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The Editions Show at Project 78

16 Dec

Still looking for Christmas presents and hoping to find something arty but affordable? The current exhibition at Project 78 in St Leonards might provide the answer. The gallery is selling limited edition pieces from the artists who have exhibited there during the past two years. I admit that I am biased as two of my works are included, but it makes for a fascinating show. There is such variety: sculpture, prints, a single record, a memory stick, a small bag of rice, even a table and in prices, which range from £25 to £2000.

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Here are a few of them; they will be on sale in the gallery until the second week of January and on line at www.project78gallery.com/

I wrote about Neil Ayling’s work back in November last year and for this exhibition he has produced is this small but intriguing aluminium sculpture in a limited edition of eight at £85 each.

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Izabela Brudkiewicz is a performance artist who spent a week last summer counting grains of rice; 21,780 of them. For this exhibition she has produced seven mysterious little hand-made bags each one representing an hour of her time and costing £60. Brudkiewicz will be returning to Project 78 and again counting rice in the New Year.

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I was impressed by the recent exhibition from Anne Marie Watson whose flow of consciousness writing took the form of a meticulous circle. She has produced seven much smaller ones, all diffferent but still mind-blowing in their precision. They cost £100 each, £120 framed

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Anybody must love Martin Symons‘ chickens in a limited edition of 10 at £75.p1000842

Or if you are feeling flush there may still be a chance to acquire one of Patrick Adam Jones‘ large and dramatic “I am” pictures at £2000; four of the edition of five have already sold.

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Or how about one of mine? They  relate to the floating sculptures Nostalgia for the Body  which was shown back in May and are part digital prints, part collage using material from the original installation which was itself hand-painted. They are each in an edition of ten, but all slightly different and cost £60 unframed, £100 framed.

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The little purple table, in a limited edition of ten is by Becky Beasley and Marc Camille Charmonicz and relates to the summer show A House of Life. It could well prove a profitable investment Marc Carmille Charmonicz’ exhibition, an Autumn Lexicon, has just finished at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The price of the table goes up by £100 every time one is purchased.

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A very popular item at the Private View was a memory stick containing the video of the haunting Trees and Keys by Overlap;

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they are £56 each, or if you prefer old technology for £80 you can buy one of an edition of ten singles of the work Bass Superstructure  by Caleb Madden which was recorded in the project space. p1000867

Editions 16 is showing at Project 78, until 7 January  78 Norman Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0EJ 

Welcome to touch

6 Sep

I have a friend (you know who you are) who occasionally accompanies me to art exhibitions who is a complete menace when it comes to touching stuff. I am always on tenterhooks, ready to hiss ‘don’t touch it’ and fearing that we will be told to leave in disgrace. Of course I understand the temptation; if a work is intriguing you want to feel the texture as well as look at it, so it was refreshing to be invited to touch Jill Rock’s small sculptures at her open studio in St Leonard’s on Sea.

Rock who has exhibited widely, in the US, South America, China and Australia as well as in the UK and many other European countries, works with found objects, pieces of bark, roots and  the odd kind of object that can get washed up on the beach, a dead bird, a child’s sandal. She manipulates them, adding colour or arranging them in different juxtapositions so that they are transformed. “I see them like puppets, ” she said; “they can be used in different ways.”

Originally a painter, her interest in the objects that people disregard dates back to 1997, when she spent time in the Australian outback and got to know some Aboriginal artists. On her return to London she found herself re-connecting with nature and on finding some birch bark decided to paint it. While the Australian experience was an influence, her works could not be confused with indigenous Australian artefacts; “after all” she told me, “I am not an Aborigine.” There are other influences there too – Buddhism for instance, maps and manuscripts as well as the very different climate of northern Europe.

Showing in the studio were a selection of small works seductively laid out on pink cloth. The blue and yellow bark paintings were originally created for an exhibition at the Royal College of Pathologists and were titled Evidence of the Death of Krishna at the age of 125 in a Hunting Incident. According to legend, Krishna was seated under a tree when a hunter saw his legs move and thinking it was deer let loose an arrow. Rock explained that the bark is painted Indian Yellow, a colour which was traditionally created from the urine of cows fed on mango leaves, and in these paintings signifies Krishna’s yellow trousers while the indigo parts reference his blue skin. All the pieces are anthropomorphised; they could be a finger, an elbow, a piece of forearm, a breast plate or an eye.

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Elsewhere on the table the works had different colours  like this piece below which is fascinatingly and intricately painted and represents a map. Rock explains that the earliest maps were created on birch bark and in this one the flatter parts are the paths where you walk, while ridges and indentations represent the contours of the land.

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On the wall, the map stopped being one of the mind and became real – fittingly a map of St Leonard’s where Rock has recently bought a small seaside retreat. Attached to the map were bramble roots, partially painted white giving the impression of chaotic human activity.

