Using the wire figures as a starting point for mark-making I have begun to make drawings that explore the female form in pregnancy and labour. I want to capture the power of the woman in labour, the valour of it if you like. Listening to woman’s hour on my journey across the moors to Plymouth this Tuesday I heard a wonderful statement made by the presenter Jane Garvey about the author Sinead Gleeson. Gleeson has a new book and Garvey suggest ‘ that in your book you talk about bleeding which in men is often seen as heroic whereas in women it is more every day‘. Gleeson‘s book Constellations she talks about male and female pain, terrible child birth stories and covers the subject of bleeding and pain. I need to read this book.
I have been asked by NDA to exhibit in their inaugural exhibition in the new exhibition space; 20 Joy street, Barnstaple. It has been interesting to collect together older and more recent work and see them as a group. The space is constantly open to the public in working hours as it it the reception to a number of clinics but it is also very much an exhibition space and not a typical or expected waiting room. The owners are keen for it to become known as a place that art is seen and sold and have asked the NDA to take on the space with a six weekly rotating program of exhibitions, mine being the first one.
Today has been about the slides again and working towards one’s that won’t leak...
Making liquid slides is proving to be quite complicated and taking up considerable time. I dear;y want to retain the analogue nature of these projections and the fact that both projectors come from fathers; mine and Pete’s.
I have picked up liquid weld but as he I hasn’t fully been water and oil tight. I need to slow down the times between gluing and full assembling. When they do work even for a short time the random nature of the movements and the wetness of it is exactly what I’m looking for. I managed to capture a short video of one slide working before it leaked and dried up.
Whilst at spring harvest I had produced a wire figure. This set me wondering if I could shine the slides projections through this rather than onto triptych. They would make more interesting shadows and move away from the over formal shapes of the wooden triptych forms.
I have begun drawing the shapes of these in my sketchbook and have hugely enjoyed the result. I have Mede a small wire figure as a machete to experiment with this being in the way of the liquid projections. As a small object it lacks the impact of a full sized form and shows how large the projector would need to be from the wall. As wire forms the figures would not have age or nationality or be portraits. This would be about presenting the birthing experience as a a more universal women’s experience.
For well over ten years I have been the artist in residence at an event called Spring Harvest. It is a Christian conference/festival held at a couple of Butlins sites. This year I was asked to go to Skegness.
I am often reluctant to make too much of this event as I have concerns about the assumptions that might be made about me and my my thinking etc as it fairly and squarely nails my Christian credentials to some kind of post. Plenty of wrong assumptions have been made about my thoughts on evolution, sexuality, people of other faiths etc once it is known that I am a Christian. However this year after a years break I was back at the event and it’s been good to be here and I have wanted to share that. Conscious that any post I make to social media could be seen by my MA tutors and friends I was keen to make sure that the work was at the right level and standard. There is a lot of art out there in the Christian context that can be naff and un-challenging, I strive to be neither.
I wanted to produce work that could be interactive in some way. I produce a piece of work each night over the five days during the evening “gathering”. This is held in a very full Big Top which seats over 5,000 people. The work relates to and extends the theme of the day. This year the whole week was centred around prayer, the second night I produced a chicken wire figure formed from pressing sections of wire around my body. This figure was then suspended in my work space. I painted clouds and the ‘heavens’ behind the figure in an attempt to create a sense of coming into the presence of God. People were invited to come down throughout the evening and write prayers etc on to small pieces of paper and then insert them into the holes on the figure, filling it up with as the paper dropped or as it stay in the spaces. This pieces was definitely the most popular piece of work I did in the week and was brought out again on the last night and the final morning. I think it worked best as an image without any paintings behind but then there is that little bit of me that likes to over work a thing!
On night three the piece of work was an investigation around the connections made through prayer. People crying out in sorrow, through to those caught up in delight and thanksgiving. People were asked to come and add the threads and paper ribbons to the bottom of the painting.
I held a workshop on the second day which 100 plus people attended. We worked collaboratively to produce a prayer space. I had hung paper ribbon from a hoop which everyone added to as they wished.
It was a good week, the work was very well received. I have great conversations with lots of different people. It’s made me feel braver about who I am and how I function as an artist.
This evening my class was just me and one student so while she was working I was able to play, working with ideas from yesterday’s critique. It looks like I might have found a way to make slides in which the contents of oil and water move about.... I have been working on the illimination of the rectangle of light that the slide dictates by making paper ‘masks’ for the slide edges. I have also been playing with the shape of the triptych, making it out of paper and decorating the back.
About a year ago I was invited to curate an exhibtion for Art For Life at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton, Somerset. Today after inviting artist and collecting the work together and a fair few months of planning it was the day to hang it all. It has been good meeting all the artists and selecting the work. There are seven artists in the exhibtion, Merlyn Chesterman, Duncan Hopkins, Mike Woollacott, Hilary Paynter, Zoë Hyde, Sandy Brown and my self. Having selected the artists it was good to see how the look of the exhibtion unfolded and woked so well in the two different gallery spaces. As we were hanging we had really positive comments from people walking by. The paintings seemed to connect with people. Below is the exhibtion information,
As human beings we have long made connections to the sea. Before the days of easy travel it was a vast, unexplored expanse of water; a place where fishermen ventured to catch food and explorers voyaged to find new lands. In our modern world we can explore the sea from the comfort of our sofa. In recent months we have been equally enthralled and worried by programmes like Blue Planet, but we continue to be inspired by the sea. Many people have memories of being on the beach on holiday, walking along cliff paths and enjoying coastal views that take your breath away. The artists in this exhibition are inspired by the coastal landscape, especially North Devon. Their inspiration comes from different aspects of the coast: our human connection, the vastness of the views and the power of the sea.
Throughout the week art work has been dropped off to my studio for the Coast exhibition I am curating at Musgrove Hospital for Art For Life. Today I went to Sandy Brown’s studio to collect ceramic pieces that will be included in the exhibtion. The pieces need to be smaller vessels to fit within the cabinets available. She has new cup and plate pieces and large tiles. Her studio overlooks the Torridge Estuary at Appledore. There are the influences of this location embedded in the work. We selected work togther from her store next to the large bright gallery that houses much bigger work. She is working on Temple piece that are large ceramic constructions, free standing structure that form walk in Temples. They are possibly the biggest pieces of ceramics to have been made by a studio potter.
Today has been spent drawing and making. Experimenting with wet materials and constructing new truptych pieces. I’m not sure about the nature of the wet materials, they work better as projected slides.
Experimanting today with projections of slides painted to describe the wetness of existence and birth. The image is projected onto triptych style wooden constructions. These pieces are made to reflect the shapes of icons painted often to represent Mary and the Christ child. Often these images portray an idealised and unreal image of the holy family. There is a forgetting that Mary went in to have other children and was not in fact a virgin for very long possibly having been betrothed at 14. I want these pieces to hint at the science of excistance like microscope slides. The projections hint at the materiality and moisture of the birthing experience. The two folding edges are mirrored inside. This slide shows them unfunished. I have thought to turn the whole piece into a mirror but the effect was rather unsatisfactory.