Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Exhibition at Vestry House.

The Waltham Forest Arts Club has a winter exhibition on at the Vestry House Museum at the moment. I have 2 small paintings in there and was invigilating on Sunday.
It's a small space in a quirky local museum, but it is valuable in being one of the few spaces available in the borough to show art work.

There is a range of work on show from video, printmaking, 3D, painting and photography. My paintings are imaginary winter landscapes referencing popular images used at this time of year to sell all sorts of wares. But there is something about these sorts of landscapes that appeals to me and others I presume. Perhaps something about the wildness or remoteness of these spaces and the sense of an idyllic place somewhere that we might visit.

Katja was showing a Memory Game using a number of artists images reflecting on the borough

Julie caves is showing a beautifully coloured painting Twilight Pauline Evans ceramic piece Lyme Avenue made me smile and DNA Dilemma an installation by Anna Spain was intriguing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tree of Life at St Andrews Leytonstone and E17 Designers

I have been pretty busy these last few weeks, I have started teaching my courses at the City Lit. (November and December) and have been sorting out cards and other items for the Christmas craft fairs coming up.
I also have 3 large photographs at the exhibition, "Roots and Remembrance" at St Andrews, Leytonstone. The exhibition is part of a programme for the arts, Tree of Life, more info here there and I am facilitating one of their lunchtime arts sessions on 18th November, in the cafe space.

I am showing 3 photographs of trees, one from Epping Forest,"A Path Through the Forest" one from the gardens next to me, "The Silver Dancing Tree and one from The Seekers Trust, "Reflections of Autumn Trees"

The first art and craft event I'm part of is the E17 Designers Fair on 27th November at the Asian Centre18a Orford road, Walthamstow. There is always a great range of designers there and a fabulous cake stand, which will be selling seasonal goodies.
I am also taking as well as a new range of cards, wooden decorations that I've painted and Ruth is printing wrapping paper this year. Info about the market here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Zoo Art Fair

This year I finally managed a couple of art fairs, I have been planning visits for a number of years but never manged to get to any. Autumn seems the time of year when all the fairs are happening, literally some at the same time. I suppose this is to encourage visitors/buyers from abroad to come over and see them all.
I didn't manage Frieze, but I got to Zoo, which this year was held in some old industrial buildings near Liverpool street station. There seems to be a trend to use old semi derelict buildings for exhibitions, the danger being some times that the buildings can be more interesting than the art shown in them.
At Zoo there were several buildings in use, one housing video work others with individual artists and galleries and there was some really good work there.

I really responded to Harald Smykla's work, Movie Protocol, which involves him watching films and transcribing them into a visual language. Info here There was something about these drawings that was really full of life and vitality. I talked to the artist for a few minutes about his work, which started when he was watching TV and thinking about what he could do with that time. I thought the work was full of life because it was done in the moment, fresh and without much deliberation.

In the building showing film and video work I watched and really enjoyed Kathrin Sonntay's film Dracula's Ghost 2009. It was witty and made good cultural and political comments about our love of vampires and our insistence of their history in Transylvania.

Other work I enjoyed were Per Kesselmar's Wide Screen series of paintings, oil on aluminium, which were beautiful pieces full of subtle and concentrated light. Info from the gallery here

Monday, October 19, 2009

Photo Month Photo Fair and Fools and Angels, Cecil Collins

I went to the Photo Month Photo Fair at Spitalfields Market to check out the new format of the show. There weren't as many stands as I thought, though there was a mix of people and organizations there showing work and services.
I think it is a much more competitive market for photography now than it was even 5 years ago, with most people able to take their own photographs now, with many mobiles having built in cameras.Photography has lost it's mystery and darkroom skills are no longer needed. I do think there is room for photography as an art form, but those photographs need to be able to stand out in some way.
There were a surprising number of prints for sale from £5 to £25 at that price I bought a little landscape from Catherine Ames which I liked very much. her website here.

You have to sell quite a few prints at those prices though to make the cost of some of the stands.
On the one hand I like the undefined nature of Photo Month fairs, on the other I wonder about separating different aspects of photography, like reportage/documentary, portrait/figurative, art/abstract, design/craft applications and so on. Each could have a day for exhibitions for instance. May be that would attract more exhibitors and visitors.

There is a really wonderful exhibition of Cecil Collins work "Fools and Angels" in the gallery at St Martins College near Holborn station only on till tomorrow. details here

It's the best show I've seen of his work so far, it includes prints, paintings and drawings and of course many include the image of the fool or angels. I enjoyed really studying some of the work and making some little quick sketches in response to some of them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cloud Gate Theatre Wind Shadow

Last week I went to see the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, their website here at the Barbican. I had heard their director speak at the conference of Buddhist Arts at the V&A and he had shown clips of their performances.Im was impressed by their work and looked to see if they were coming to Britain.

