Monday, 30 December 2013

Angie Lewin at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I've seen Angie Lewin's prints on greetings cards, but never in their original state, so I was keen to visit her 'A Natural Line' exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

I enjoyed seeing the sketches and studies that lead to the finished work. 

Sometimes I find her large prints to be too cluttered, but I found her smaller scale work was simpler which I prefer.

Similarly, the small studies on driftwood are not too dense, and the unusual shapes forces Lewin to adapt the composition to suit the driftwood.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Markus Linnenbrink

As I am preparing work for my solo exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace, I am thinking about how the work addresses the categories of sculpture, installation and painting, and if these categories are actually necessary and/or useful. 

I am conscious that I want the exhibition to be varied enough to avoid being predictable, but for it also to sit together as a coherent whole.

I have been looking into artists who work in similar ways to myself, and came across the wonderful work of Markus Linnenbrink


Linnenbrink creates sculpture, installation and paintings, and I have been investigating the way in which he spans the different disciplines when installing a solo exhibition.

At the moment all the work I have been making for my 'Brimming' exhibition is made from plaster, but I think that another dimension is needed in the form of another material and/or different process.

I am working on some two-dimensional drawings and prints which will, potentially be included in the exhibition.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Trip to the new Tetley art gallery in Leeds

A new contemporary art gallery opened in Leeds about 3 weeks ago so I paid it a visit while in the area. The building, the old Tetley Brewery Headquarters, is beautiful. On the ground floor there is a bar, restaurant and exhibition space. The next three floors consist of art galleries, a workshop space, offices and studios.

The Tetley's first exhibition, ‘A ‘New Reality’, invites audiences to join artists in unraveling the history and future use of the former Tetley Brewery headquarters through a series of artist projects, exhibitions, events and residencies.

Part 1 of this 9-month programme features projects and exhibitions from artists Emma Rushton & Derek Tyman, James Clarkson, Simon Lewandowksi & Sam Belinfante, and Rehana Zaman.

‘A New Reality’ launches The Tetley as a permanent contemporary art space, taking the theme of ‘labour’, the telling of overlooked or fading history, and the cyclical process of change, as starting points for the space’s transformation. An intergenerational mix of contemporary artists have been invited to create cross-disciplinary interventions that are sensitive to the site’s past.

The work in the galleries seemed to be more like a museum survey of the history of the Tetley building than art exhibitions. Unfortunately there were no artists around at the time of my visit, and , but there was evidence of activity in the form of a stage like structure constructed by Rushton & Tyman for their project titled Fear of the Surplus.

A series of public discussions and events around the topics of work, labour and welfare will take place on this stage. An impressive line-up of invited speakers – authors, activists, academics, theorists, organisers and campaigners will debate ideas of work – what it is, why and how we do it, its values and rewards and the conflicting ideas and issues which surround it. As stated on the Tetley website "With current government rhetoric surrounding work and welfare, Fear of the Surplus is timely in providing a space where conflicting ideas about labour, work systems and possible alternatives can be voiced and debated.

Fear of the Surplus refers to those groups – unemployed, the elderly, migrant workers, the recently made redundant, single mothers, under employed, public sector workers – that are either used as scapegoats by those in power, or considered extra to requirement or ‘surplus’ to requirements, or both."

I look forward to following the development of this exciting new contemporary art space.


Friday, 27 December 2013

Rainbow soil by Katharina Grosse

Rainbow soil by Katharina Grosse

by Annie Churdar in New Art on Friday 6 September 2013
Walking into Katharina Grosse’s spray painted soil installation  feels like entering the aftermath of a paint factory explosion. It beckons  visitors to wonder through it all, dig around, and interact with the strange phenomenon. The installation, ‘Wunderblock’, is literally made of piles and piles of dirt that she attack with a giant spray paint gun. Needless to say, all surfaces of the room seem to have paint residue.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Loving your suggestions - please keep them coming

Making art can be a lonely and rather isolating experience, but this blog is a great way of sharing my thoughts and activity with an audience. I find it very useful to reflect on what I have been doing, and I think of my blog as a kind of online sketchbook.

But the blog really works when it becomes a conversation between me and an audience and I really enjoy hearing from friends, colleagues and followers who send me suggestions of artists to look at, images I may find inspiring, relevant research articles and practical recommendations. Please do keep them coming!

Over the next week while I am away from Glasgow, I will be posting some of the links/images etc that have been recommended to me.

First up:

This fabric image was sent to me by @JuJuDollie

Sunday, 22 December 2013

All lined up after polymerisation

Today I removed the latest casts from their moulds and laid them out to dry.

I then attended to the numerous casts that have been drying, waiting to be coated in a polymer solution. I mixed the solution of water and polymer, and placed 4 rods of wood onto the floor. Gradually, I worked my way through the casts that had been drying, dipping each  cast into the polymer solution and rolling it around so that it is coated on all sides. I then placed the cast onto the wooden batons so as not to stick to the flooring.

I am developing quite a range of colours of the floor tiles, but think I need to vary the heights more.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Attempting to tidy up

I reached the stage where it was becoming difficult to find a patch of floor that was not covered in dust from the plaster, and there were no areas to put casts to dry without them picking up lots of plaster dust. Although I have been trying to keep mess to a minimum, and tidy as i go, the time came for a thorough clean!

I removed the latest batch of casts from their moulds and laid them out to dry.

I now have quite a large selection of casts that need to be covered in polymer - a job for tomorrow!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The gallery as studio

It is such a luxury to be able to work in the gallery for a few weeks prior to my exhibition, and I feel very fortunate. I would not have been able to produce the work I am making if I had not been based here.

