Archives for posts with tag: Suzanne Moxhay

I so loved Nick Abrahams exhibition at The Horse Hospital.

“Lions and Tigers and Bears” – the fears of the forest that haunted Dorothy and her companions as they followed the yellow brick road

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Nick Abrahams makes short films, sculptural and installation pieces.

A wild man sings power ballads around Hampstead Heath and explores the suburban streets by night

Nick Abrahams 'The Wild Man'

Nick Abrahams ‘The Wild Man’

Dogs perform dance routines to the music of Iggy Pop

Nick Abrahams - Doghouse

Nick Abrahams – Doghouse

His award winning film Ekki Mukk is a beautiful and poignant story of a man, a snail and a fox.

I bought the 7″ single with recordings of a snail eating, a fox sleeping and sounds recorded of nature under the Tolpuddle Tree, the site of the birth of the first trade union.

Shirley Collins the film narrator tells a magical tale.

Nick Abrahams 7" single

Nick Abrahams 7″ single

These pieces are suggesting a way to look with your eyes shut,

Nick Abrahams - Fox Sleeping

Nick Abrahams – Fox Sleeping

bearing witness to the British countryside that you may not always be able to notice, a landscape that is both political and mystical, alive as it is with ‘animal magick’.

Nick Abrahams - wild man illustations

Nick Abrahams – wild man illustrations

Rachel Champion looks at urban architecture and energy in her installation at Hales gallery.

Pools of green algae sit in what might have been an abandoned attempt at some suburban municipal space.

Rachel Champion - Primary Producers

Rachel Champion – Primary Producers

Pebbledash has such resonance of the cheap and ugly that walking around this work is a bit of a dour experience.

The punched out circles glinting with the promise of little worlds, maybe offering the wonder of the rock pool, instead present a prosaic stagnant puddle more reminiscent of the back yard bucket.

Or flowerpot in my case.

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In its aim to highlight the successes and failures of the cheap fix and reassess materials it is an effective installation. The artist is hoping that we will look with new eyes for unexpected saviours to our urban afflicted energy crisis.

I went to the WYSIWYG? (What you see is what you get?) discussion evening at South London Gallery to hear more about What happens to Art in a Digital World.

Too many speakers had been booked for the time available so it was a shame they had to rush, rather like me in my end of year exam with 58 images in 15 minutes.

I was hoping for a bit more discussion about the immersive possibilities of virtual gallery spaces but the focus was more how technology is used in institutions or by artists rather than the experience of entering a new space online.

It was still interesting and we could try out some technological innovations.

ChairAXJ01 designed by Joe Want and Andrea Concha

ChairAXJ01 designed by Joe Want and Andrea Concha

Joe Want and Andrea Concha have designed a chair that records the unique movements of the sitter and creates a graphic depiction that can be controlled a bit by wriggling around  in your seat.

My personal graphic made by sitting in ChairAXJ01

My personal graphic made by sitting in ChairAXJ01

Melanie Lenz from the V&A talked about the difficulties of archiving digital art due to commercial upgrades of the necessary hardware and software.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans spoke about their exhibition at South London Gallery made by using 3d imaging techniques to create digital smoke then capturing the image and finally printing it onto carpet so in fact the image begins digitally and then ends up in a physical form.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans

Julia Crabtree and William Evans

Natalie Kane spoke about the power of  algorithms in connection with the artist Jonus Lund and his exhibition Fear of Missing Out, and TED talks from Christopher Steiner and Kevin Slater.

An essay by Christopher Pinney – Future Travel: Anthropology and Cultural Distance in an age of Virtual Reality; Or, A Past Seen From a Possible Future which was recommended to me by Esther Teichmann is interesting reading on the possible effects of digital technologies on everyday life. Thinking about cyberspace in terms of a space for a new paradise tailored to your own specification. Pinney’s view, looking back from an imagined future, sees physical and moral boundaries being broken with total sensual experiences allowing unlimited sex and no need to travel.

‘The Nether’ a new play by Jennifer Haley at The Royal Court Theatre tackles similar issues.

The Nether

The Nether

Popa has created his own dream space, a house populated by young children in Victorian dress with whom he and the guests to his world can have sex and then axe to death.

An argument unfolds on stage about the need for the same moral codes we employ in reality to be enforced in cyberspace. Popa’s plea is that no real children are harmed, the characters are avatars of adult participants in this world.

The Nether

The Nether

This virtual world felt very visceral when reaction to such a dilemma is sort.

Entering a very different staged environment I finally stepped over the threshold of the RA annual summer exhibition  My first visit to this annual institution  was in the belief that things are changing backstage, its updating and bringing in new blood. Also two of my RCA classmates had won a prize and a few other people I know were in it. Time to stop being sniffy. It was good to see Pauline Emond’s etching and Wuon-Geon Ho’s artist book.