This performance,Wind Shadow was a rather darker production than those he had showed us, but impressive. The choreography was by Lin Hwai-Min, good article about him here with dancers as light and shadows in monochrome colours.

At first their was one kite hanging and blowing in the wind, then dancers appeared some with shadow dancers seemingly attached to their ankles some waving large flags and some dancers appeared to have wings.
Slowly it seemed as though there were more and more of the rather ominous shadow dancers taking over the stage and the artist Cai Guo-Qiang's, (visual director for the Beijing Olympics) gunpowder drawings were projected behind and captured on fabric by the dancers.
There were some deafening explosions and lasers near the finale as the dancers were caught in smoke, as were we near the front of the stage, it was as if we were caught up in a battle ground with torrents of black pieces of paper, like ash also showered down on the dancers and blew across the audience at the front. The dancers moved into a huddle seemingly caught up in a final catastrophe a tunnel of smoke and ash lit up by erie green lasers. Good review of the performance here

So we left rather somberly after the performance and it's vision of a type of hell. Really great dancing and staging and I think perhaps the first overtly political work from Cloud Gate.
Another good review here

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Photomonth Photo Open Exhibition

I have 3 photographs in the Photomonth open exhibition this year, at The Old Truwman Brewery site. F Block, T4 15, Hanbury Street E1 6QR
I sent in 3 of the series of photos I'd taken of the monks from the Tashi Llunpo Monastery, when they came to London earlier in the year. In this exhibition some work will be printed and hung in the space and some will be part of a continuous slide show in the gallery. (I don't know which

mine will be yet).
The preview is on Thursday 15th october 6-9pm.
Photomonth has some great exhibitions and events happening, I hope to get to some including the Photo fair on Saturday 10th which is taking over the Old Spitalfields Market for the day. I decided not to have a stand this year as I have had rather a lot on, but it will be interesting to see all the stands.
Details of all the shows and events are on the site here

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Faith and Image talk and FOE. Exhibition

Last week I was pleased to be giving a presentation about the connection between my art work and my practise as a Buddhist to Faith and Image, a group of people interested in art and belief at ST Mary's church in Woodford.
I had been invited by Graham Dixon and he kindly put together a PowerPoint of my work with an introduction by himself including some great images of Buddhist caves near the Mongolian border that he had recently visited.
It was good for me to reflect on my art work and its connection to my being a Buddhist and to

put something down in writing about it. The presentation went well, people were interested and had questions and I took some original work in to show people too.
Jonathan Evens, vicar of ST John's Seven Kings and secretary of Commission 4 Mission has included a great blog about my presentation which can be seen here labeled Faith and Image.

The Friends of the Earth exhibition finished on Sunday with a closing party, comments left by visitors said that they had found the exhibition stimulating, interesting and challenging. There was plenty of information about climate change and work by Friends of the Earth to be taken and while I was invigilating there it was good to hear people wanting to know more about what they could do to help the environment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wonderland exhibition and Artist Book Fair

Saturday morning was the start of the East London Printmakers exhibition Wonderland, at The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green info here. Katja and Jean and other artists I knew from our group shows had work in it and it is an impressive exhibition. Nicola Green and Zairo Zaldua had an installation called My Childhood Faith, incorporating faded old family photographs and boxes, giving a sense of a private world of childhood and beyond. One of Nicola's relatives was there and pointed out some of the people she knew from the old photos.
Kim Jenkins had a piece called Real Boy illustrating the story of Pinocchio, I enjoyed the whimsical feel and the sense that Pinocchio could be a real boy.
Richard Robert's silksceen the phrase," And if they haven't died,then they still live today" stayed with me as a thought.

Other work that caught my eye on this first viewing included Janet Patterson's installation "Jack and the Beanstalk" A tower of boxes printed with the beanstalk, the boxes containing the secrets of the story. And Jean Gibbon's "Storm on Lake Superior" woodcuts with a lovely sense of colour and depth.

It was very busy at the opening, dress up clothes provided for the children and coffee, tea and biscuits for the adults. I will definitely go back again for a closer look. The exhibition runs until the 10th January and there are workshops and events associated with it.

