We are open 11 until 6pm both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. More details can be found at :
There are many artists who have opened their studio and homes around the area of Dulwich. A map of all the houses can be downloaded from the Dulwich Open House Website.
Here are som close up shots.
I went to many exhibitions yesterday; one last flurry before I started back to work after half term. I am just about to plan some lessons for tomorrow, but I must write first about La Petite Muerte as it is well worth a visit before it closes on 11th November.
The last show on my tour was located in a pub cellar off Kingsland Road, which is great as it is open 6-9pm – Thurs- Sunday, so you can get a beer at the bar too. The curator is an artist called Kirsty Harris, who I first encountered at Matt Robert’s Alas exhibition. Some of the 38 selected artists are contacts she gathered from the Alas residency, but many are artists she knows personally and admires.
The theme was to coincide with the Mexican Day of the Dead festival that happens in Mexico at the beginning of November. The artworks exhibited related to this festival “exploring contemporary notions of mortality, sex, rituals and icons.”
Where to start, as there was much to see with really interesting stories behind the exhibited artworks. Lets begin with a taxidermy piece by Ruth Bartlett; a tender scene of a sleeping squirrel curled upon a stack of walnuts, that would indeed offer sustenance during the coming winter months. The piece is arranged in such as way to conceal any brutality of the act of death itself, as the squirrel is of course not really sleeping and that this ‘squirrel utopia’ is indeed a fabrication. The artist seemed to have prepared the squirrel for the afterlife in a kind of respectful anti ‘burial’ ritual.
I guess this ‘sending off’ is what the artists in the show were dealing with. Mexicans celebrate their dead in a particular way, which involves a colourful and joyous ceremony and probably why it is so well-known throughout the world. Yet all cultures commemorate the dead with complex traditions and etiquettes, some of course more sombre than others and the exhibition alluded to many of these personal interpretations. Death is both a collective, shared experience which happens to everyone of us and also a very deeply personal and unique experience.
The diversity of artwork in La Petite Muerte, goes someway to illustrate these sensibilities, with artists focussing on the wider themes of rituals and belief structures. Artists explored the impact of death upon the individual by incorporating personal and touching memories; artworks attempted preservation and embodied concepts of renewal, absence and loss; all mixed up with equal measures of humour and melancholy, starkness and sensitivity.
Three artworks which explore the journey to the afterlife or the sensations of a near death experience which is sometimes described as a light at the end of the tunnel.
I would like to mention Caro Halford’s art work. I don’t think I have ever seen such a personal artwork in a gallery before. The piece includes a photograph of her father and an image of where some of his ashes were scattered. In the box below, his actual ashes are encased. This to me is a simple but powerfully poignant piece. I wondered where the photograph of the rocks were taken and what it meant to the artist and her father. A very thought-provoking tribute, remarking upon our personal associations with places and memory; how life and death can become mentally and physically connected to the environment.
The curator, Kirsty Harris, had included a small painted panel resting delicately on a ledge, depicting an image of a friend, 8 months pregnant. So as antithesis to death, there comes renewal and new life.
An acrylic reworking upon a Victorian cabinet card by Tom Butler. A calling card, or carte de visite was often left at an address, to say that a particular person had visited. The cabinet card was a larger version of this craze that was popular in the 1860 and 70s. This is a beautiful and delicate artwork and although the face has been obliterated, it has been painted with such care, the act is not a destructive one. This reminds me how through time, the individuality of the person diminishes; they become unexplained, unidentifiable and lost, belonging to no one.
A photograph which illustrates a carnage of body parts, threadbare soft toys, ‘Andy Goldsworthy gerbils’ or a pile of ginger root, by Peter Ainsworth.
Hugh Mendes meticulous transcription from a newspaper, detailing the death of a dear,yet unattractive comrade.
A phone sim card sculpture by Paul Stanley, entitled ‘every text she ever sent to me‘ and cast in a resin block. This paradoxical attempt to arrest time, renders the sim card unusable and is therefore a futile and destructive act, but perhaps a necessary ritual to move forward, or it could be seen as a preservation of love?
