Archives for posts with tag: Dark Matter Studio

Back to etching. Have completed an intro/induction at Thames Barrier Print Studio so am now good to go with new work. 1603 aluminium plateTried aluminium in saline sulphate which gives a really deep etch. Used stop out and painting into hot hard ground. Was good to play around with new materials and get some tips from resident expert etcher Nick Richards. 1603 stop out

This primer from Wilkinsons is cheap and works well as a stop out solution. The etchings I had done before were all on steel with soft ground, I love the deep rich tones from steel but am trying a new piece of work on zinc with hard ground with should give me a more precise line.

1603 etching plate




This work is inspired by the idea of gravitational waves and grains of space which is one of the lessons in Carlo Rovelli’s book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. It’s taking a while to cover the plate in the dots. I’m not sure when it’s all done if the wave pattern will disappear.


Michael Doser’s keynote paper Seeing Antimatter Disappear at the symposium Shadow Without Object  gave an insight into how the study of gravity acting on antimatter may help explain why it has disappeared. As a research physicist at CERN he is engaged is trying to discover why there is not the same amount of antimatter as matter in the universe and why what little there is remains clumped at the centre of our milky way galaxy. I asked him if antimatter was considered part of the 5% of the visible world of matter and I think he said that it was as it interacts with photons and fundamental forces.

1603 Michael Doser

Although gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces its impact on the parabolic flight of anti-hydrogen atoms can be witnessed by using emulsion on a photographic plate which records the particle collision. Using photographic emulsion gives a far more accurate and sensitive result than any digital recording device could.

1603 anti proton imaging.jpg

He said some confounding things – that antimatter emits light exactly like normal matter so you can photograph it but you only see it when it annihilates. So we don’t actually see the antiprotons just the trace of the aftermath of their disappearance left in the photo emulsion on the plate. Working at quantum scales the collision of the proton into the emulsion is digitally scanned and a 3d image stacked up to reveal a starburst. The starburst is the locus of disappearance.

Cosmic rays coming from remote stars hit our atmosphere and produce showers of particles that plough through our bodies – these can be seen using cloud chambers which are detectors that track the particles. The unseen activity of the universe made visible. This is something I am hoping to see when we visit the underground laboratories at Boulby.

1603 cloud chamber particles.jpg

At the talk Are We Darkened by the Light? at Tate Modern architect Asif Khan had brought along a sample of the darkest material on earth – a Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array. This material was made as a reference for noise images which aim to establish what black should be when looking at a camera chip to remove interference. This material is so black because it absorbs all the photons of light rather than bouncing some back to our eyes.

1512 darkest matter

I wonder if all the photons stay in this material when they are absorbed. Does it fill up with photons?  Does it get hot in there?  Planck’s constant states every hot object emits light, how does that fit in?

Also at Tate Modern was In/Visibility a work by Vinita Khanna that uses a polarising filter to conceal and reveal the colours in a copy of Gustav Klimt’s painting Portrait of Frau Adele Bloch Bauer.

1602  InVisibility

Vinita Khanna In/Visibility

Choosing an image that we are all familiar with, yet most of us have never seen the original, Vinita Khanna comments on the intangible nature of vision demonstrating the invisible made visible. Humans treat their vision as absolute, when in fact the bulk of our perceived reality is generated by our brains.

1603 Clare Muireann Murphy

Clare Muireann Murphy is a brilliant story teller. She was performing her new work Universe at The Crick Crack Club event upstairs at Soho Theatre. Colliding the science of the big bang (cracking of the cosmic egg) with mythical tales of a goddess tumbling from the skies into a watery world to be rescued by a fearless turtle who then gets turned into a magical lyre that plays the music of the cosmos passing from god to mortal. Clare creates a place of wonder and insight where time stretches and a fissure opens that builds a dream bridge between many worlds…

1601 Repetition Variation

Julian Page presented a group show at Clerkenwell Gallery with a strong sense of the material world. Layers, grids, clusters, networks and stacks – great pictures here:  Repetition Variation.  Having watched the steady growth of Stack while sharing a studio space with Amy Gear at the RCA I have a great affection for this piece.

Stack is an encounter with mass.

