Mirrors in art

A lot of people I know seem to be migrating back to their homeland / escaping to the country right now, as I have recently done. The majority of these people are in their early 30s, as I am, and are making the move for a better quality of life because their circumstances have changed; namely they need more internal and external space and feel the urge to reconnect with nature in some way, and for some reason. 

This has got me thinking about the profound, inescapable effect that the great outdoors has had on so many people that I know in their early life. It’s got me thinking about the intrinsic link between mental and physical wellbeing and landscape, and how we are reflected in the landscape that we hold dear to us, and it is reflected in us in some way. This has got me thinking about the use of mirrors in art… and has prompted me to get me some mirror to experiment with – more on that soon.

An invitation for an imaginary spatial journey

Love this! Love Modus Operandi’s work – all kinds of fantastic public art in unexpected corners of the country. Check this is out

Artist: Antoni Malinowski
Title of work: Spectral Flip
Client: University of Oxford
Location: Andrew Wiles Building, ROQ, University of Oxford
Year: 2015
Image credit: Valerie Bennett

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Antoni Malinowski commented on his installation:
Each day the journey of light is registered on the two large walls facing each other in the luminous foyer. To complement and enhance this journey, I began by sensitising this background by applying a reflective paint made with mica ground to a fine pigment. Then on the south facing wall, using light absorbing pigments, I painted in colours related to the warm end of the spectrum – from red to yellow. These light wave subtractive earth pigments have been used by painters for around forty thousand years.

The wall paintings will appear very different from different viewing points and with different light conditions. The colour will oscillate between darkness and light, appearing and disappearing, showing different sides of binary complementarities. One elongated thin line in each painting will contribute to the opening of the pictorial space – an invitation for an imaginary spatial journey.”

www.antonimalinowski.co.uk 

Awesome – literally!

Norman Ackroyd and John Bell on art in North Yorkshire

I recently reviewed The Original Print Show at Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk for the Darlington and Stockton Times (read about it here), and in doing so got a really interesting insight into what the future of art in North Yorkshire might/could hold…

Born in Leeds in 1938 the artist, printmaker and curator, Norman Ackroyd CBE RA, launched his artistic career as a student at Leeds College of Art before starting his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London in the early 60s. From then on in, his career has been on a positive trajectory that has not only seen him enjoy personal success, but enjoy the success of early career talent that he has nurtured along the way. Amongst all that his rich career continues to offer, Ackroyd has never forgotten his Yorkshire roots, or his love for all that Yorkshire presents.

PR_IanDavenport_Duplex Etching Blue, Pink-hi (2)

Ian Davenport – Duplex

With passion and excitement brimming over in a voice that hasn’t been the slightest bit affected by life in London Ackroyd explained;
“3500 printmakers from all over the world to the 72 that have been selected for the show in Thirsk this year; that’s a refinement of what was hung in the Summer Exhibition by 20%! I’ve organised this exhibition for fun, but with real intention. Zillah Bell Gallery was extended a few years ago to accommodate a new floor designed specifically for showing prints in. The gallery would have been too cluttered for this kind of show before.”
Without missing a beat, the impassioned man continued,
“This new space presents a real opportunity to put on some really serious shows… there are some incredibly ambitious and skilled works in this show, and I think some of the Royal Academicians and exhibiting artists may now have solo shows up there. This is the second year we’ve organised this show – the gallery is making some good relationships with London galleries that could present opportunities to explore making the gallery in Thirsk even more of a destination.”

Indeed, the benefits of cultural tourism to the local economy should never be underestimated, and exhibitions of this standard present excellent opportunities to build upon the artistic offer in the region, in turn enhancing the lure.  Director of Zillah Bell Gallery, John Bell, commented with pride and enthusiasm;
“I believe any gallery in the entire UK would be proud to host an exhibition of this quality and depth – and, by showing their work, the contributing artists are demonstrating their belief in art in the North.

This area can take real pride in its culture, in the new Hepworth Wakefield, in the success of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and in the knowledge that so many of today’s foremost artists and writers have come from the North.

Art is for everyone – get out there and enjoy it!”

Too beautiful…

Walter Keeler’s stoneware salt glaze teapot with overslung handle circa 1990’s on show (and available to buy for £850.00) at Oxford Ceramics Gallery – approximate dimensions are: 19.5cm x 21cm x 12cm. LOVE it! Love the speckled turquoise hues, love that athletic, yawning handle. Love the cheeky, jaunty angle of the short, little spout. LOVE this teapot!

Walter Keeler

Really like his sansai jug on stand too… Reminds me of a strutting peacock person with hand on hip and head held high. Just love these objects – such fun!

Walter Keeler  2

Here’s a link to some background information about Walter Keeler, and below’s a photo of his nice face (found online)…

Walter Keeler

That is all!

Oxford Vessels

 

Some people are born with a story to tell and a sense of the gift they posses that will help them to share that story; whilst others’ stories and gifts are more deeply buried. Through a project resulting in an exhibition in the Gallery at Arts at the the Old Fire Station, artist Georgie Manly has helped to access hidden stories…

Vessels is the new exhibition in the Gallery at the brilliant Arts at the Old Fire Station (sanwiched between George Street, the bus station and Gloucester Green) in Oxford that was conceived by artist Georgie Manly, and has been created in collaboration with Crisis (the national charity for single homeless people) and the Pitt Rivers Museum.

The University of Oxford Pitt Rivers Museum houses archeological and anthropological objects – collection upon collection of quotidian objects spanning time and cultures with several similar types of objects running through many of those collections. Enter, the vessel! The essential object that transcends time, class and culture. Used for eating from, drinking from, cooking with, containing, and occasionally as an objet d’art in itself – a vessel’s uses are limitless; which is why, when one doesn’t have a lot, one ensures one has a decent vessel.

Crisis clients have completed a 12-week course working with artist Georgie Manly to create a series of vessels made from earthenware clay that will be displayed at the OFS alongside Georgie’s own ceramic sculptural pieces that have been  inspired by the Pitt Rivers’ collection of early 20th century African animal traps .

All just a little bit of history repeating… Georgie has been passing down the art of simple hand-building clay sculpting techniques (see the images below) and teaching how to mix glazes, the likes of which the group has been admiring and studying on the various preparatory visits they have made to Pitt Rivers. 

     

Developing their own ideas around the theme of ‘vessels’, exploring material, process and concept, the group of Crisis clients have produced their own collection of individual and meaningful works in clay that relate to their own culture, needs, and experiences resulting in a highly original and personal installation of works.

Having recently taken up pottery myself, I can vouch for the absorbing meditative, primeval feeling of clay handling. It’s a process that really roots the artist in his work and on the earth – yet it’s so primeval that the process doesn’t feel like art, it feels like nature. Simply doing what you were put on this earth to do, what you need to do to survive. Whilst that’s clearly not true in this day and age, clay handling, much like digging earth with a spade, generates a curiously satisfying grounding sensation. I imagine that participating in a project such as this, studying similar vessels in the Pitt Rivers would also underline man’s basic needs and evoke feelings that we are not far removed from our ancestors, or brothers and sisters around the globe.

Like all exhibitions at the OFS, Vessels is free to view and opens on Friday 1 May and continues Saturday 20 June 2015. 

 

Meet Georgie Manly… On May 2, there will be the opportunity for the public to create their own works in clay, in response to the exhibition, with Georgie at Gloucester Green Market, from 10am to 4pm. This special event is aptly named Clay for All, and this entire project really does underline that clay really is for all.