La petite Muerte is a visually exciting exhibition, showing a diverse range of contemporary artworks. I wanted to write more and also about every artist, as this review only touches on a fraction of what is there, but my camera Raw plugin tutorial for tomorrow awaits. Go see before it is too late.
All artists exhibiting can be found here, with images and website links.
This painting entitled ‘Dwarf Stars’ created by the artist, Julian Brown, intrigues me. I am wondering if this is a colour study referring to the various types of dwarf stars. If I had not looked at the title, the painting would conjure up a landscape in my mind; of interlocking mountains with a sun at the top right. When I think of dwarf stars, I think about the black dwarf, which is when a star is finally burnt out and becomes a cold rock floating through space. In my pessimistic world, this painting symbolises the end of mankind, the end of earth, as without the sun, we can not survive…. But how can something so sweet and tasty as these paintings mean this………?
I thought I would add an image or two more of Julian Brown’s artwork. Of course you can see even more at his website:
He has just been selected for the Marmite Prize this year
“The imagery in my work is very heavily influenced by nostalgic visions of the 1980’s and the folk art from my mother Polish heritage. Both of these worlds have a handmade geometric quality that has a playful and primitive relevance to the world we now live in.”
The work has an obvious decorative quality. Knowing that he is influenced by Polish folk art, I decided to look at some examples online. The images that I came across, seemed to have a sense of innocence and cheeriness and were a celebration of all colours of the rainbow.
Vinculum is Latin for “bond”, which is the title of the above painting. This title completely changes how I view the work, from something flat in 2-D, it suddenly pops out and becomes an interlocking rope or bandage.
This painting entitled, ‘Buccaneers II’, is interesting. I see it as a herd of deer, probably because of the colours Brown has utilised and also the sweep of the brush strokes give the work a skittish energy; but is it in fact a historic account of a battle between Portuguese and Spanish ships? When I down loaded this particular image from his website, the image was documented as ‘kindling’ which again shifts the meaning of the work or adds another layer to my battle analogy.
I find the art works by Julian Brown are something to ponder upon. There is this obvious child-like aesthetic; an innocent and playful arrangement of shapes and colour, but then the titles just throw up some unanswered questions. I realise how much of my own history, and memories are projected onto the work and corrupt the most authentic interpretation, which is that of the artists. Or is this what it is all about? How fragments from childhood, traces of folklore and tradition, of artefacts and dialogue can be a flitting presence underpinning the work, but by the most delicate of threads; which of course might dance off again, when the physicality of liquidy and joyous paint take hold!
The Crypt Gallery, Euston Road, St. Pancras Church, London, NW12BA
Surface II is open from 13th July- 22nd July 2012 and is curated by Fiona Chaney and Louise Harrington
Louise Harrington, Fiona Chaney, Sophie Cordery, Regina Valkenborgh, Lyndsey Searle, David Donald, Hazel Walsh, Stephen Buckeridge, Juliet Guiness, Sarah King, Sinéid Codd, Susan Eyre, Kelvin Burr, Amy-Louise Watson, Jessie Rayat, Nina Ciuffini, Hélène Uffren,
Jo Lovelock, Sarah Rose Allen, Debbie Lyddon, Susan Francis, Samantha Blanchard,
Maria Gaitanidi, Cynthia Ayral, Natasa Stamatari, Alexandros Alexandridis
I went to the opening of Surface II at St Pancras Church today. There is a gallery space underneath the church which has regular curated exhibitions. The show I visited today was a collection of 26 artists exploring the theme of surface. The gallery itself is an intriguing surface, with bare walls, arches, passageways and cavernous spaces and some artists had integrated their work directly with the interior. For instance, artists had used the walls to project films upon, which produced an interesting result, as the walls were made up of exposed crumbling brick work. The footage appeared fragmented and decayed. There was a lot of interesting ideas about surfaces, using painting, photography, performance and installation.
