The Mountain Arts Festival

It’s nice to work at a place so heavy involved in contemporary art, on my dinner last week I was able to take a look at this insightful exhibition; Mountain Arts. I wasn’t expecting too much, as with such a distinct theme, my mind raced to the usual culprit; the landscape drawing; something I’ve come to expect here in the Lake District. Again and again though I’m being proven wrong. Like me, many artist’s in this area are overcoming the desire to paint a representational image of our neighbouring landscape.

The artist which stole the show for me was most definitely Brian Thompson. His beautifully crafted sculptures, captured the beauty of our enormous mountain ranges. He challenged me to consider portraying the landscape in a more unusual way. Sculpting and model making came rushing back to me, encouraging me to get making again. The titles of Brian Thompson’s work really spoke to me too. He described a journey in his titles, his large central piece titled: To Easedale Tarn by Emma’s Dell. In describing a personal detail of the journey we relate to the voyage of his mountain climb. We reflect back on our own mountain adventures. The other artist’s I’ve included in the photographs are Lucy Devenish and Hamish Fulton. Devenish uses a favourite tool of mine; a map. Again focusing on a journey, a place in time. Lucy depicts a personal place. St Non’s Bay. Hamish’s work follows his own journey through Walk texts on Wood. Depicting a mountain range in text and objects.

After seeing the exhibition I want to show my journeys, be it in sculpture or in a map based drawing. We’ll see.

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Robyn Woolston’s Watchtree

After reflecting upon the images I’d taken out on the fells, I was reminded of a series of works I’d seen years ago by Robyn Woolston. The first summer I moved up to the lakes I can remember walking down by Ullswater and being pleasantly surprised to see some contemporary art right on my door step. This series of work has a distinct likeness to mine, as it features a similar use of signs. I admire that Woolston’s signs emerge right from the trees themselves, making incredible photographs; this is something I could play around with myself in the future perhaps? The artist here is interested in the use of language displayed on the signs. Written in Old English, she points out the surrounding nature. I have to say I was slightly disappointed by the works when I originally saw them, the Old English didn’t engage, it puzzled it’s audience who in turn dismissed it and spent little time with the work. However if Woolston had instead opted to write Modern English this wouldn’t have achieved much either? These are the types of things I need to be considering with my use of dates. Are they too personal or can I achieving just enough mystery in the work?

To check out Robyn Woolston’s Canopy Project check out these links:

The Canopy Suite, Watchtree and The Canopy Suite, Archive

 

Out on the Fells

So here’s my latest set of works! I’ve been thinking about this idea for a little while now. During the exhibition at Greystoke the signpost suited it’s surroundings- being the place where my great-grandparents got married. However it always felt a bit restricted. A signpost should be outside, directing the way. Although I know it’s a metaphorical sign, I wanted to play around with it a bit and take it out on the fells and see how it photographed. If it looked silly at least I’d had a go! But I have to say I really enjoy the photographs! Some are stronger than others, some are merely on here to demonstrate my set up. But many are strong individual works. The post stands proud on the hills of Ullswater, looking out at where we live, the spot we plan to marry in and just beyond those hills the church my great parents married in, the great Cumbrian sign post is pointing the way to various mile stones in life. Which actually now I’ve just wrote that sentence, could be a good name for the works. Milestones. 

An Exhibition for Modern Living

It’s not often when you search ‘what’s on’ on a gallery’s website that you find something you love. Occasionally you come across something that sounds like it could be interesting but never have I been so pleasantly surprised to see Matthew Darbyshire’s name on The Manchester Art Gallery’s website. He was an artist I discovered right at the end of my degree; he became a huge influence in the idea of the collection. The Fenwick Collection was born with his Exhibition of Modern Living in mind. I designed the layout of my plinths in the same style Darbyshire displayed his Exhibition of Modern Living– I allowed my viewer to walk around my grandma’s figurines just as Darbyshire encouraged his viewer to walk around his show room of desirable objects. So to finally walk around Darbyshire’s piece myself was something of a moment.

There was so much I could relate to in Matthew Darbyshire’s work. I could sense the notion of gentrification, the multitude of aspirational objects and the use of plinths to empower a humble object. I was slightly underwhelmed by the position of the installation Exhibition of Modern Living. It felt tucked away in a corner. It needed the whole room to itself. Regardless I walked around inspecting the carefully chosen and positioned objects. Darbyshire commenting himself that at this point you are “entering a curated space.” Louis commenting; at this point bored with the exhibition, “It’s just like being in John Lewis.” This, in a way, means Darbyshire has succeeded in showing his viewer the idealisms of Modern Living in a curated art space.

Home for Christmas

Another exhibition in London, I found advertised in Time Out Magazine, was Home for Christmas. Just one flight of stairs below Trafalgar Square, although it seemed like miles below, is the Crypts of St Martins. Featured in this unique space was Home for Christmas– an exhibition homing on the reality of missing persons. The images and text tell the powerful story of emotions just in one glance. Stood waiting, the families lean against their front doors, their loving family home right behind them, waiting for that someone to come home. The text below prints their name, time and date of disappearance and a photo of their last known appearance.

It really was an emotional heart felt exhibition and showcased the importance of the permanent structure we take for granted as the family home. It reminded me visually of a piece I saw at the Whitworth in Manchester called Semi Detached John and Ethel Landy by Michael Landy. I found the blog post I made about the piece Semi Detached and it has some real strong connections to the work here by James O Jenkins.