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I told Rock how much I liked being able to handle the pieces. “I let people touch, whenever I can,” she told me, “whenever I visit exhibitions; I want to touch and have to keep my hands firmly behind my back. But my practice is based on touching; I find pieces on the ground; I pick them up and clean them and then I paint them and all the time I am touching them. Touch communicates so much.” My friend would have approved.

Jill Rock’s studio is also open next weekend. 10th and 11th September from 11am to 6pm as part of Coastal Currents  and is at 56 Warrior Square, but the entrance is through the green garden door from Church Road. Her website is http://cargocollective.com/JillRock

Keeping busy

29 May

It’s over a month since I have posted on Artelogical. I have been busy doing art rather than writing about it due to a series of commitments that were all bunched together. While it is wonderful to be busy, at times it all seemed a bit much and I found myself quite looking forward to getting to the end of it. But such is human nature, that now that it is over and I have no immediate exhibitions on the horizon, I am not exactly fretting today, but can see that I might start fretting in a week or two if nothing turns up.

The run started back in February when I had an exhibition of my floating sculptures, Nostalgia for the Body at Tom’s Etching Studio in Hackney Wick; then there was getting the maquette ready as one of the four finalists for the competition for a sculpture to commemorate the fire on Eastbourne Pier.  That will be showing at the Towner Gallery in June.

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Phoenixvane

I had arranged last summer to have an exhibition at the Olive Museum in Ano Gazea, near Volos in Greece to coincide with the Greek Easter which this year was on May 1. The Olive Museum is in the most perfect position overlooking the Pagasetic Gulf.

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The view from the Olive Museum, Ano Gazea

Apart from displays about the olive industry, the museum also has a small exhibition space for contemporary art. With hindsight it might have been sensible to postpone, but the prospect of setting up an exhibition in the sun was just too tempting. It did provide the perfect space for my installation Stone, Sea, Skin which is about the short span of human existence in the context of geological time.

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McDougall: Stone, Sea, Skin installation

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McDougall: Stone, Sea, Skin

At the same time I was trying to get my sculpture Flightpaths ready to be delivered to Broomhill for the finals of the National Sculpture Competition with a May 21st deadline. Flightpaths imagines the trajectory of birds and insects which have flown through the air at that spot in Broomhill in the past.

It is a huge honour to be one of the ten finalists. My sculpture will be in the park for a year. One of the ten will be chosen as overall winner by a panel of judges and the  public also have a chance to vote for their favourite.  Whilst winning either award would obviously be lovely, it was wonderful just to be part of it,  to see Flightpaths in place and also to meet other artists as well as the owners Rinus and Aniet and have a chance to look round the sculpture park and see the amazing works they have there.

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McDougall: Flightpaths

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You can read about the process and how it developed in my posts on the Broomhill competition blog here

It was then back to Hastings on Saturday and on Monday I was setting up for my exhibition at Project 78 in St Leonard’s. It was the floating sculptures again – more of them than ever before.  This  is my attempt to persuade myself that mortality is all for the best. For my beings are disembodied spirits, missing their time on earth; whilst they have consciousness they lack agency; they cannot feel the sun on their backs or enjoy a good meal.

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McDougall: Nostalgia for the Body

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Or that was the idea – at the Private View last night, people told me that my beings were not unhappy, that they were enjoying themselves.

So the beings, nostalgic or possibly partying, remain for a short time at Project 78  and I am left looking for a different project. It’s not that I don’t have lots of ideas rather that I am unsure at the moment which one to pursue; that brings its own problems; with no immediate deadline, it gives me absolutely no excuse not to tidy up the studio.

Returning to Tass Windows in St Leonard’s

26 Jan

I returned to the Baker Mamonova Gallery in St Leonard’s on Sea this week to see the latest exhibition of Tass Posters and a contemporary works inspired by them. I first wrote about Tass Windows in December 2012. I wanted to see how a new batch of artists had responded to the works. Russell Baker who owns the gallery has organised a split exhibition: upstairs on the mezzanine were some dozen original Tass posters; these were produced in great numbers in the 1940s to deliver propaganda messages in the Soviet Union. They were not printed but stencilled, which, along with the sans serif font, gives them a distinctive appearance.  On the ground floor were works by some seven contemporary artists. whom Baker had invited to make their own posters using the same kind of methods.

I had seen the Tass posters three years earlier and then had been rather more interested in the contemporary works. Unexpectedly, for me, this time, it was the Tass works which stole the show. Looking at them again I was struck by their optimism and idealism.  We know now that communism does not work, or perhaps, less categorically, we know that it has not worked in any society so far and tends to lead to inefficiency, corruption and oppression. But the artists themselves did not know that then.  They were convincingly and spiritedly able to exhort the public to work hard for the public good.