Wuon-Gean Ho receiving her prize for 'unending forest'

Wuon-Gean Ho receiving her prize for ‘Unending Forest’

Wuon-Gean Ho - unending forest

Wuon-Gean Ho – Unending Forest

Pauline Emond with her winning work Regarde De Tous Tes Yeux

Pauline Emond with her winning work ‘Regarde De Tous Tes Yeux’

I was surprised how many names I recognised in the selection and how many red dots there were.

Maybe I’ll even have a go in future.

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It seemed appropriate to be reading Raymond Williams ‘People of the Black Mountains’ in the Azores even though the book is set in Wales.

1408 Raymond Williams

The islands have a black volcanic landscape, still very primeval in parts with bubbling hot springs and paralysed lava flows.


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These tiny islands are also a mixture of the pastoral

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and the tropical – in a garden setting

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there are inaccessible forest covered mountains

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and the blazing sun can turn to thick fog in minutes

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With all the rain and fog it’s moist and things grow

1408 Azores 2


1408 Azores 1

best discovery was the crumbling ruin of 5* Hotel Monte Palace high on a volcanic ridge

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emerging from thick fog at the end of a tortuous jeep ride along tiny precipitous roads

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built only 30 years ago it never fulfilled its owner’s dream and has been left to rot

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The eerie atmosphere of abandoned space is echoed in Suzanne Moxhay’s constructed images

Suzanne Moxhay  - Copse

Suzanne Moxhay – Copse

Her work was part of ‘The Combinational’ at Studio 1.1 curated by Paul Carey-Kent, last years gallery fund-raiser ‘lottery winner’

'The Combinational' at Studio 1.1

‘The Combinational’ at Studio 1.1

I was drawn to the ethos of the show-

“The found and the collaged are dominant modern modes; what artists choose to use, and how and why they present or combine them, count for more than their ability with traditional techniques.

One could also say that life in most of the world is less about individual survival than it would have been in pre-modern eras, more about how we live together and whether we can survive that.”

I bought a ticket for this years lottery, so fingers crossed.

Despite a raging thunder storm the opening of Ochre Originals showing two pieces of my work at New Ashgate Gallery was really busy.

My work at New Ashgate Gallery

Rainforest Section 1 and 2

I have been reading in my research about paradise how the botanical garden emulates ideas of Eden with its mix of species cultivated together in a garden.

It offers a tame nature, we look like we are in control

and then this happened

Collapse of paradise

Collapse of paradise

London Art Fair.

Hadn’t been before. It felt manageable though we didn’t go round all of it. Headed straight to the Art Projects Space.

Bearspace had a good spot and were showing Suzanne Moxhay’s enigmatic photographs.

Susanne Moxhay

Suzanne Moxhay

I love the way her photos are staged. I have been looking at other artists that use a similar process of building sets to photograph.

Didier Massard (2)

Didier Massard

Didier Massard for example. I stumbled across a blog about his work a while ago.

Edwin Zwakman

Edwin Zwakman

Other artists are mentioned in this blog one of which is Edwin Zwakman who constructs miniature landscapes to photograph entirely from memory. Through his process all places and objects morph into new variations. Scale and perspective change. The images do not show what you could photograph but how you experience them.

I like this idea and so for the new collagraph I am making I thought I would try this approach.  Is it possible to see something in your mind that isn’t constructed from things you have actually seen and to see that immediately as a sudden flash.  My ideas seem to grow slowly in my mind, fermenting over time and then suddenly they seem ready to go from there to a very rough sketch to a plan of action.

I am aiming for a scene of desolation, a dystopic landscape – a clearing reduced to ruins. Then a last refuge. I see this as a glass house, a protected environment for things to grow.

I have bought some A1 card for the plate and am experimenting with making structures from paper and card. I am planning eventually to insert the glasshouse as a shallow 3D model into the collagraph. Eventually made from acetate and filled with sublimation printed organza images.

I have taken up key holder membership at Ochre Print Studio. This gives me full-time access to the studio so I have more time to experiment and be playful with my work. It is great to feel the whole day stretching out ahead of you without the worry of clearing up almost as soon as you have got started. I am a slow worker so I need this.

I also bought an easel with some birthday money. My studio has had a big clear out and one side looks refreshed and ready for a new episode in my work. Other side still piled up but progress is being made.

I was able to get lots of tips on different ways to print collagraphs from Katherine Jones course at Ochre.

Katherine Jones Stove

Katherine Jones ‘Stove’ Etching and collagraph on paper

Katie was really helpful and her work is beautiful. I love her colours.  She creates a wonderful ephemeral light in her work. She has done a series on conservatories. It felt a bit weird to discover this as it looks like I was copying her.

Stove is a reference to John Paxton’s ‘Great Stove’, a hothouse built and designed for the gardens of Chatsworth House in the 1800s which was later dismantled.

I asked her if she had come across Frank Stainbridge in her research about hothouses but she hadn’t. One day I will try to find out if the extraordinary stories about him are true.

It was encouraging for us to see how many prints Katie made from one plate before she was happy, changing the colours, adding and removing sections until it all came together.

Collagraph Plate

I have got my collagraph plate to a point where I want to see how it prints.

