Friday, December 27, 2013

Turner and Constable Sketching from Nature exhibition.

John Constable, The Sea near Brighton, 1826, Oil on paper laid on card, support: 175 x 238 mm, © Tate, London 2013

It's the last few days of the exhibition Turner and Constable Sketching from Nature at the Turner Contemporary gallery here in Margate.

View of the Turner Contemporay Gallery and Droit House from the Harbour.

J.M.W. Turner, The Thames near Walton Bridges, 1805 from Art Fund website

I have managed to go several times and hopefully one more time before it closes on the 5th January. Info from the gallery here

I must admit when I first heard the title of the exhibition I thought there might be some more sketch book sketches. But as a sketch was anything up to the point of a studio finnished painting in their days,the title holds.

 John Constable, The Grove, Hampstead, c. 1821-2 from Art Fund website

Along side paintings by Turner and Constable their are many works by their contemporaries including John Sell Cotman, John Croome and Francis Danby, which are good to see.

 Following various peoples ideas that a sketch is a better way to really recall a scene than a photograph, and as I couldn't take photos in the gallery I made some very quick line sketches to remind myself of the pictures that I really liked.
And I did find that I could recall the paintings and sketches quite easily from the little marks and comments.

I found myself inspired to do a few more sketches of the sky and clouds as well as studying the sea more closely.

The exhibition is well worth seeing if you have time over the next few days.

 John Croome, Yarmouth Harbour, Evening, c. 1817caption  from Art Fund website.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Artists Books talks part 2

The second talk I went to as part of Pushing Print was The Art of the Book by  Ciara Healey.

Ciara and I recognised each other from a book event but couldn't place which one. Ciara had a selection of artists books for us to look at as well. I was very much enjoying getting to handle books at these talks.

As a type of art object, artists books need to be seen and handled to really appreciate their construction as well as design and content.
Book arts bypass the constraints of the gallery Ciara said and have and are a valuable vehicle for the dissemination of ideas, including the radical and revolutionary. She gave a brief overview of the artist book, from Dada and Duchamp to Fluxus, Yoko Ono, Ed Ruscha and Sol De Witt. One of the books Ciara mentioned, Yoko Ono's Grapefruit has been republished link here

Ciara then introduced to some contemporary book artists some of whom I followed up, including Barbara Barnes Allen who produces large concertina books that can fill a gallery. Her work uses found objects from where ever she is combined on collaged pages. the everyday is the subject.

Image from Fiber Artist Journey 

Barbara writes on the book arts website  
"My closing thought on these books I borrow from Baudelaire. I paraphrase, but he essentially said that the job of the artist is to distill the ephemeral to the eternal. And so, one of the ways we can demonstrate this concept is by using the most ordinary of things around us to produce art that is of this time and only this time. It can be difficult creating art from ordinary things, but to me, within that concept lays the challenge and the answer. Our everyday defines us, the time we live in and what we observe along the way."

Another book artist Ciara spoke about was Steve Mcpherson   website here
whose works have been installations. In Drift ll  he was inspired by the sea Ciara said, collecting books that were to do with the bottom of the sea and layering them first over the gallery floor. He then layered books to do with the inside of the sea, including fish and sea creatures and finally the top layer was composed of books that dealt with the surface of the sea including ships.
Visitors to the gallery could take off their shoes and walk across the surface of the sea.

Ciara's talk was really inspiring and gave me a lot of food for thought on ways to work with books. Her enthusiasm for artists books of all forms was catching and I've found myself  following up more artists from her talk  If you want to know a bit more about Ciara and her work her own website is  here

Beach Cross racing on Margate main sands.

There are two Beach Cross racing competitions held in Margate each year which draw crowds to watch the quad and motorbikes. The second competition was last weekend and you could hear the roar of the bikes from our house.

I enjoy watching the races, the bikes churning up the sand, (this time because of the wind, quite a lot of sand was blowing across to the spectators) and the jumps they make from the sandunes. As the bikes go round the course you get views of bikes at various stages of the race.

Bikes can get stuck in the sand and you can see how much work it must take to physically race on the beach.  It is an international event and riders do come from Europe to take part.
I couldn't find a programme at this event so can't identify the riders unfortunately.

At the pit stop bikes and bikers make a colourful scene and around the beach there are various stands and stalls.
 The website for the Beach Cross event is here

Friday, October 25, 2013

Artist Books part 1 talk by Angie Butler, part of Pushing Print

Angie Butler in Droit House.

I was able to go to a series of very good talks about artists books held in Droit House and part of the Pushing print festival in Margate.

Angie Butler gave the first talk I went to and she spoke about a wide range of artists producing books often in collaboration with others and had a great selection of artists books for us to handle and illustrate her talk.
Angie talked about John Bentley and the Liver and Lights Scriptorium, website here.
I enjoyed hearing about his project  Liver & Lights No 43. The People.

John Bentley's cards from The People.
Where  John made work, portraits of people who had shared his life in someway and people for whom he could recall an anecdote. Inspired by pre-war cigarette cards he produced a set of collectible cards.
Angie had a set of his cards that we could handle and I followed up by looking at his work on the Liver&Lights website.

Book by Andi Mc Garry.

Another artist I followed up after Angie talked about his work  was Andi McGarry and the Sun, Moon and Stars press. Andi hand paints his books and they retain a very free expressive and colourful sense . He and John Bentley made a video together talking about each other and their work.  Video here

Angie also talked a bit about some of her own projects including Your Place/My Place, with Philippa Wood
 A project where she exchanged pictures, info and text about her home with Philippa Wood.
This lead to a book being produced and blogs about the project.

