I am exhibiting new Sculpturescape work at the Fringe Arts Bath. The curators Mike and Dona Bradley, describe doorways as thresholds to somewhere new. Doorways are the physical symbol of the transition – of change – between the ‘now’ and the ‘next’, from ‘here’ to ‘there’; moving in, moving out, moving on. Familiar in ritual, religion, myth and literature, doorways have emotional power. Doorways occupy the liminal space between two states of being, a transition that has to be negotiated before the ‘next’ can begin.
Rite of Passage is one of the Sculpturescapes I am showing at the exhibition. It shows a figure from the vantage point of a doorway, a crack in the door or a door that is ajar. The figure is a lady in a pose of prayer, consolation, meditation. Here she is alone and we are looking through into her private space. It forces us to ask ourselves whether or not we should be looking? We are not being invited to enter in through the doorway, but to stay outside and hidden. If we look beyond her we see that she entered from another space, through a dimly lit archway. That entrance beyond is mysterious and holds a slight feeling of eeriness. Where does this doorway take her? Where has she come from? Does she turn left to leave this sacred space, or right? Does she belong in our time? Who is she and in what sort of world does she belong? In what sort of world do we belong? Is this a doorway to an earlier time when prayer and contemplation were commonplace?
“The lines we leave behind us, the spacious weave, our wake, then sleep.” Robert Macfarlane.
My response to the theme of Human lies in two quite different pieces – the Drawing Machine and the Shroud of a Drove Road.
As a young sculptor and photographer, being asked to create work on this theme, is both a privilege and a challenge. To think about and grasp this concept is in itself, the stuff of epics, poetry, biblical writings, paintings, history and so on.
I ventured that Human would be best expressed and consolidated by creating pieces that showed the incidence, coincidence and transience of the marks that we, as human beings, make during our lifetime. Here TIME is not linear. Recordings, impressions, nature and our creation all conjoin into one moment. I also wanted that the work express the fleeting nature of any impression that we leave behind us. Of the billions of humans that have inhabited this world, only a fraction has ever been recorded. Of so few, do we even have a name, let alone a physical idea of them, a voice, gait or an idea of where they lived, how they lived and with whom they lived. They are just dust under our feet. Our graveyards and burial places record only a few. It is a huge image in my head that the testament to all these lives lived is lost. Our memory span is so short.
So I decided to record common places and commonly used places and spaces that made up some of the daily experience of people who inhabited them. I have made my own impressions using my bed sheets. They have been much impressed by me and conversely me by them for so many sleep and dream-filled hours. In their next life, I have used them to make Shrouds as an act of collective memory. I have made Shrouds of windows, dry-stone walling, ancient and well-trodden flag stone floors, old barns. The Shroud here is called Drove Road, Dorset. These are ancient paths through which drovers of livestock drove to and from fields, villages, towns and markets. The paths related people to places and connected them. They are like an arterial network throughout Britain. This drove road has been worn down to its bedrock by the passage of people. I gather soil from all over the world and here I have used Icelandic volcanic ash from Landmannalaugar that fell onto the glacier. I use this soil to make the impressions of this place:
Robert Macfarlane wrote: “paths were imprinted with the ‘dreams’ of each traveller who had walked it and that his own experiences would in course of time [also] lie under men’s feet.” That is what I am trying to convey and it is what I feel.
In this way I try to reach back through these images to those earlier inhabited spaces.
“Touch is a reciprocal action, a gesture of exchange with the world. To make an impression is also to receive one…” Robert Macfarlane
The companion piece is a drawing machine. It is made from found objects. In themselves each component is made from instruments that have been created to measure ourselves within our world: weight, load, compression, suspension, swing, time, frequency, vibration and rhythm. I have combined these to make a machine that draws only when pushed by people. Thus, depending on people’s frame of mind and the force used, the drawing machine makes a mark or leaves a person’s mark on the paper. It records all of our gestures and interactions, which combine to make a complete drawing. The idea is that in a very positive way, it only draws if people push it. Depending on your frame of mind, or the force you use, it has a direct impact on the rhythm of the machine. All of your contributions have made these drawings, and it was just a very simple way of saying what it is like when you are all together and being human.
TASTE THE FUTURE – PIZZA BOX EXHIBITION
34 BELGRAVE SQUARE
LONDON SW1X 8QB
Open Day 7th September
11.00am – 3pm
8th September – 30th November 2017
In the forthcoming exhibition ‘Taste’ the Future – Art in a Pizza Box, I am showing my new sculpture ‘Manna from Heaven’ alongside 30 artists from 12 countries. It is open during Fringe Frieze. The exhibition continues until 30th November. I have attached more information about the Venice Biennale group.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN
The Pizza Box is a symbol of our age of convenience. Quickly ordered and delivered to ones door, the pizza is now a template on which many cultures are able to impose their palate. ‘Manna from Heaven’ is a sculpture and interactive puzzle seen from a bird’s eye view. It asks what type of future could we taste? Manna – Bread was given by God every morning to the Israelites on their exodus from Egypt to Sinai. It had to be eaten on the day otherwise it would rot. This prevented hoarding and greed for personal gain.