Repetition celebrates editions in the print fest Multiplied at Christies. A jostle of galleries showing their wares. The RCA gets a stand showcasing alumni with recent graduates. I had one sculpture from everydaymatters showing. It looks obvious in this picture but it was surprising how people just didn’t see it. It was about the only work not on the wall and when the room was packed it disappeared in the crowd. Invisible matter.1602 RCA  mulltipliedI was pleased to have two variable editions of Paradise Road sw4 shown by Dark Matter Studio in a grouping with work by Zoe Dorelli, Mary Yacoob, Marianne Walker and Patrick Jackson – The Inner City Pilgrims. A new collaborative project I am involved with whose aim is to re-mystify the city.

1602 Dark Matter at Multiplied

Katharina Grosse has been interrogating space in relation to her paintings such as  ‘Untitled Trumpet’ which have expanded to the point that you can walk through them.

1601 Venice Katherina Grosse  (2)

Katharina Grosse Untitled  (Trumpet)

From the experience of having a painting transferred from canvas to silk she was inspired by the folds in the fabric. Folds in space.

1601 Venice Katherina Grosse  (1)

Katharina Grosse Untitled (Trumpet)

A fold in space could theoretically, allow a short cut from one place to another.

1601 wormholeA wormhole has two mouths and a throat. For travel to be possible, wormholes would need to be full of exotic matter, that is to say a non-baryonic matter like dark matter i.e. not made of the stuff we are made of. It is as yet another unknown.

How we move through space and interact with the architecture that surrounds us was explored in Mimesis  at Westminster Reference Library.

“Mimesis produces mere ‘phantoms’, not real things. It is at once dependent and deluded, just as a mirror is empty and inessential without something to reflect.” – Matthew Potolsky

1602 Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow and Evy Jokhova have been considering how image and architectural form influence the way we read our world; how cognition can cloud and clarify and how association can attack an image or experience, or stand apart, apparently neutral and transparent.

1602 Evy Johkova 3

Evy Jokhova

Mimesis created an unstable environment of wobbly furniture, erased images and material associations where the chalky surface of architectural columns turn out to be constructed from Brie.

This is the playful mimic undermining the authority of grand architecture and opening a space to question our surroundings by subverting expectations of form.

I was introduced to the beautiful work of Ben Cove at Multiplied and then visited his exhibition Modern Language at Peter Von Kant Gallery.

Architectural devices are made symbols. Flat surfaces deceive the eye with shadow and form. Clean, sharp colours zing against black and white images drawing the eye backward and forward shifting us in space and in time. It’s a dynamic experience. Having read a lot lately about how there is no empty space, there is no void, I can feel here that all space is packed with information and all is connected through space time.

For her archaeological installation Wrong Way Time in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Fiona Hall filled the room with an ecology of objects that tell the story of civilization from primal beliefs in magic and animism through capitalism, global economic collapse and climate change leaving us with the challenge of facing the end of anthropocentrism.

1601 Venice Australia Fiona Hall (2)

Fiona Hall

She trusts in our sense of wonder and imagination that can see life forms in sculpted drift wood to see a world not of exploitation but of symbiosis.

1601 Venice Australia Fiona Hall (3)

Fiona Hall

In the French Pavilion Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s work also activated primal beliefs that animals, plants, and inanimate objects possess a spiritual essence. In transHUmUs an arboreal dance reintroduces us to a latent anthropomorphism. The trees glide around directed by their own metabolism with their truncated roots exposed on their islands of dirt, like isolated protesters quietly demonstrating.

1601 Venice France Celeste Boursier-Mougenot (2).jpg

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot transHUmUS

In the beginning…the word became flesh. The vertical-transcendent dimension of the Logos – the word of God from above and the horizontal-immanent dimension of the flesh below were the axes of research put forward by the Holy See as participant in the Venice Biennale 2105.  Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva created ‘Haruspex’ in this context.

1602 Venice Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Haruspex

Using the raw flesh of pig’s caul, sheep’s intestine and cow’s stomach she weaves a canopy, an enclosure, a net, a trap, a sanctuary. It’s meaning oscillates as does the beauty and horror of its materiality. We must read the omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals.

Pamela Rosenkranz questions what it means to be human in a digital age. The anthropocentric bias of humanism is challenged when subject and object are impossible to separate. Our physical and psychic being is undergoing a transformation by the new materials that we wear, inject, subsume.

