Friday, 31 January 2014

Trionomy - exhibition by Philippe Murphy at the Underground carpark, Glasgow

After a challenging morning at work, I made the short journey to the Underground Carpark (under Fleming House) on Renfrew Street to view the current exhibition, Trionomy by Philippe Murphy. Trionomy is Philippe Murphy's first solo exhibition in Glasgow. 

It proved to be an ideal way to escape for a while and enabled me to get through an afternoon of meetings and complete my tax return!

'Colour is used as a dramatic means of expression. The 3 different tempi; striding, walking, tripping, might be said to correspond to the effects of the primary colours; blue, red and yellow'.

Drawing inspiration from modernism, Philippe Murphy uses performance and the expansion of sculptural materials and forms to contextualize, address and frame his ideas. His installations often resemble theatrical stage sets or props. These are designed to inhabit a range of actions and scenarios that activate their surroundings. He explores the body and movement as a site of potentiality, process and practice.

For this exhibition, Philippe combines a performative interpretation of Oscar Schlemmer's 'Space Dance' with the design of the Houndstooth print. The print has been an iconic symbol of fashion from the start of the 20th century. It featured amongst the collections of New York and Parisian designers in the late 1920's and 1930's. By amalgamating these co-existing elements, a fictitious history is being constructed, but one which could have plausibly occurred.

While the looped performance intends to be intriguing, it becomes repetitive enough that the performers lose subjectivity, in turn becoming object. This repetition of simple actions is utilised to create a tension that never gets resolved. The viewer is confronted head on by this work, making them party to a reflection on culture past and present.

26 January to 2 February 2014
Preview 25 January 6 to 9 pm
Performance 7 to 8 pm
Opening hours: Wednesday till Saturday from 12pm till 5pm.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Destall commences

Today was the final day of 'BRIMMING', my solo exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace. I am delighted that it attracted over 160 visitors, and the responses have been so heart warming.

As I had been using the gallery as a studio prior to the exhibition, there was a lot of my equipment, materials and tools that were stored in one of the spare rooms in the flat.

My parents came to Glasgow this weekend to see my exhibition, and whilst they were here, they offered to help me move some of my belongings from 1 Royal Terrace to my studio at South Block.

Last night I sorted out what was going where, some things were for the bin, some were to go to my studio, and there were a few items that were to stay at Royal Terrace e.g. my camera and tripod

This morning, before the gallery opened, we collected everything at Royal Terrace that was destined for the studio, and then made the trip to Osbourne Street to drop things off at the studio.

We also sorted through things in my studio, and made a pile of items that are to be kept in storage, a pile for rubbish and a pile for staying in the studio. We had a shuffle around in the storage area, and fitted new things in.

This evening I took further documentation of the exhibition and made a start with destall. The laser cut pieces have been removed from the walls and the blocks taken from the bookcases. I will finish destall over the week.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Last chance to see BRIMMING at 1 Royal Terrace

It is with sadness that I remind you that this weekend is the last time you can visit my BRIMMING exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace. I am going to miss the place, but will, of course, be back to see how the other artists in the programme respond to the space, if they choose to at all.

These photographs show the room as it was when I was first invited to exhibit, prior to becoming a gallery.

The next artist to exhibit at 1 Royal Terrace is Nick Thomas, and the exhibition opening will be on Sunday 9th February from 4pm-8pm.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Individual 'units' are finding new sites

The work 'Brimming' is a site-specific installation. It was made in response to the bookcase in the gallery and is made to fit the exact size of that particular bookcase.

As I said at the 'in conversation' event, I do not want to rehouse the whole installation in another pre-existing bookcase, and I do not want to manufacture a new bookcase in which this collection of casts could be housed. I think that this work as a whole exists in that one bookcase at 1 Royal Terrace, and moving it into another site changes the work.

I feel that in order for the work to live on, the various elements (casts) can be dispersed and seen individually as units, and therefore I have chosen to sell them as units.

I am charging £150 - £200 per unit, depending on size etc.

If you are interested or have any questions, please do get in touch.