This puzzle sculpture plays on the premise that the negative space is as important as the positive. In one space, a conversation takes place by four figures that we see from above when we open the lid of the pizza box. These figures with abstracted heads and bodies converge and are inclined in serious deliberation. They occupy the negative space around an early Medieval Christian cross. Their ‘heads’ notch into the cross – the positive permanent symbol of Christianity. It is as though they hold up the cross and complete the space. The heads resemble question marks. Christianity is a puzzle that offers, for some, a way of managing temporal life. For others, it has yet to be discovered. Religion forces us to ask questions about our lives and the nature of our existence.
The ‘heads’ ponder this puzzle as well as constitute it. Are these ordinary folk? The Evangelists? The Apostles? Are they receiving the Manna, succour from their faith?
We open the box and are invited to play. Without one or the other the puzzle cannot work.
‘Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’ (Deuteronomy 8:13)
Co-founder of ArtAttack, Alex Lebus, was keen to look at the art being produced by a 1000 artists who had graduated in the last five years. I was selected along with 19 other artists to show in the Crpyt Gallery at St Pancras Parish Church.
“We will be showing a wide range of work: figurative painting, photography, sculpture and immersive art. The judges include the well-known painter Andrew Salgado, German visual artist Sandro Kopp and gallerist Juliette Loughran” said Alex Lebus. “David Hockney sold his first works as a student for £10 – his work sells today for millions. But the future artistic greats are today’s students and graduates, and they are just as hard to find now, as ever. The Winter Exhibition seeks to make some of this brilliant work more visible, offering gallery-quality work at below gallery prices.”
Thearchitecture of this famous crypt, with its domed ceilings, lent itself perfectly to my work. Each artist was able to create their own gallery within the atmospheric crypts. It gave me the opportunity to create a site-specific Sculpturescape, viewable through what looked like a boarded-up crypt door.
WHAT IS ARTATTACK APP?
The world’s first online social network and marketplace connecting buyers directly with up-and-coming artists. ArtAttack is revolutionising the art world, opening it up to everyone and supporting lesser known artists. Gallerist Juliette Loughran has praised ArtAttack saying “with the app it is not just a case being able to discover one or two more artists, you can discover hundreds of new artists in a way that is simply not possible in a traditional show.”
Co-founders India Irving and Alex Lebus saw the difficulty young artists face once they have left art school. There is a fundamental need for artists to support themselves while nurturing their talent and creativity during this vulnerable period. Artattack removes all of the unnecessary costs in selling and buying art, offering a platform for people to own gallery quality art at below gallery prices.
There are already has 1000 artists on the app, with users in over 40 countries.
ARTISTS TO HELP SAVE ST MARTIN’S GOSPEL OAK opened by Michael Palin
Over 70 artists are showing work with the theme REMEMBRANCE to help raise funds to pay for vital restoration of St Martin’s Gospel Oak, which remains a beacon of life and hope in one of the most deprived parts of London, since its foundation 150 years ago. By exhibiting my sculpture ‘Regeneration’, along with several acquatint monoprints, I was pleased to mark the centenary of World War I, and acknowledge remembrance in the widest sense of the word.
Over 70 professional artists taking part, including a number of Royal Academicians; Eileen Cooper, Stephen Cox, Diana Armfield, Anne Desmet, along with many well-known names in the Art World such as Maggi Hambling CBE, Craig Murray Orr, MaryAnne Aytoun-Ellis, Charles MacCarthy, Lucy Jones, Olivia Musgrave and many others.
St Martin’s Gospel Oak was built in 1865 by the architect Edward Buckton Lamb. It is a grade 1 listed building, described by Nicholas Pevsner as the ‘craziest of London’s Victorian churches’ with its Gothic pinnacles giving the appearance of a fairy-tale castle.
St Martin’s, like so many churches, is desperately short of money for repairs. It is a centre for community activities in an area which has suffered the worst ravages of social breakdown and is an inspiring haven within a landscape of blighted post-war architecture. The Church was recently shortlisted for Historic England’s ‘Angel Awards’ after the restoration of the tower to its original glory, but there is much more to be done in the main body of the church particularly to the windows and walls.
It is also of interest to note that the Rev Chris Brice and volunteers do important work in the parish, not just to raise restoration funds but also to help refugees, housing the homeless and many other outreach projects in the community.
In November 2014, I received an invitation to show my sculpture and photographs in the exhibition Berlin-London, Contemporary Art by Women at the German Cultural House on Belgrave Square.
The force behind this exhibition was Marliese Heimann-Ammon, wife of the German Ambassador Peter Heimann, and her aim was to create a visible platform for work made across cultural divides where there could be no dialogue. She wanted to make one very important point; too few women artists are shown and too few women artists’ work is sold either by galleries or by auction houses the world over.
I exhibited six new sculptures of which four were installed inside a white cube; seen through black viewing apertures, one per side. You can read more about The Berlin Wall series here. You can also view the full exhibition catalogue here.
ARTISTS OVER 50: THE RISE OF SECOND HALF CREATIVITY
The Second Half Centre is hosting The Second Half Career Art Exhibition and Sale: an exciting and inspirational story of transformation and rediscovery of seven artists who all discovered the love of their craft over 50.
This talented group of artists are a wonderful example of continued growth that hopefully will provide inspiration for people who are searching for new ways to develop in the second half of their life.
The Second Half Centre, founded by Jill Shaw Ruddock, is a modern day community centre dedicated to improving the lives of all older people. It aims to create community hubs where older people from all socio-economic backgrounds can come to meet new people, pursue new hobbies, continue to learn, exercise and do all the things needed to make the second half of their life as meaningful as the first half.