Later I went down to the Whitechapel gallery for the London Artists books Fair. I hadn't managed to get to the Whitechapel since it's redevelopment, so it was interesting to see the extended space. I had thought there may be some art work on show as well as the book fair, but there wasn't as far as I could see.
The book fair was worth the visit, even though there were quite a few mainstream publishers showing books, there were also a good number of individual book artists there too. My tutor at the Mary Ward Centre, Ciara Healy had a stand with some lovely books info here
Anne Rook, who I also met at Ciara's class was there too using her quirky apple images that I really like. Anne's site hereUpstairs were some books that moved into sculptural forms, including work by Richard Long and Anish Kapoor's wound.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friends of the Earth Exhibition and last of the Art Trail

Yesterday I took my work down to the Changing Room Gallery for the Friends of the Earth exhibition. I am showing some photo collages called Windmills In My Mind, they are exploring the ideas about micro-electric generation. Part of my thinking is about how, in this case wind turbines, could look more fun interesting and colourful, if they were on ordinary homes and town buildings.

I took photos along a few local streets and used colourful children's windmill toys as the wind turbines on the buildings and some lampposts and added some text about micro wind generation. I also added some home made paper windmills to the collages, and made a couple for added interest.

In the gallery extra windmills have appeared decorating the walls around my work, it seems other people like these windmills too.

The exhibition is on till Sunday 27th with a party on Sunday from noon till 4pm
I just wanted to mention a couple more exhibitions that I had chance to see at the end of the E17 Art Trail.
Lino Cut at Ye Olde Rose and Crown, had a good selection of Martin Adams, martin's site here and Anna Alcock's prints. Anna's site here. Martin had added a William Morris border to the walls and included his well cut and detailed Darwin lino cut that I'd seen as work in progress earlier in the year.
In the old Crawford building lower down on Hoe Street, Image 17 were showing photographs in an exhibition called Meet. This was something I had intended to be part of earlier in the year but had proved too much for me to do in the end. Members had taken photos of various clubs and societies held in Waltham Forest. Sean Pines had some great images from the pigeon racers club, and Katherine Green's images from the cacti and succulants society were a glimpse into a different world. Image 17 website here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

E17 Art Trail part 3

I was in the Central library in Walthamstow for the artists books event with Laura yesterday. It was great to see Laura's collection of artists books, I added a few myself and we put out the collection on tables for people to browse through.

We also had a good selection of materials for people if they wanted to try making a simple book themselves. Although we didn't get a huge amount of people passing through, we did have some good conversations with people and some people tried their hands at making books. I found more ideas for books to make myself and really liked the artists book as sculpture, a ball of twisted newspaper twine with some tags of print left on that Julian Beere brought in. Julien's blog here

In the library itself were a number of small exhibitions, Dan Green's The Frozen Lake, was a series of winter landscapes taken in the cold winter earlier in the year. They were atmospheric images, the sun low in the sky and the sense of cold palpable. The lakes had a quality of stillness and other worldliness.

Ron Bowman has a show of his watercolours in the main entrance, he is a photographer more recently moving into watercolours. Neon Nature, Jakie Whalen's paintings in the main library held their own in the busy space. Her designs and bright colours were being enjoyed by the visitors.

There was a range of photographs from the Walthamstow & district Photographic Society in the corridors, and With my love of birds I was taken by the great photo of a Jay facing a squirrel on a bird table by Trevor Weatherley. Peter Tomlinson was also showing a series of portraits, Lochkamera Portraits, exploring the use of a lensless camera. The images were soft and had a subtle quality of colours and they invited you in for a closer look.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

E17 Art Trail Part 2

This year I am trying to see some parts of the trail that I haven't had chance to look at before and one of them was the privet view where Michael T. Holland shows his photography and this year Virginia Cucchi and friends were showing Naturalist Evolution. The weather was hot and sunny so the outdoor gallery was safe on Michael's hedge. He was still putting up some work when I was there, a great selection of images including insects and landscapes.
Just up the road, Virginia was also assembling her piece using white flowers in a work inspired by Arabic gardens.

Walking back up Hoe Street I diverted to see Alice Mara's ceramics up Aubrey road. The good thing about the Trail that others have said as well, is that it takes you to parts of the area you haven't been to before. I really like Alice's ceramics, her use of urban scenes, supermarkets and the old Dog Track in Walthamstow.

Further up the road, saving 2 major venues for later in the week, I just had chance to call into the Quaker Meeting House to see Witness by Alke Schmidt. Alke has a sure touch in bringing a political consciousness and artistic sensibility together. The factory chimneys in the bottom of the traditional Chinese scroll paintings caught my eye, their presence an ominous shadow on the traditional landscape. Her use of the more feminine work of crochet spread across the walls and on some of the images, brought a new sense of possibilities or potential into the themes of oppression and environmental issues.