Firstly, the gallery is a large space, allowing me to have several things on the go at the same time. For instance, I currently have moulds that have been filled with plaster and left to set, casts that have been removed from the moulds waiting to be and covered in polymer, moulds that are ready for cleaning, and moulds that are cleaned and are waiting to be filled with plaster.

The work I am making involves lots of casting, and this is a messy process requiring lots of space. I try to keep different areas for different tasks, separating the wet and dry areas, and the clean from the messy. One area is where I mix the coloured plaster and pour it into the moulds, another area is where I turn out the casts from the moulds and leave them to dry, another area is where I coat the casts in polymer, and another area is where I leave the casts to dry once they have been covered in polymer.

When making work on such a scale, it is efficient to follow a systematic production line, and for this to happen, space is required!

Another benefit that comes with working in the gallery is that one gets to know the space and this can help influence the work and how it is installed. New ideas are formed, and site specific works can happen. One gets a sense of how people navigate the space, and this can help when it comes to positioning the work at install.

My huge thanks go to Ruth and the 1 Royal Terrace committee for giving me the opportunity to work in the wonderful space that is 1 Royal Terrace. I will certainly miss it!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The latest batch of casts

The photo above shows the casts that I poured into the moulds yesterday, that I removed from the moulds today.

I then cleaned and reassembled the moulds, and the photo below shows the moulds filled with plaster mixed today

RGI Winter exhibition extended

The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (RGI) has extended the duration of its current exhibition; The Winter Postcard exhibition, in which I have a work exhibited.

The exhibition will now run until the end of January.

The exhibition features a selection of small work by RGI's and RGI artist members.

The gallery is closed 22nd Dec - 7th Jan.




Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Running out of polymer

In order to achieve the vibrant, strong colours of the plaster, I add polymer to the plaster, water and pigment mix. The polymer has two functions; one is to strengthen the cast and the other is to retain the intensity of the colour.

Also, once a cast has been removed from its mould, I dilute some polymer with water and dip the cast into the liquid, turning it round to ensure that all sides have been covered in the polymer dilution.

The rate at which I have been going through plaster, polymer and pigment has surprised me, and while I wait for my next delivery of materials, I have had to reduce the amount of polymer and pigment I have been using.

As one can see from the latest batch of casts, this reduction in polymer and pigment produces chalky, pale colours. These are the tones that are often associated with plaster.

Hopefully my order of materials will be delivered tomorrow, and I can go back to creating bold colours.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The latest batch

These are the forms that I cast yesterday.

These are some of the moulds that I've filled with plaster today.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Action plan made

This morning I met with Petter from the 1 Royal Terrace committee to discuss practical and technical issues related to the work I am making. It was really good to talk through my ideas with him and get his technical advice about, amongst other things, vector files.

I developed a kind of action plan:

1. Make enough casts to fill the bookshelves
- simplify the number of colours used in these casts so they can act as breaks in between the highly chaotic casts

2. Make as many single coloured floor tiles as possible

3. Use photos of the patterns of splashes on the casts as references from which to develop vector image files
- get these laser cut rather like jigsaws and print

4. Do wood cuts, applying a ordered grid pattern such as the parquet flooring onto the organic pattern of the wood
- grid pattern of the bookshelves

5. A series of drawings of the framework of the bookshelves

6. Screenprinting through simple stencils

In the afternoon I cast more floor tiles and blocks for the bookshelves

Testing the forms on the shelves

I have moved the majority of the casts onto the shelves, and tested some different installation possibilities.

I positioned these casts staggered on the shelves so that the outer surface is not flat, and their sculptural nature is visible.

These casts are all aligned up to the edge of the shelf, but by leaving a few gaps between some of the casts, one can see some of the edges of the casts and therefore get a sense of their three dimensionality.

I am still debating whether having a combination of horizontal and vertical layers works, or whether this is over-complicated.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Exhibition invite



Preview: Sunday 12.01.14 from 4pm to 8pm.
Open: 18-19.01.14 and 25-26.01.14, Sat-Sun from 12pm to 5pm
Further viewings arranged by appointment.

1 Royal Terrace are proud to present our premier exhibition; a solo show by Glasgow-based artist, Helen Shaddock.

Shaddock is known for her colourful and playful installations in which she explores form, colour and texture, using processes that allow order and chaos to collide. Adopting a hands-on approach to the use of materials, Shaddock’s work moves effortlessly between painting and the three-dimensional while being mindful of the work’s context and audience.

For her exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace, Shaddock is producing sizable site-specific work. To accompany the exhibition an 'artist in conversation' event will be held on 19.01.14, at 2pm (numbers limited, please email to book a space). 

Helen Shaddock received her BA(Hons) in Fine Art:Sculpture and Environmental Art from Glasgow School of Art in 2008. She regularly exhibits her work in both solo and group exhibitions, and earlier this year she completed a residency at Market Gallery. As an active member of the Glasgow Visual Art community, Shaddock has considerable experience of working within different art organizations in a number of capacities.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The floor tiles are growing

Yesterday I made a few more casts that are the size of the floor tiles. I made 2 monochrome forms, and one multi-coloured form. I think that there will be enough happening in the bookshelf that to also have multi-coloured and multi-layered forms on the floor would be too much, so think I will keep each floor tile cast a single colour. When a single colour is used for each cast, the focus becomes the pattern on the floor and the shape of the cast as opposed to the pattern of colours within the form.

I also removed some of the bookshelf casts made yesterday from their moulds.

As you can see from the following photos, the gallery is quickly filling up, so tomorrow I plan a bit of a cleaning/sorting session to give me a little more room!