Thursday, July 30, 2015

Experiments in photography for Mr Lion film.

We are finishing our project on Mr Lion at Blank Canvas with a film about this mysterious character.

All of us have different ideas about who or what he might be and have explored this through, sound, print, photography and other visual arts. This culminated in an exhibition earlier in the year at Turner Contemporary.

Following our explorations with Lucy Steggles, our lead artist and others, we have decided that Mr Lion is essentially ungraspable and this is what our film will be about.  At the moment all our photography and filming is being put together for an edit. And will hopefully be ready for a screening in the Autumn.

As part of this exploration of the ungraspable and mysterious, we have been using various props including, balloons, glass balls and shadows. I have enjoyed these experimentations and the painterly effects that some abstract photographs have. I can see more cross overs from these abstract works with painting.

Grayson Perry at Turner Contemporary

photo from Turner Contemporary website
I have down to visit the Grayson Perry exhibition, Provincial Punk, at Turner Contemporary a few times, since its opening. I still haven't watched all the videos, but have spent time with the pots and tapestries and maps that Grayson Perry makes so well.

In the first room there is a good selection of his pots, from the 1980's to the present day. I responded to the Anti Thatcherite, class war themes, sexual freedoms and anti war messages, collaged, written and painted on the vases and pots of various types.

photo from Turner Contemporary website
Grayson Perry describes them as "stealth bombs"  as they are visually attractive and decorative at first glance, then a closer inspection shows the messages he wants to convey.

Photo from Turner Contemporary website
In the other gallery rooms, some of Grayson Perry's collages, maps and videos are showing, along side his large tapestries, including the Walthamstow Tapestry, which I'd seen in Walthamstow when it was first exhibited.

The maps and tapestries include many of the labels we seem to be in love with as consumers, as well as modern tribes and tourist destinations. The tapestries are bright and visually arresting, woven in Flanders, as were so many historic pieces. I am pleased that we still have places left doing such crafts.
Photo from Turner Contemporary website.

I made a few visual notes in my sketch book and will spend a bit more time looking at the work again.
Photo from Turner Contemporary website.

The exhibition is on till September 13th   and is well worth visiting, though if you have young children be aware that there are some themes that are adult in nature, the gallery is closed on Mondays.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Visit to Avebury

I spent a lovely few days in Avebury, Wiltshire, with Ruth. We took the scenic route along the South Downs to Winchester, then up to Marlborough and then on to Avebury.

Beautiful countryside  all along the route, rolling hills and fields, avenues of trees and pretty little villages. I realized that I hadn't spent much time recently in the country and it felt like I was drinking in refreshment and happiness.

We were staying in Avebury it's self at Manor Farm. The village is very small, with a pub, community shop and post office and another shop selling books and craft and crystals.

It is also much smaller than it was before Alexander Keiller bought Avebury in 1934. He knocked down buildings as they became empty, to clear space for the stone circles. The National Trust also followed suit till the 1960's.

Keiller was though responsible for excavating the buried stones, raising them again and setting concrete markers where he thought other stones would have been. Making Avebury the  World Heritage site it is today. With the archaeologist foreman, William Young, Keiller also, dug down into the ditch around the site and explored the area, uncovering items now in the museum.

I really enjoyed my time around the stones, drawing and taking photographs. We also visited the West Kennet long barrow on top of a chalk ridge overlooking Silbury Hill.

I was struck by the positive energy of the site and feeling of connection to the landscape.
And I will be working on more art works from my time there.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dreamland opens, Margate Kent

Ruth and I had tickets for the first day of opening at Dreamland. I had heard on the news that the Scenic Railway wasn't finished which was a shame, but I was more interested in seeing the site and the vintage rides. I like the old signage and paintings on the rides as well as some of the old cars and jets on the rides. Dreamland website here


The weather brightened up fortunately as we walked down, The original entrance was open down by the cinema, which still awaits it's restoration. A shop at the entrance and loads of staff everywhere. I must think of what might be good to sell there.

There is an indoor section with pinball and other arcade games, which we didn't look at this time. I presume they are open to everyone as the ticket section was outside. There are other activities inside too, including a roller disco.

They were still opening up rides while we were there, and pieces of hedge and fences were being moved around. I didn't mind this slightly chaotic mood it added to the atmosphere of  anticipation and of being one of the first on the site.

The chair o plane started up when we walked over, a 1970's classic Waveswinger, made it Germany and brought over from South Africa apparently.

I liked the painted decorations around the ride and took photos of it as well as the rest of the site and rides.

The Wall of Death had a showing which we were in time for, a wooden rickety feeling structure, where two rows of us looked down on the circular wooden track where two men rode their bikes round. In fact the bikes came right up to the top of the walls, very exciting to watch with the riders weaving around doing acrobatic moves as the walls vibrated with the noise of the engines.

I wasn't close enough for taking good photos, but enjoyed the performance.

The Helter Skelter and Hurricane Jets were being well used. I really like the jets, 1950's ride with good decorations.  Little ones were getting ready to pedal the Dream Cars, little vintage cars on a track. But the Big Wheel, and Double Decker weren't open, nor quite a few other rides, which was a shame, but I knew we would get free tickets for another visit.