1601 Switzerland Pamela Rosenkranz (1)

Pamela Rosenkranz Simulation

The glowing wet body of synthetic liquid designed to replicate a particular skin colour floods the Swiss Pavilion with a sickly sweetness that has a back flavour of the murder victim’s chemical bath.





Beguile the Night exhibition at Dark Matter Studio had quite a spiritual ambience.

Gary Colclough Uprooted

Gary Colclough Uprooted

The quiet and solitude of after dark meanderings in creative processes came across in a collection of work imbued with mystery.

Patrick Jackson Companion of Odysseus, Fleeing the Blinded Polyphemus

Patrick Jackson Companion of Odysseus, Fleeing the Blinded Polyphemus

The intensity of a directed concentration was evident in an opening up of space to reflect and wonder.

Mary Yacoub Proposal for Modernist Teepee in Poured Concrete

Mary Yacoub Proposal for Modernist Teepee in Poured Concrete

Marianne Walker Grotta (Neo-Delphic)

Marianne Walker Grotta (Neo-Delphic)

Zoe Dorelli The Division of the Waters

Zoe Dorelli The Division of the Waters

The exhibition Stranger than Fiction at the Science Museum was billed as questioning the truth and reliability of photographs.

Fauna - Joan Fontcuberta

Fauna – Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta is supposedly setting up a fiction that, through documentation, the viewer is lulled into believing.

The fauna series is both visually striking and disappointing. Bad taxidermy and impossible juxtapositions create sad undignified rather then magical creatures.

In some of the black and white aged photographs there might be something fantastical to be grasped at

Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta

but placing the evidence of the constructed enigma next to the documentation means all illusion vanishes.

This may be the intention.

Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta

The Orogenesis and Constallations seires were more rewarding for me, using a more subtle intervention in photography resulted in dramatic landscapes that you could get lost in.

The annual Deptford X festival proved an opportunity to catch up with new friends met though the neo:print prize.

Kaori Homma presented an interactive performance in the square as part of her ongoing interest in the conventions of the east/west divide set by the meridian line at Greenwich.

Homma Meridian

Homma Meridian – Deptford X

Carol Wyss was showing her beautiful large etchings in a summer house in the green and tangled setting of Old Tidemill Wildlife garden.

Carol Wyss

Carol Wyss

Carol constructs her etchings from images of human bones, building up the form with multiples of shoulder blades or tibia.

Also in the wild garden was artist Anita Gwynn with her detailed mono prints installed inside a polytunnel.

Anita Gwynn

Anita Gwynn

In the crypt of the magnificent St. Pauls Church in Deptford were 2014 Art Action UK award winners Komori & Seo showing their moving new work derived from working among the victims of the 2011 Tsunami and nuclear fallout disaster in Japan ‘Moving the Mountain’

Seo and Kamori Moving the Mountain

Seo and Kamori Moving the Mountain

We watch a woman returning to where her childhood town once stood, where her parents were swept away along with her neighbours and all the buildings, but not her memories. She washes and folds her parents clothes over and over, trying to dislodge all the sand from the fibres knowing every tear and abrasion in the fabric represents a trauma to her parents bodies during their violent death.

Read more here Art Action.

The magnitude of the loss has the same incredulity as a myth, how can a whole community be swept away so suddenly and with such force. The machinations of the gods seen in the power of nature.

The stories that Xanthe Gresham-Knight tells also hold you in awe. In her stories people are searching too. Searching for truth, searching for paradise.

I have been introduced to the wonderful Treadwell’s Bookshop. A bit late for my dissertation research but for future interests it promises information on any aspect of Western pagan spirituality or the esoteric traditions of Europe.

1410 Treadwells

Downstairs with wine and snacks Xanthe gave an amazing physical performance of hypnotic singing, playing the accordion and morphing into a myriad of characaters.

She tells of Celtic poets who would make a boat from the flash of a teardrop and sail out to the Land of the Ever Young in search of a goddess.

Centuries later, a man, desperately googling for a Paradise Bride accidentally summons ‘Her’ again. …  ancient myths of Britain and Ireland collide with the modern world.

It couldn’t have been more apt, a collision of ancient and modern still searching for paradise.

More storytelling at Holborn Library with Jose Damasceno’s PLOT an Artangel commission.