Collagraph relief

I made an impression of the print on card ready to cut as a relief print to add layers.

While thoughts of the forest and the bestial freedom that Vico wrote about in his ‘New Science’ are in my mind these thoughts have been reinforced by Haruki Murakami in 1Q84 which is my novel on the go at the moment.

The character Tengo reads passages from Anton Chekov’s Sakhalin Island to Fuka-Eri. Chekov writes about his encounters with the indigenous people, the Gilyaks (now known as Nivhk) ‘….they do not understand the purpose of roads. Even where a road has already been laid, they will still journey through the taiga. One often sees them, their families and their dogs, picking their way across a quagmire right by the roadway.’

Fuka-Eri warns Tengo of the Little People’s wisdom and power – that it might cause him harm. ‘Better be careful in the forest. Tengo found himself looking at his surroundings. True, the forest was their world.’


Studio work – synthetic textiles on board

A day of contrasts was spent viewing the Turner Prize and The Pre-Raphaelites (Victorian Avant-Garde) at Tate Britain.

Luke Fowler was the favourite for me, I found his film ‘All Divided Selves’ about R.D. Laing fascinating enough to want to see it all and it was 98 mins long.

Then I liked Elizabeth Price video about the Woolworth’s fire. The clapping like the crackle of the fire building the drama of the story.

While I did appreciate the technical accomplishments of Paul Noble’s drawings they made me feel a bit queasy. All that amorphous flesh and the tilting perspective of his buildings gave me sea legs.

I did like the simplicity and characterful nature of his sculptures though. The Spartacus Chetwynd performance was a bit mystifying. I do like a theatrical event but the short episode with the puppets left the audience unsure if we had witnessed anything or not. I suppose I expected something a bit alarming – like if Beetlejuice turned up.

Since starting this blog the winner of the Turner prize has been announced. I am happy Elizabeth Price won. I think hers is a work I could go back to again and get more from.

The block buster pre-raphaelites show was heaving with people and with the gaudy reds greens and golds, general sumptuousness and crammed walls gave it an air of a Christmas market.

It was all a bit much, I started to feel the subjects in the paintings were only there to drape a fabric over to show off the skilful rendition of coarse cheesecloth or silky satins.

I thought I would be more drawn in to the romance of it all to connect with my own ideas of nostalgia for a natural world vanishing before us but in the end everything felt too solid, too defined.

There are common points I feel in what they were attempting with their saccharine high-definition paintings and what I am interested in; the search for the sublime,  the tension between the physical and emotional experience of our surroundings and how the imagination conjures idealistic fantasies to embellish an impoverished reality, all this intensified by events happening that are beyond the control of the individual but which impact on everyone, back then it was the industrial revolution and as a consequence of that now it is climate change and dwindling natural resources.

Saw ‘Ignorance/Jahiliyyah’ at Hampstead Theatre.  Despite being uncertain of the context the powerful performances made it compelling to watch. This play is about the clash of cultures, looking at an event in the past from two opposing perspectives. The total belief in a paradise and the total disbelief. A huge chasm to cross.

Another thought provoking theatre experience was ‘The Effect’ – a brilliant sharp script and vigorous acting made an emotional impact. How far can we trust our thoughts when we start to add chemicals. This play questions normality and our perceptions.

The RCA Open Day left me fired up and really wanting to go. The new premises are vast and crammed with all sorts of wonderful machinery.

The big change from last year to this year is the portfolio requirements. Now it all has to fit in an A1 folder so my plans to build a wheel along trolley with all my work including lightboxes slotted in has had to be drastically revised.

I have a new plan now – a nice deep folder with foam padding for 4 sample pieces on wood, a concertina book of exhibition photos, a small layered piece to be held up to the light and the rest as photos.

I have been struggling with my statement, trying to get the words to below 500 while making all the points I think I need to mention. I’m not sure if I have been specific or clear enough about my goals and there are things I want to mention but there isn’t room. They did say getting an interview is based on the portfolio so I must get that looking smart.

It has been good to spend some time really thinking about my practice and trying to clarify my thoughts. This was given a boost by a small group engine chat chat meeting at the Biscuit Factory. All but one were ex Goldsmiths students in need of a supportive framework for critique which is something Elizabeth Murton is very good at.

On the way there I called into Another Room and saw the evocative installation of Juliette Losq. The setting in the dilapidated Georgian property was perfect, it was like the wall had fallen away to reveal an otherworldly vista.

121121 Juliette Losq (1)

Juliette Losq

Like stepping into a dream or the sepia tinted past it was very beautiful and enigmatic.

Another favourite artist I got the chance to see was Suzanne Moxhay ‘The Aftermath’ at Bearspace.

Suzanne Moxhay

Suzanne Moxhay

This is a new series of photographic work ‘Penumbra’.

Her images have an epic quality which comes from her use of light and shadow to give drama to an unpreposessing scene but also to give away the constructed nature of the image.

Landscape becomes stage-set, the mundane becomes mystical.