From her blog site Angie writes that the project  is "An online 'tour' of our own houses, and an accompanying artist's book that focuses on an intimate selection of the tour. We hope that by acknowledging the past, discussing the present and investing in the future we not only develop our own relationship, but aim to raise an awareness of how we are connected to the places where we live, and to understand the psychology that underpins our furnishings, decor and household adornments. Our conversations are shown in the comments boxes."    Blog here 

Well worth looking at.

Another of Angie's projects I really enjoyed hearing about was her "Another Old Lady".

This project lead to a book that celebrated Angie's love of typography and letterpress. I loved the inventiveness of her fish and chip inspired book.

Angie writes in her blog

" As we have all been working with given titles from Sarah Bodman's artists book, "An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen', I wanted to uphold the admiration for another's work, and I remembered a text from Andrew Wilson's book, Text Messages', a book of 100 text message poems, No.88 Old Lady Eating A Fish"

Angie's blog about this project is here  

I came away reinspired to engage with some of my own artists books left unfinished and with some new ideas.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pushing Print in Margate

The annual Pushing Print Festival started Friday night with several galleries in Margate holding exhibitions. Pushing Print website here  The Pie Factory Gallery held a private view showing a wide range of entrants to the Pushing print Open.

 I really enjoyed the selection which included a wide range of techniques including Sarah Gillett's Earthquake, mono prints on torn off papers collaged on the walls.  I liked the sense  of the powerful nature of an earthquake separating objects and places and the wall paper giving a sense of walls destroyed by the elements.  Sarah's website here 

Jian Zhou's impressively large wood cut, There is a Personal Space. This is a No Smoking Area  had a sense of mystery to me. The trees and rain and circular marks evoked a type of elemental place. It was something you could look at for a long time. Jian Zhou's site here
The Pie Factory Gallery exhibition is open from Saturday 5th – Sunday 20th October. Pie Factory website here

On Saturday a road roller was in the Old Town for a giant printmaking event where a lot of families were enjoying making large prints, pressed by the road roller.

There are a series of talks and workshops running with places left, which are on the pushing print website.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Sliding House installation by Alex Chinneck in Margate

I went up to Cliftonville today to look at artist Alex Cinneck's new art work," From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes" Which is a four storey house in Godwin road where the facade appears to be sliding down to the ground.

The artist was there being interviewed and photographed by his house. It is a striking piece, and people were stopping in their cars to look. Alex Chinneck has said he likes to use materials in un expected ways, like using the solid material of brick in a seemingly fluid way.

The house was compulsorary purchased by the council after being empty and derelict for 11years.
After the installation has been on show for a year the house will be converted back to a home to live in.

I like the homour in the work and the way it leads to questions about housing and homes and about areas like Cliftonville where there are a lot of lovely period properties slowly becoming derelict.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Curiosity exhibition and sketches

I caught the last day of the Curiosity exhibition at the Turner Contenporary Gallery on Sunday.

I had chance to see the amazing glass sea creatures again and Turner's watercolour studies of birds.

I also watched Tacita Dean's films one of ,which was a film of the artist Claes Oldenberg Manhatton Mouse Museum in his studio, cleaning and re arranging his collection of objects.

I am always pleased to see other artists studios and what they keep in them, and especially if they seem to collect all sorts of strange objects.. Claes Oldenberg had many such objects from platform boots and a childs trainer, to a mug with an apple core on it, antique perfume bottles and

He moved around on an wheeled office chair, dusting the pieces with a paintbrush and moving some from box shelf to box shelf.

A fascinating study and I was pleased to see it. Often I don't seem to have the time or energy to watch films as well as see exhibitions, so it's good I live close to the gallery.

Tacita Dean's other film, Prisoner Pair was a close up of 2 pears in a bottle of Schnapps, sunlight falls across the bottle and casts shadows, bubbles and small pieces of pear move in the liquid. Strangely mesmerising. I was glad to have watched them before the exhibition closed.

Out side the gallery I sat down for a few minutes taking a few photogrphs and sketching.

The next exhibition at the Turner Contemporary has Sketches from Turner and Constable, which looks great and opens on the 5th October 2013.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bird paintings at Turner Contemporay

The Turner Contemporary Gallery held another couple of art sessions last week, with stuffed birds as subjects.
Some of the birds came from the collection at Quex Park. I do feel a bit sad when I see stuffed birds and animals, the owl I painted was a bit battered too, but a lot of the children really liked being able to touch some of the birds and were excited by them.

Of course upstairs in the exhibition there are some amazing watercolours of birds that Turner himself painted, which I've mentioned before.

So without trying to think of how good Turner's are, I had a go at a few watercolours of the birds.
I have been enjoying spending time engaged with the art sessions at the gallery and with the fact that people of all ages are welcome and a lot of children and some parents also join in the sessions.

I look forward to the next ones.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Broadstairs Folk week.

I managed to get to the last day of the Broadstairs Folk week. That day we had the only a bit of rain in the week.

But I really enjoyed my short  time there, starting with a performance by Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham in the Old Curiosity Shop cafe.
Lovely cafe, small intimate space and great performance. Keith and Sylvia both played concertinas and sang with grace and humour.Their website here where you can hear some of their music.

I walked along the promenade and watched several Morris sides including Dead Horse Morris from Whitstable, there site here. 

The bandstand and area around it played host to childrens entertainment and was full to bursting with families enjoying themselves.

Musicians were having a jamming session in the shelters where I lingered for a little while and the markets had some good stuff, a mixture of festival alternative type clothes crafts, foods and collectables.

Hopefully I'll be able to make more of the week next year, definately recommended.