The Trail continues this week and weekend find out more here

Monday, September 07, 2009

E17 Art Trail Part One

Well the Art trail is definitely underway. I put up my exhibition in the window of Waterstones book shop on Friday with the help of my sister Pauline. I always find it daunting, the first part, starting to place the items in an exhibition, so it was great to have her skills.
The staff in Waterstones were a real help too, finding us a background poster and fixing it up. I am happy with the results and hope people enjoy the different sorts of books on show.

From my exhibition I went up to the launch party at the Vestry House Museum, I was feeling rather tired after my busy week, but was glad to stay a while meet some folks and look at some of the work on show around the museum.
Valerie Grove's installation, Baggage Claim, was intriguing, a number of suitcases placed around the museum gardens whose contents you were invited to see and I was pleased to find I had a conker in my bag to add to the contents of one suitcase. Dean Reddick had a lovely pencil drawing of an oak tree, and Sba Shaikh was showing work The Personas of Mehraj with beautiful colours, textiles and photographs. Mencap artists were again showing their skills in a range of mediums.
Saturday morning found me putting up free work for Art Grows on Trees, Katja and Dean and his family brought really great stuff to hang. It's always a real pleasure to say to people yes you can take it away with you.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Art of Politics

The Art of Politics exhibition has opened at The Changing Room gallery.

There is some great work on show, Martin Adams has several pieces that deal with the local political situation with wit and invention. His mixed media piece "Sweet Temptation" had edible sweet treats in a box,with piped lettering on the sweets including "Influence", "Power" and "Renumeration" As the text concluded "Get elected get appointed and dig into the box of delights" You can see more of Martin's work here.

May Ayers had two pieces of ceramic sculptures that dealt with government policies of locking up vulnerable young people, "Zero Tolerance, in dedication to Joseph Scholes" and human indifference, "Indifference" "Zero Tolerance" is a large piece made up of several sections. The base sections have text around them and incised images. The top section is a torso, hands wrapped around the body and the head is split to show other faces inside. It is a powerful piece and addresses real issues in government policies that have lethal consequences. You can see more of May's work here.

In "this space has been left intentionally blank", people from the fight the height campaign had gathered together the ideas people had put forward for the space at the top of the high street in Walthamstow. These are on postcards and paper and form an installation on one of the walls. Visitors to the gallery are asked to contribute as well.

I was pleased to see that visitors had also been responding to my "The pound in your pocket"installation piece, writing their ideas of how they would spend their Waltham Forest pounds.

On the theme of money Chandra Mora, showed "Veni, Vidi, Depradavi, I came , I saw, I plundered" A large copy of A Zimbabwe million dollar note, and text citing the corruption and exploitation of the Zimbabwe government, as well as drawing parallels closer to home.

The exhibition continues till Sunday 6th of September and is part of the E17 Art Trail which starts on Saturday 5th.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leigh on Sea and Southend

I went recently for a traditional seaside day out, starting at Leigh on Sea and walking along the sea front towards Southend. Interestingly for those of us who don't know, Leigh on Sea train station isn't next to the town, I always forget this sort of thing, that train stations can be a way out of towns. However the walk along the sea by all the boat yards was great and the nature reserve is just by the station in the opposite direction.

The sea air smelt amazing after breathing so much London air and the weather was dry and sunny later on. After the boats and more reserved air of Leigh on Sea, Southend was for the penny arcades, funfair and icecream. Shame about the pebbly beach, I couldn't stand it after 20mins and had to put my shoes back on!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Art of Politics

I'm just starting with a bit of a season of exhibitions, the first one being part of The Art of Politics, at The Changing Room Gallery. I'm working on a piece called The Pound in Your Pocket, which is exploring the ideas of local currencies such as the Totnes Pound,details here. the Lewis Pound and the Brixton Pound.

The idea of having local currencies is to benefit the local community by spending money locally and keeping the money in circulation.( The money given to national and international companies and businesses is more usually siphoned away from the local community) There are also environmental benefits in keeping carbon footprints low.

I'm using images of altered notes (altered £20 note with portarait of William Morris above) and asking people to imagine that they had unlimited local Waltham Forest Pounds and to write on the new bank note how they would spend their Waltham Forest Pounds. These ideas will be part of the exhibition and I will also document the results.

The exhibition runs from Monday 31st August till Sunday 6th,(overlapping with the first weekend of the E17 Art Trail,the private view is Tuesday 1st 4-7pm.