What was so touching was their romantic view of any kind of work. Men and women look noble whilst producing or mending tractors, making industrial chemical or tyres.

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My particular favourite is a 1945 poster of women making chocolate.

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A notice on the wall helpfully gives a translation,

Comrade confectioners! Let’s respond
To heroic work with Stakhanovite production,
So that young and old alike remember us over tea,
And there are enough sweets for every table.

There were of course overtly political messages as well; one poster shows fascist rats, leaving the sinking ship of Hitler’s regime. In all cases there was passion.

Downstairs the passion was largely absent. The seven invited artists had used the same kind of fonts and drawn from the same kind of techniques to produce some attractive images. But there was no exhortation to do anything, and as the original Tass posters were packed full of faces, surprisingly few people. Of course, these works were not supposed to be pastiche but an artistic response. Even so, however pleasing, a picture of the pier, or of nearby Dane Road, might be, it somehow didn’t have much connection with the originals. I felt Ed Williams got nearest to the spirit of Tass with his poster of Nomura, apparently a building designed by the firm of architects of which he is a member. But the whole concept of the Tass posters is more than just observation.

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I also liked Wittgenstein’s dog by Patrick Adam Jones though didn’t see much connection with Tass and little with Wittgenstein – though I guess that was part of the point.

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Working out who did what was difficult. The numbering and labelling of the works is confusing not just for me but, so it turned out, also for the staff on duty. When I first admired a small collage on an easel, nobody was able to tell me the artist. It turned turned out to be by Baker himself.

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But my overriding feeling was that this was a great ides which had failed to deliver all that it could have done. I understand that the exhibition will be staged in Moscow later in the year which might be part of the reason that politics appeared to be so absent. I couldn’t help but wonder what the original Tass artists would have wanted to portray if they had time-travelled to today: refugees perhaps or the nobility of those helping them. A final thought, all the seven invited artists were men; given the importance of women artists in the Russian avant-garde movement and the fact that the Tass artists consistently showed women labouring and striving alongside men, I felt they would not have approved.

Looking at Okho Tass is showing  till 4 March at the Baker Mamonova Gallery, 43-45 Norman Road, St Leonard’s on Sea TN38010

 

Don’t step backwards

24 Nov

I have been suffering from flashbacks ever since my visit  a couple of days ago to the Project 78 Gallery in St Leonard’s on Sea. The gallery was set up by Patrick Jones who heads the Contemporary Fine Art Course at Sussex Coast College. He sets out to show works of a standard and originality that you would normally only find in a London gallery. But it was not the art that has been giving me the flashbacks, though it was good,  but the fact that I nearly,  inadvertently, destroyed it.

I am not normally particularly clumsy in galleries; I associate that with my husband who, a few years back, managed to trip over a little pile of stones which unaccountably had got into the final of the Jerwood Drawing Prize. He did it not once, but twice.  In his defence, if you put a little pile of stones in the middle of a wall-based exhibition, you have to expect somebody will trip over it, though you might hope that having done it once, he or she would not do it again.

But Neil Ayling’s exhibition, Facet, was exemplarily displayed; no trip hazards at all.  Ayling’s work is inspired by the details of architecture that are so easy to overlook. His works involve photography but are, nonetheless, three dimensional. Imagine you had a photographic image on paper and then folded it into origami type forms or cut it up and and repositioned the pieces. His sculptures work like that, only they are made not from paper but from a variety of materials: bronze, plywood and concrete.  I was just trying to photograph the work below which is cast in bronze but is still reminiscent of folded paper, when I stepped backwards to get a better shot.

 

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Neil Ayling: Facet

My shoulder just nudged the piece behind me, which was made of plywood. To my horror, it detached itself from the wall. Amazingly and fortunately it did not go crashing to the ground; my reflexes are apparently in pretty good shape because I managed a rapid half twist and was left supporting it with my shoulder until help arrived and we put it back.

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Regular readers of this blog will know my lack of sympathy with the photo police you find in many galleries and that I have often been guilty of trying to sneak a shot from under their noses. On this occasion, my photography was fortunately authorised.  That has not prevented my imaginings of an alternative universe, in which I see Ayling’s work splintered and wrecked.

I am so glad that it did not happen like that because apart from the appalling embarrassment that would have ensued,  it is an interesting piece.  Even having been there and seen it and taken the photograph, I still can’t quite see how he achieves the effect of this composite image of the capitals of a classic column from plywood.

Ayling’s apparently attributes his multi faceted take on architecture  to his youthful love of skateboarding. As he sped, twisting and turning along pavements, he would view his surroundings in a series of short bursts, when details, often at unexpected angles, would come briefly into focus, blur and then change to the next sharp snapshot. As an adult, he has continued to walk through the city searching out those angles.