Project Visible

For a while now I’ve been considering my future as a Fine Art graduate and what that means for me. I’ve broke the news to my family, that becoming an art teacher isn’t on the cards for me just yet. Much to my grandma’s disappointment, she has no idea what to tell her sister what I do now. I then tried to explain to her my new venture in life, my future career goal- Public Programs Co Coordinator. She had no idea. So for the purpose of this blog:

POSITION OVERVIEW

To coordinate, and develop in collaboration with gallery staff, public programs and events;

To coordinate Gallery customer service on a day to day basis with volunteer staff;

To coordinate gallery public program advertising and social media.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Coordinate a program of events and activities relating to the exhibition program including workshops, lectures, and floor talks; 2. Coordinate Gallery functions such as openings, bus trips and morning teas. 3. Coordination of the day to day activities relating to the volunteer staff and front desk, including mail-outs, visitor surveys, and merchandise sales.

Now I’m fully aware that it’s going take a very long time to even get anywhere near this position. But everyone needs a goal. So here is mine.

I also what to mention a fantastic video I saw at Tate Britain. From the time I spent at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Australia I knew then that I wanted a role within the gallery. And the idea flew back as I watched this video showing Artist’s in Residence walk around the gallery with a group of school kids in tow. I wanted to be that person asking the kids to write down a certain word that described how they felt looking at a piece of work. The video emphasized the notion that art is play. The quote I took with me is this-“art is ideas and thoughts just beyond language.” And I wrote in my notebook- I SO WANT TO THIS JOB!

Wish, Hope and Dream.

Quick Visit to London

Whilst visiting friends in London I couldn’t resist a bit of gallery hopping and was hoping I’d find a bit of inspiration along the way. I feel like since the success of A Place in Time I have reached somewhat of a standstill. Need to get my act together and get my motivation back! As a basis I thought I’d take a trip to Tate Britain, allow myself to be in awe of some greats. I was really excited to find Tracey Emin’s Bed on display, along side some Francis Bacon, Damien Hurst and David Hockney’s Splash. Seeing Tracey Emin’s bed was a rather surreal experience. After seeing it so many times in text books and on the internet it felt as though it only existed on a Google search engine. But here it was in the flesh, fags, dirty knickers and all. I feel like Emin get’s a lot of stick, that the majority of people who walk into that room will dismiss it as a load of rubbish- literally and in terms of recognised art. For me though there has always been something in this piece that establishes the notion of bringing a private space into the public eye. The written description alongside the work stating: “without directly representing specific events, the installation is forcefully and compellingly suggestive of personal narratives.”

Another recognised art work I happened to stumble upon at the V&A was Barnaby Barford’s The Tower of Babel. The six metre high tower consists of 3000 individual buildings, all replicas of real London shops. Impressively each one is made of Bone China. The piece cleverly portrays the divide between rich and poor placing pound shops and abandoned stores at the bottom, and exclusive boutiques and designer stores at the top. “it confronts us with the choices we make as consumers, through necessity or desire.”

Doris and Her First Bike

As I mentioned in the previous post, the images shown above have been playing in my mind for a really long time now. Before making the piece for Greystoke I asked my grandma to see if she could find any photographs of my great grandma living in Cumbria. The photographs where so beautiful, and they were such a great source of inspiration for the piece. The one that really stuck out for me was this one above. My great grandma stood proud with her bike. With written detail on the back- Doris Watson (her maiden name) her first Bike. Bought by uncle Tommy Berrier £5. She looks about a similar age to me now. I felt a real connection with the photograph as I’ve recently gotten into cycling myself and bought my own first proper bike- which I absolutely love. I felt it only right to have my own proud bike photograph to match. I’m still unclear how I want to proceed with this set of images, I feel like there’s much more potential, just not sure what.

 

Tour of Britain

Keeping in theme with C-Art’s Yellowness, The Cycling Tour of Britain wasn’t long after. Everyone kept up their yellow bunting and added their own Yellow bikes everywhere! After a bit of googling, just to be sure, (I had a vague idea but didn’t want to get it wrong) the Yellow colour is all about the winning jersey- Historically the leader of this competition has worn a yellow jersey. It must have been great moral for the cyclists to see everyone decorate their streets in honour of them cycling past on route. The route came through our local village Pooley Bridge, through to Tirril, Yanwath and onto Penrith. There feels something quite important about this event, the way the cyclists came in and out of peoples neighbourhoods, their life and everything they love. I particularly like the image I’ve taken above with the bicycle pointing to Yanwath Inn. It reminded me of the photograph I’d been keen to make some art with of my great grandma and her bike. I also feel like there is something here about the process of painting the old bikes a solid yellow colour. Almost like dipping my grandmas figurines in magnolia paint again- something I still don’t want to give up on.

C-Art Open Studios

Another fantastic event I never got round to writing about was the C-Art Open Studios trail in September. I’d played a role in production of the event, (through some volunteer work I’d done at Eden Arts), so it was an exciting time for me see it come together. I could put a face to the names of people I’d been been selecting for Eden Art’s Facebook ‘Artist of the Day’ and faces to the names of all those bios I’d proofread in the catalogue. I’m annoyed that I didn’t get to as many as I’d like to have done, but it was an eye opener and something I’m considering participating in myself next year. Maybe not in the Caravan though!- maybe one of C-Art’s extraordinary places. Fingers crossed.