 2

In 1964 Zambia started a space programme to send the first African astronaut to the moon.

Cristina De Middel - The Afronauts

Cristina De Middel – The Afronauts

Through photographs, manipulated documents, drawings and letters  De Middel presents a folkloric tale which blurs myths and truths. Great costumes and funky fabrics.

Cristina De Middel

Cristina De Middel

Jess Littlewood’s prints showing at BEARSPACE have a wonderful sci-fi quality without them being too unbelievable. There is a common motif of a pentagon, a makeshift habitat and an opening through to a stellar sky. They speak of new beginnings from dystopian endings.

Jess Littlewood - The Dissolution of Mother Island

Jess Littlewood – The Dissolution of Mother Island

Central to the exhibition, The Dissolution of Mother Island maps the inevitable collapse of the founding commune and the emergence of a new epoch, defined by five new derivative sects. Each sect inhabits a new island, and looking to the future each attempt to establish a unique society whilst never achieving true autonomy.

The further five exhibited works act as chapter headings, describing each sect and their specific obsessions. All maintain a fixation with the shrine like shelters of their past, highlighting futility in their attempts for individualism. These five new islands will now act as anthropological testing grounds in which Littlewood can explore the parameters and tendencies of human behaviour.

Littlewoods otherworldly landscapes are the product of extensive collecting, collating and archiving of images. Working digitally Littlewood builds layer upon layer of found imagery, the final outcome a window into an alternative world.

Jess Littlewood - Island Folly

Jess Littlewood – Island Folly

Wow, what a mind Charles Avery has.

Charles Avery View of the Port - from The Islanders

Charles Avery View of the Port – from The Islanders

He talks at a fast pace about the world that he describes through his expressive drawings, writing and sculptures. He has considered so much more about his imaginary world than most people ever consider about the one they actually inhabit. He has models of the island in his studio so that when drawing a new scene he is aware whether there should be a tower in the background or not. He knows where the toilets , the kitchens, the lifts are in buildings that are never more described than as background facade in a scene. This world is built on mathematical principles and animated with philosophical debate. Space is mapped out precisely in both the built environment and the geographical relationships but time in the concept as we understand it does not apply – events happen, time is not linear.

It was fascinating to hear about his process of creation at Whitechapel Gallery as part of the To Make A Tree programme.

Charles Avery

Charles Avery

The trees in jardindagade are based on a mathematical formula.  He told us how hard it was to devise a formula for a willow tree to be well balanced and the leaves not to fall and tangle with each other. He decided to go outside and see how a real tree coped with this problem and found that it didn’t, it was messy and tangled, but it didn’t fall over.

He has ambitions to build the whole of jardindagade as an immersive installation –  let’s hope someone with some money was listening.