My email address is helen.shaddock(at)

If you would like to see them individually, I am more than happy to arrange a viewing.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Some quotes on Painting

During the symposium yesterday, a number of quotes were mentioned that caught my attention

"I don't want to make pictures, I want to learn things" 
Piet Mondrian

"Every painting is an idea. 
Eveery painting is the result of a process. 
Concerptual art just removes the pleasure of looking  - colour and beauty and all that" 
Peter Doig

"Not knowing where one is going - being lost, being a loser, reveals the greatest possible faith and optimism" 
Gerhard Richter (1995) The Daily Practice of Painting

"Painting in many ways is a glorious illusion. The painter makes something magical, spatial and alive on a surface that is flat with materials that are inert" 
Helen Frankenthaler

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Thinking and Talking about Contemporary Painting - Symposium

I have been helping organise the 'Thinking and Talking about Contemporary Painting symposium' which took place today. It was a collaborative project between Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and GoMA.
The backdrop of this symposium was A Picture Show but the day focussed on wider issues within contemporary painting with key note speakers; artist Melissa Gordon and artist & curator at Norway’s National Gallery Gavin Jantjes
The day started at GoMA with Jim Birrell, Head of Painting and Printmaking at GSA giving a brief introduction to the conditions and nature of Contemporary Painting. Melissa Gordon then discussed her work and its position in the history of Painting.

In the afternoon we moved to the Mackintosh Lecture theatre at GSA where Gavin Jantjes delivered his talk titled 'To paint in the face of doubt.'
This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Hanneline Visnes and Sarah Wilson, with Rachal Bradley, Dr Frances Robertson and Alex Dordoy.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Video documentation of Brimming

I'm delighted that the conversation yesterday was documented on video by the wonderful Talitha Kotze. It will be an excellent reminder for me of what we discussed and I will then be able to follow up certain topics.

Hopefully, it will also be interesting for you. I intend to produce a podcast of the entire conversation, allowing those who were not at the event to hear what went on.

The video footage is going to be edited, selecting particularly interesting areas of discussion.

Today, Talitha filmed a couple of minutes-worth of footage to act as a short introduction to 1 Royal Terrace, the exhibition, and then the in conversation event that accompanied my exhibition.

So, keep your eyes peeled for the video and audio file becoming available online.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

May the conversations continue...

Thanks to 1 Royal Terrace for organising and hosting the 'artist in conversation' event. It was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon which has left me with lots to think about and things to follow up.

Thanks to Ruth and Petter for putting so much thought into the questions they asked and structuring those in a manner that generated, what seemed to me, a free-flowing discussion rather than question and answer session.

Thanks to Talitha for documenting the event and offering to edit the footage to enable us to share what happened today with a wider audience. Keep your eyes out for us putting this online as a podcast, video clips etc.

Thanks to everyone who came to the gallery this afternoon and contributed to the 'in conversation' event. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Lots of things were covered and my mind has lots to process, but here are a few things that I want to think further about.

The relation my work has to music - how the works can be 'read' musically e.g. volume, pitch, staves, rhythm, tempo

Installing work in a way we construct language - punctuation, pauses, capital letters, commas

The relation my work has to water - ebb and flow

The notion of 'prettiness'

Whether a site specific work can exist in a different site?

I hope that the conversation we began today can continue, and would appreciate any other thoughts and open up the debate online via comments on my blog or facebook

Saturday, 18 January 2014

'In conversation' event at 2pm on Sunday 19th January at 1 Royal Terrace

At 2pm on Sunday 19th January, 1 Royal Terrace will be hosting an 'artist in conversation' event to accompany the exhibition, BRIMMING. 

I will be in conversation with Ruth Switalski and Petter Yxell, 2 of the 3 committee members. We will talk about the residency and exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace and the process of making the work. The audience will also be invited to ask questions and join in with the discussion.

Numbers are limited, so please email to book a space.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Brimming featured on Glasgow Craft Mafia

My exhibition, 'Brimming', at 1 Royal Terrace gets a good mention on the Glasgow Craft Mafia website.

Read it here...

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

All welcome

I am still brimming with joy following the wonderful preview of my exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace on Sunday.

It was a dark, wet and cold Sunday evening outside, but inside the gallery there was a real sense of optimism, enthusiasm, cheerfulness and fun. It was great to see a mixed audience. Yes, there were plenty of Glasgow School of Art staff and students, but the exhibition also attracted numerous visitors from outside of the art world, all of whom seemed genuinely interested in the work regardless of their age!

I enjoyed watching the youngsters interacting with the work.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Exhibition Preview

Many thanks to everyone who came to 1 Royal Terrace for the preview of my exhibition, Brimming.

Huge thanks also to Ruth, Petter and Grace (the 1 Royal Terrace committee) for their continued support and hard work.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sanding mission

Over the past few days Petter and I have spent hours sanding both the floor tile plaster casts and the plaster casts for the bookshelf.

The bookshelves vary in height, and so specific moulds were made for each shelf. Despite this, it was necessary to tidy some of the edges and sand the ends as the shelves changed shape with the weight of the casts.