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In the plywood work, the capitals of the columns are clear enough but with other pieces, such as this work in concrete and polystyrene, you feel you are close to identifying just what it is, but can’t quite put your finger on it. I want to go back and have another look. Next time I will be careful not to step backwards.

Facet runs until 5 December at Project 78 Gallery in Norman Road, St Leonard’s on Sea, TN38 OEJ. The gallery is open from Thursday to Saturday between 12.00 – 17.00 or by appointment Monday – Wednesday.

Semaphore Gallery: on the right lines

29 Nov

Up and down the country there must be artists looking for places to exhibit. Meanwhile, there must also be an abundance of idle rooms which could make excellent gallery spaces. University of Brighton art graduates Daniel Dowling and David Wright have found one such in St Leonards on Sea, conveniently situated  at the Railway Station. Thanks to the generosity of Network Rail, the former waiting room and sometime police room has now been turned into a mini gallery open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Named the Semaphore Gallery, it was today showing work by Nick Hill, whose distinctive and idiosyncratic style was proving a draw; I even saw a couple of police officers drop in, curious to see how their former work base was being used.

Nick Hill: Strange Fruit

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Mostly Hill, shown below, concentrates on his brightly coloured paintings but  he also dabbles in ceramics, etchings and the occasional curiosity.

Nick Hill outside the Semaphore Gallery

What could be more curious than this special book, constructed in part out of sweets. Now that is something you could really get your teeth into.

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One Man in a Waiting Room is showing at the Semaphore Gallery from 11 until 3pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 13.

Tom Hammick and Patrick Adam Jones’s Map

18 May

About a year ago, Julian Bell, Tom Hammick and Andre Jackowski held what was billed as a joint exhibition  – Dreams of Here at Brighton Museum. In the event the result was more like three separate exhibitions; not only were the three artists in separate rooms but even of the colour of the walls of the rooms were different. So when Hammick and Patrick Adam Jones were invited hold an exhibition together at the Baker Mamonova Gallery  in St Leonards, the two artists were keen that the exhibition should be a dialogue. When I visited Map this weekend, the paintings in the window gave an initial impression that they might have succeeded. Inside  it was clear that whilst the pair might have arrived at the party together, once there, they merely nodded politely at each across the room rather than engaged in deep discussion.

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Paintings by Tom Hammick and Patrick Adam Jones in the window of the Baker Mamonova Gallery

It was hardly surprising; their styles are very different. Tom Hammick’s are the more representational; shacks, gardens and people, particularly his wife and daughter, frequently feature in his works and while the viewer may not immediately understand all the thinking that goes into the painting, they will have a fair idea of what it that they are looking at. In contrast, Patrick Adam Jones works are often layered and the details may be partly obscured so that the complexity only becomes apparent through study.  Hammick chooses bright, bold, vibrant colours – he achieves some wonderful blues and purples; Adam Jones frequently favours shades of white and near white and works in wax which give the works an extraordinary translucency. They come together to some extent in the size of the works and, in this exhibition, there was supposedly the link of the map, though it was somehow rather hard to spot: Adam Jones sometimes uses maps as a base for his works and with  Hammick the works are – well – loosely connected to places – but then aren’t most things?

It was interesting to see how the artists had developed over the last year. Hammick’s works were familiar;  the subject matter and colours were those one has come to expect. They included the woodcut of the Exon filling station and the painting Compound which both appeared at Brighton last year and an extremely desirable print Edgelands, which has also appeared before in different colour combinations – all classic Hammick works. There were also some new paintings, on a smaller scale than I had seen hitherto, including Orchard a simple but beautifully coloured painting of a ladder against a tree and Island Study.

Tom Hammick: Compound

Tom Hammick: Compound

Tom Hammick: Island Study

Tom Hammick: Island Study

Adam Jones had a number of his wax based paintings in the exhibition, such as Inside, shown below. I like the way with these works that you can see different elements in different lights.

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Patrick Adam Jones:Inside

There was  a departure in the highly complex piece,  Of Course, a large mixed media piece, involving a collection of works on paper behind glass on which he had applied a series of digits.

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Patrick Adam Jones: of Course

It was interesting and I was intrigued by the way the digits were more evident against some of the backgrounds than against others; this was a work which needed time appreciate the different elements. I particularly liked the way that the numbers gave the impression of the passing of time.  But, probably annoyingly since it must have taken  ages to create, some of the water colours impressed me as much – there was a  series of nine that worked extraordinarily well together.

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Patrick Adam Jones: Watercolours

There were some of the familiar words which Adam Jones has used in many of his paintings – I could have been a farmer but these little paintings which had clearly been done quickly had a freshness and somehow a sense of mystery which made you want to study them and which I really liked. So it appears do other people; three had been bought already; I predict it will not take long before the others are gone as well.

Map is showing at the Baker Mamonova Gallery in  43-53 Norman Road, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex  until June 1.

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