Tuesday, 27 September 2011

ArtFest 2011

This year's celebration of professional artists in Ryedale is well under way with exhibitions in local galleries and open studios.  Duckett and Jeffreys Gallery in Malton is host to one of the shows, where my work was selected this year.  It is an interesting show, with some great work by several artists including Gill Dearman, (textiles) Serena Partridge, maker of tiny hand stitched garments with reference to historical costume and museum curatorship, newly graduated Steff Mitchell, Catherine Scriven who has made an new digital photocomposition for the show and Lyn Wait, showing a film.

The following four images are of the work accepted for this year's ArtFest:

Boundaries, acrylic on gesso, on board

Track, acrylic on gesso, on board

Lost, acrylic on gesso, on board

Low ll, acrylic on gesso, on board

Duckett and Jeffreys touring caravan gallery is also out and about: an early port of call was Ryedale Folk Museum, in time for the opening of Sally Taylor's show.

Anyone reading this who is interested in finding out more about ArtFest and the participating artists should go to the website and blog provided by The Gallery at Ryedale Folk Museum:



Away With Hepworth, Moore, Frost et al and up with Sally Taylor

It was remarkable that so few works were required in the gallery for our Herbert Read exhibion; the Hepworths and Moore sculptures and the Terry Frost and Creffield paintings in particular have such stature both physical and artistically, that very little else was required to make an exhibition of real impact.

I had a frantic day taking down the paintings by Dennis Creffield, Terry Frost, and Brian Kneele and packing them carefully back into their travelling crates. The small Henry Moore sculpture was safely nestled back into its crate and we were then ready for the handlers to come and pack away the much larger Hepworth sculpture.  I felt releived that we didn't have to handle it ourselves given its artistic significance and value.  Our tribute to Herbert Read over, we then looked forward to receiving Sally Taylor's drawings for the next show.

Safe and sound!

Andy Dalton the manager of The Gallery and I worked with Sally to hang her show, "All Say The Same" and it looks great.   The longest part of the process is always deciding where to hang the individual pieces within the gallery space.  Once these decisions have been made, usually after much pondering and swapping things around and sometimes back again, the actual hanging takes very little time at all.  The whole show was up in just over a day but it is a period of very hard work.

We were on tenterhooks to see if Sally would win the Jerwood Prize for Drawing as she was shortlisted for the third time.  Sadly she was not successful, but it is a tremendous accolade to be shortlisted.  Sally's professionalism made it an easy show to hang; it has an excellent accompanying catalogue with an essay by Vanessa Corby who is currently Senior Lecturer in the Theory, History and Practice of Fine Art at York St John University and an interview with Sally by Gavin Delahunty, Head of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool.  The show runs at The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole, North Yorkshire until after half term, October.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Some Excellent Exhibitions

I am a bit behind with my blogging due to the many family members who have been up to North Yorkshire to visit me recently.  We had a ball, but now I am recalling some of the really good shows I managed to fit in before they all descended.

Towards the end of August  we went to Gateshead, to The Baltic, to see the fascinating Robert Breer show, the unsettling Maurizio Anzeri stitched photographs and the  photographic installation. by Maria Robertson.  All 3 shows were really good, gold star again to the Baltic.

The Robert Breer show ends 25th September so anyone reading this that wants to go needs to get their skates on.  Breer is acclaimed as a major influence on the development of film animation and I was absolutely mesmerised by the films shown.  The films included his own artwork and photographs.  His paintings often became major parts of his films. 

I have to admit that I had not really been aware of Robert Breer until I saw this exhibition; but I am so glad that I have had the chance to experience his work.  The exhibition was arranged chronoligically from level 3 to level 4, but true to form, I saw it back to front as we treated ourselves to lunch on the top floor before we started!  Breer's paintings, which were influenced by the grids of Mondrian were a little derivative but the colour Breer employed was more subltle than Mondrian's. One of the paintings also reminded me of the cut out by Matisse, The Snail.  Breer was fascinated by the idea that a painting could be simplified and reduced in its expression to potent sign language.  The paintings, flat areas of colour divided in various ways across the picture plane are full of energy. 

However, it is Breer's Floats and Films that were so exciting.  Breer used found objects and sculptures that parodied real objects while others are purely abstract.  What makes them so extraordinary is that they are mechanised so that they move at an almost imperceptible speed.  The viewer is left wondering if they actually saw the movement or not.  Their environment thus continually updates itself as the objects move about and change direction.

The films were the best thing as far as I was concerned; they incorporate Breer's own artwork, his photographs of family  and familiar logos and objects.  Their jerky nature left me feeling very disorientated in a good way; they had an obvious link to his flick books which were also exhibited and which I yearned to have a go at!   A quote from the accompanying leaflet:
"Breer's art always uses one force to define another in an intricate play with opposites: the recognisable is employed to highlight and condense the abstract, while stillness is employed only to accentuate change."

Sums it up completely.  The exhibition is really worth a visit.

Maurizio Anzeri's stitched photographs are fantastically fabulous.  They are sinister, but leave you wanting more, a bit like when you can't help watching a horror film or some such.  The accompanying sculptures using synthetic hair were also amazing yet faintly unsettling; like fettish objects.

I enjoyed the photographic installation by Maria Robertson simply because they had loads of energy, brilliant colour and were like gutsy paintings but they were done using photographic techniques and materials.  The way the huge roll of printed paper was draped over the high partition wall raised questions about our perception of photography and the way it is displayed.  The large pieces in frames were placed asymmetrically within the space again challenging the viewer to think about these issues and to see the work in a fresh way.

I really would recommend all three of these exhibitions and am glad that I saw them.

We finally made it to Wakefield to the Hepworth Museum. 

A brilliant space, the light is excetional and  the work is displayed very well.  Being a painter, I particularly enjoyed the gallery displaying paintings by associates of Hepworth.  We found the car parking inadequate and the gallery was not signposted very well so we got a bit lost and when we finally arrived desperate for coffee, the cafe was trying too hard to be a restaurant when it should simply supply good food fast.  Was it necessary to take an order for an egg sandwich and have it made up fresh while we waited for at least 30 minutes?  Why not have fresh sandwiches ready?  What is good enough for the Royal Academy . . . . . But enough; the art is FAB !