The artwork below is by Susan Eyre. It was impossible not to touch the surface of her work, as the texture was so inviting.
Another artwork that I enjoyed was by Regina Valkenborgh, made with a beer can pin hole camera.
Louise Harrington had created this sculptural photograph placed in one of the caverns at The Crypt.
Artwork by Kelvin Burr; chalky, faded, sanded down surfaces, with pools of colour being revealed in cavities and diffused and soft mark making over the smooth top layers.
Hazel Walsh displayed a series of images, which looked almost like drawings. They were really beautiful and unusual.
Matt Roberts Arts, 25b Vyner St, London, E2 9DG
28th June – 7th July 2012
I visited the inaugural opening of ALAS at Matt Roberts’ Gallery. This group show will become a twice yearly event on Vyner Street, happening in June and November. This is an exciting addition to the Matt Roberts Gallery annual Salon exhibitions, consisting of a mixed media show, (painting, sculpture, installation and any 2-D media) as well as the two additional salon prizes, which specialise in photography and video.
The salon shows and now ‘ALAS‘ are great platforms for contemporary artists to gain valuable exposure of the work and forge new links with other practitioners, galleries and art collectors in London. I spoke to Matt Roberts that evening about his idea behind the current show. He seems to have a real understanding and commitment in supporting artists to develop their career as successful practitioners. I really liked his idea of getting artists to work collaboratively in the gallery environment prior to the exhibition, sharing and discussing their development to make a cohesive show. An artist tends to have an isolated lifestyle, so the making of ALAS was a return to the college atmosphere, where peer assessment could be implemented to support the making process, as opposed to merely commenting on finished work. In addition, each Saturday, a talk or visit was arranged where artists would meet different organisations in the art world to gather contacts and advice.
“After five years of providing artists’ professional development support Matt Roberts has launched ALAS, as a means of sharing knowledge about ways in which artists can gain exhibition experience and exposure for their practice. The ALAS professional development residency consists of over 100 hours of lectures and one-to-one tuition from our team and guest lecturers over a five week period. Successful applicants will be asked to bring 1-2 works in progress which will be completed in our studio facilities and exhibited at the Matt Roberts Arts gallery spaces.”
Exhibiting artists are:
Here is a small selection of images from the group exhibition.
Black and white photo from the exhibition of Jemma Watts drawings on paper
The image above shows a photo of a film by Hannah Futers, except you can not see anything. Her film was in an enclosed space at the entrance of the gallery. In reality, the film is so delicate and faint, you can barely make out the footage of shimmering of light. I could not capture it properly to illustrate Hannah Futer’s work, but it was so interesting I wanted to mention it in more detail. A visitor was telling her friend about it, so I listened in. She had recorded the flickering colours of light, reflected on the shiny surface of a gallery floor. At first, the film was abstract and unidentifiable, then a gallery visitor’s feet cross over the reflection. It was subtle, a sublime light, a trace of something, then reality hits you. It feels like the gallery visitor is breaking the silence or the beauty of the piece. It feels destructive and intrusive, except this recording is just an unintentional by-product of an artwork. Futer’s work seems to play with the idea of authorship, capturing interest in the peripheral areas of an artwork, that the original artist has no control or claim over. Is it now hers for the taking?
An artwork by Kirsty Harris on small sanded down oak panel. The detail in phenomenal. She uses a 10x 0 brush to get some of these lines, which I never knew existed! Her oil paintings are created using traditional miniature painting techniques and show a contemporary and comical take of paintings from history. They remain faceless, so that the work refers to compositional elements as opposed to making an identifiable portrait of someone.
This is a detail from Catrine Bodum’s work. The painting was made of two parts and this photo shows just the right hand side of the artwork.
Detail from Sarah West’s painting.
I really enjoyed the exhibition and you could see that a good friendship between the artists had also been created at the opening event. The artists came from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, experiences and disciplines. The exhibition runs until the 7th July so go check it out. More info can be found here.
Here is a link to the website
The work features artists:
The exhibition runs until 14th July 2012