It was also important to flatten some of the surfaces on the floor tile casts to allow the actual floor tile to fit comfortably on the top of the cast.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Re-generating the Miracle

On Tuesday, Rosie Roberts from the art collective 2-1-4-1 visited 1 Royal Terrace to interview the gallery committee and find out more about the newly formed artist run gallery, and get a sneak preview of the installation of my exhibition

Read Rosie's article by clicking on the link below

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Framers, revealing casts, coating casts with polymer

I had a trip to the framers to get my 3 drawings framed for th exhibition. I chose a tulip wood to complement the birch plywood I am using for the laser cuts.

Back in the gallery I removed yesterday's casts from their moulds.

I then coated all the renaming sculptures with polymer.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Final day of casting

I repeated the process carried out yesterday; removing the casts from their moulds, cleaning the moulds and reassembling them before filling them again with coloured plaster.

My target for today was to finish casting, using all the moulds for both the floor pieces and the moulds for the bookshelves. About half way through, I ran out of plaster (my eighth bag!) Having to complete the casting tomorrow, once I had been able to buy more plaster, would have a big impact on my schedule for the rest of the week, so a phonecall was made to Ruth to see if she had any spare plaster in her studio that I could purchase from her immediately. Ruth didnt have any plaster, but she was able to contact a friend who had a spare bag. Miss Rachel O'Neill - thanks for coming to the rescue! With an additional bag of plaster, I was able to cast in all of the moulds prepared, hand ave a little to spare in case of any emergency.

These are the casts I made for the shelves yesterday. When I laid them out and looked at them alongside the first casts I made for the shelves about a month ago, I can see how they have progressed, and I now prefer the more recent casts. I don't have enough of the newer casts to be able to fill the whole bookcase and so I will have to try to balance the old with the new so that they become a whole rather than a couple of different works.

I have now developed quite a range of single-coloured floor tiles:

These are the latest batch from today:

Saturday, 4 January 2014

removing casts, cleaning, assembling and casting

A large part of the day was spent removing the casts I poured yesterday from their moulds, cleaning the moulds and then re-assembling the moulds. It is a very time-consuming and tedious task, with no quick alternative. These are the casts that were created

In order to get a sense of the colour balance and to judge how many more casts are required to fill the shelves, I moved all the casts for the shelves into the shelves. Some do not fit perfectly, so will need to be sanded, but it gave me a good idea of how many are still required and what colours I need to make more casts.

The majority of the new casts were either uni-colour or a limited number of colours so as to balance the shelves as they are currently very 'busy'.

 I then re-filled all the moulds with pla ster to make more casts of both floor tiles and casts for the shelves. Again, I focused on using a minimal number of layers to create simpler forms.

Plans put into action

It's been a pretty full on day, with lots accomplished, but still lots to do!

I am now back at work at Glasgow School of Art, so my time working on my exhibition is limited to afternoons and evenings.

After work Ruth and I drove to Travis Perkins to purchase more fine casting plaster.

We then met with Grace and Petter for a committee meeting related to my exhibition. It was the first time that we had all met together, and I found it very useful to clarify various things and ensure that we are all aware of where we are at and what still needs doing. We discussed things such as lighting in the gallery, poster distribution, the workplan for the run-up to the exhibition, availability of help and issues relating to the opening and in conversation event.

Petter and I then began the mammoth casting mission of the evening. We spent the first few hours cleaning the moulds and re-assembling them for more casts. We then mixed the plaster and poured into filled every mould suitable.

I decided to keep layers minimal, instead choosing to fill the moulds with one or two colours so as to provide a pause in the chaos that already exists within the existing casts on the bookshelf.

Having another pair of hands to assist me has been such a help, and even then, it took us a long time to clean the moulds and reassemble the pieces.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Action Plan made

Today I met with Petter in the gallery to assess the progress I have made since he last was in the gallery, and to talk through some ideas.

At the moment I have made 37 floor tiles, but need to make more. I also need to cast more blocks for the shelves.

I coated the casts that had most recently been removed from their moulds in the polymer solution that adds strength and helps the casts retain their colour.

I have drafted a rough action plan for the 9 days that remain before the exhibition opens. It is rather scary to think how much still needs to be done!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Drawing, a great way to spend the first day of 2014

I am conscious that at the moment, all the work in 'Brimming', my forthcoming solo exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace, is made from plaster, and I want to add another dimension to the exhibition and introduce work in a different medium.

Today I've been going back to drawing in its simplest form firstly doing some sketches of ideas for the shelves and then a colour collage.

I also made a few drawings of possible outlines for laser cutting. All will become clear later!