I’m having a a great time in Manchester on my residency at the Chinese Arts Centre. I was met from the station by the centre’s lovely exhibition coordinator Elizabeth Wewiora who found and liked my work in the first place. She gave me a little tour of the city. On Saturday, I attended a lovely Chinese painting and calligraphy run by Mary Tang. It’s such a skill and artform. It must take years or decades to master. I had fun trying at least! I was then whisked off to see a brilliant show by the curator, Daniel Staincliffe, called Purveyors at Rogue Artists’ Studios, with works by Rob Dunne, Bryn Lloyd-Evans and Daniel Staincliffe. After that, I got a tour of Rogue Studios and got to see a lot of the work that’s going on there. There’s some great stuff! The studios are in an old textile mill and the atmosphere was fab! I’m now getting on with making some work, inspired by my experiences and research so far….
So….I did it! I’ve now graduated from my Fine Art: Painting Degree from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London. And I got a double first! It’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun. I’ve made great friends and learnt so much! I loved every minute of it and am really going to miss the place. Still….back into the real world to make some more artwork there. I wonder how it’ll affect what I do? Watch this space…
From my degree show, “Forest Fresh”: this uncanny collection of wood has all been touched to a certain degree by the human hand, and the machine; an exploration of materials, our human impact upon them and the space we live in. There is a confrontation of the relationship between sculpture and painting; how the two and three dimensional can be combined. These wooden ‘plinths’ become figures; their limbs dismembered like Ancient Greek statues. The ‘objects’ on the plinths mounted like heads on necks are pareidolic paintings; images of face-like fragments found in the city. The doors, jointed in L shapes lose any of their original funtionality but become more obviously 3-dimensional objects. What we imagine should be vertical, takes on a horizontal plane too, distorting our perspective on the world. The dimensions of the human body affect the measurements of a door. By placing a figure like object within the door shape, the way we measure those ‘bodies’ is affected. They are now ‘contained’ within the doors, the whole ensemble contained within the grey walls. The figures form a circle, as if performing some ancient rite. This anachronistic ensemble could confront how we view our material place in the world.
Inspired by my friend Kim Rodeffer Funk’s recent blog post, I thought that I would tell this story about some emotional reactions I had to one of my paintings:
This is the painting I did for my great friends Sally and Bill. It is based on some of their holiday photos. I was inspired by the journey through all the door-ways and whilst painting it I was thinking of the journey through life with the ultimate destination unknown and mysterious. My friend Antonia (who isn’t usually as dramatic) grabbed my hand when she clapped eyes on the painting and flung it tight to her chest to demonstrate her palpitations from just looking at it! Moving people like this is why I have to paint! Sally and Bill have found the most perfect frame possible for their new painting. It is as though it was made for the picture! The archway matches perfectly and it adds an extra doorway to the composition! This is it mocked up by Bill before it wass properly put together. It’s now in their new home in Gloucester and it looks smashing against their purply red kitchen wall. (I wish I’d taken a photo while I was there)
I last saw the painting while I was visiting when Sally was 8 1/2 months pregnant. A couple of weeks later there were devastating floods in Gloucester. The power and mains water were wiped out! I was rather worried about Sally. Luckily she managed to get to hospital in time to give birth to her beautiful daughter Georgie. I can’t wait to see them all again soon!