Local authority libraries on the whole are not very inspiring environments. On the ground floor the architectural figures on the ceiling and decimated encyclopeadias did not manage to compete with the setting.

It wasn’t until we reached the fourth floor that we were suddenly transported into the drama of a possible plot.

1410 Jose Damasceno 2

A bizarre empty theatre space of panelled wood and reflections

Jose Damasceno

Jose Damasceno

lit with the pink fluoerescne escaping from the small high windows of a room where a neon sculpture is held and is only made visible via a monitor in the outside corridor.

Jose Damasceno

Jose Damasceno

Another world  where the laws of physics appear overturned is the digital space.

Digital Revolution at The Barbican

Digital Revolution at The Barbican

Our known perceptions of landscape are challenged here. debut artwork with Yuri Suzuki debut artwork with Yuri Suzuki

There was spectacle in immersive scale allowing you to physically enter the space

1410 Digital Revolution 2

and engage with common fantasies

communicating with other species

1410 Digital Revolution 1410 Digital Revolution 1

being plunged into a drama set in the place of your birth

even Kessingland

1410 Digital Revolution 7

or being transformed into a bird and flying

Chris Milk The Treachery of Sanctuary

Chris Milk The Treachery of Sanctuary

There was a reminder of research from my dissertation –

1410 Digital Revolution 0

the dystopian future of London in Kibwe Tavare’s short film, Robots of Brixton

Robots of Brixton

Robots of Brixton

I didn’t end up writing about the film but it made me want to see it and it kind of fitted with ideas of urban bad/rural good that abound through the ages.

The mythologizing of the rural began even before Virgil’s ‘Bucolics’ and continues today massaged by technological spectacle in mass entertainments such as ‘Avatar’.

Handing in the final document of my dissertation ‘Finding Paradise’ unleashed a new energy.

Back for my second year at the RCA its time to put all that thinking into my work.

1410 Chapel of Rest

After such a break from making over the summer spent at the computer screen I thought the best thing to do was to just get on with something.

I started a soft ground etching of the Chapel of Rest in Paradise Industrial Estate, Hemel Hempstead.

1410 softground peel

While working with my magnifying lens there was a moment of euphoria – a bit like finding that illusive paradise

1410 spectrum

I am excited by this new development


Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

New neighbours to the RCA, Dark Matter Studios is a workshop and gallery space opened by Zoe Dorelli and Dan Faine that both shows, edits and produces prints.

The opening show in this new space featured Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis (an alumni from RCA Printmaking) collaborating in ‘post industrial aesthetics’.

Concrete and discarded objects are given a wonderfully light touch in photographs which celebrate the surface textures, and architectural lines creating beautiful sculptures and narratives from things that might usually be overlooked.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Left over printing inks are poured and allowed to spread across the image giving a glow of warmth and new life.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

The large scale monochrome photographs shown were taken at Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation of the rough cast concrete surfaces employed in this modernist utopia.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

There is a dramatic blood red line that runs horizontally through each monochromatic image.

( the colour for a reason and the line for a reason I have forgotten.)

A laser level was used to mark a line around the gallery walls once the work had been hung and then the line was hand painted on so that it slices through each photograph at precisely the same height.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

It’s looking close up at the materials that go into the structure that create the spectacle.

Twenty Feet From Stardom directed by Morgan Neville is a film with a similar principle. The backing singers that were the backbone of the Motown revolution have never been acknowledged for their talents until now.

The voices we thought we were hearing on the most famous popular songs were very often not the big stars but the unnamed session singer.

Finally their story (well a few of them) is told in this really moving film and it is astonishing how they were treated. Their soulful voices were used yet the soul of the person inside was ignored.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

Twenty Feet From Stardom

The good news is they are back on stage, there is going to be a soundtrack album released and next year possibly even a tour which would be amazing.

These ladies took their treatment on the chin but in another festival release the unsung hero took his revenge when he felt undervalued. The film 11.6 tells the true story of security van driver Tony Musulin who executed an 11.6 million euro heist to humiliate his boss. This story isn’t over yet.


These people working behind the scenes make me think about ownership and authenticity.

Ideas explored in the exhibition at the British Museum earlier this year ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’

‘… a memorial to all the anonymous craftsmen that over the centuries have fashioned the manmade wonders of the world… The craftsman’s anonymity I find especially resonant in an age of the celebrity artist.”  Grayson Perry